Practice Management Blog
Feature Spotlight: Using Appointment Reminders and Back + Forth Texting to Reduce No Shows and Cancellations
That’s where we come in.
In the following post, we’re going to run through the “need to know” details about utilizing our SMS interface to reduce no-shows and appointment cancellations.
Our SMS reminders and back + forth texting showcase technology that’s exclusive to the Power Diary platform.
As a new addition to a growing feature list, the SMS interface serves multiple purposes:
- Send out automatic appointment reminders.
- Receive appointment confirmation in real time.
- Update appointment status once the confirmation is received.
- Engage in a live back + forth conversation with clients via text.
- Choose from a messaging template or an “off the cuff” text.
- Utilize bulk send to segment contacts and send promotions or service updates.
Let’s check out an example scenario.
As a massage therapist, Claire is up to her eyeballs in appointments, but doesn’t use any Practice Management Software. She loves having a packed schedule, but when someone cancels at the last minute, it’s really discouraging. It’s a missed opportunity for both her and those on her waitlist. On top of that, Claire has a Late Cancellation policy but often feels uncomfortable enforcing so often doesn’t. Every time someone cancels late, or doesn’t attend, she just sighs, shakes it off, and hopes next week will be better.
As for appointment reminders, there’s no rhyme or reason. One week, Claire might manually send a reminder from her personal mobile 24 hours before their appointment.
“Hey Debbie! It’s Claire. Don’t forget we have an appointment tomorrow at 3 PM.”
But, the following week, she might be knee deep in paperwork and not send out one single reminder. What Claire needs is a system she can count on; one that does all the heavy lifting so she can focus on doing what she does best.
One week into her free trial, Claire already notices a difference. She can count on our system to automatically handle all appointment reminders. Instead of dealing with 3 to 6 no-shows and last minute cancellations a week, she’s on track to experience less than 2 a month. On top of that, her clients are impressed by her timely professionalism.
But it doesn’t stop with the reminders. After clients reply to the text reminder with a Y or N, the status of her appointments are automatically updated in our system to reflect this confirmation.
For example, today Claire’s client Mary replied N to cancel tomorrow’s appointment. Our system updates the status and instantly notifies Claire. Claire then utilizes our back + forth texting feature to have a live conversation with Mary right in her Power Diary account.
Hi Mary! I see you canceled your appointment. Would you like to reschedule for the same time Thursday? I just had that spot open up, and wanted you to be the first to know.
Mary immediately replies. Claire and her chat back and forth, and end up sealing that rescheduled slot. The best part? Claire never had to leave her Power Diary account.
Here are some unique ways you can utilize our SMS interface.
Nurture your client relationships with a happy birthday text.
Configuring your Power Diary account to remind you of client birthdays and prompt the sending of a ‘happy birthday’ templated text is a fantastic way to leave a great impression. This feature makes use of both our SMS functionality and event reminders. When enabled, the system will generate an event reminder with your choice of communication template attached. This enables you to effortlessly let your clients know you care, and even perhaps send them a special Birthday Offer.
Send out promotions or service updates using our bulk send option.
Believe it or not, text messages have an open rate of about 98% (as opposed to emails, averaging between 15% and 30%). As a business owner, if you’re searching for an effective and relevant marketing channel, SMS is the way to go.
So what does this mean in practical terms? It’s simple. Pairing targeted recipient lists with the effectiveness of SMS marketing equals money for your business.
Sounds pretty good to me.
Last Minute Disclaimer
Remember, having someone’s personal mobile phone number is a privilege. SMS is a form of permission-based communication and marketing. Always text responsibly.
Some common sense rules apply – Don’t send marketing messages at 11 PM. If an appointment reminder gets ignored, it’s ok to send some follow-up messages so they don’t miss their appointment, but don’t over do it.
Finally, let your clients know they’ll receive automated appointment reminders. If they happen to live in an area with poor reception, or maybe have another reminder preference, you easily update this in their Profile. This helps ensure you’re texting in a compliant and professional way.