How to use text messaging for appointment reminders
Sending appointment reminders by text message is a fast and easy way to reduce no-shows, and customers prefer them over phone calls and emails. Learn how to set up your own text reminders.
Why appointment reminders are important for businesses
Many businesses rely on clients to remember their appointments, but it only takes a few no-shows to leave gaping holes in what was once a perfectly organized schedule. No-shows are the most common reason for missed appointments and represent lost opportunities, time and money for any business. Exactly how much no-shows hurt the bottom line depends on the company.
In a study of regional hospitals, BioMed Central estimated that the average cost of no-show per patient is $196. When you multiply that number by every missed appointment, the loss of planned revenue could eventually leave some businesses on life support.
Appointment reminders are highly effective in decreasing no-shows and reducing waitlists. By filling spots left open by customers who cancelled their appointments shortly after receiving a reminder, businesses can retain that revenue by responding to the needs of more people waiting for their services. And by automating appointment reminders, a company can reduce the amount of time office personnel spends on performing those activities.
One staffer can spend several hours each day sending emails and making phone calls only to have their efforts end up in junk email folders or as voicemail messages that never get heard. Yes, customers are busy and don’t always have time to take a call or respond to a voicemail during business hours, let alone read another email from their overflowing in-box. So, what is the best way to reach customers and get a response? The answer: sending text messages.
Offer convenient text appointment reminders
Business texting is one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to communicate with customers. And research shows that most customers prefer it as well. Zipwhip’s comprehensive State of Texting report found that 67% of consumers would rather text with a business about appointments, reminders and scheduling than receive the information by email or phone.
Furthermore, 58% of consumers have tried to reply to a missed call by texting that phone number. The reality is your customers are probably already trying to reach you — by text. When a customer misses a call, or lets it go to voicemail because they don’t recognize the number or can’t pick up in that moment, they often try to text the number in hopes of getting a response. If your business phone number isn’t text enabled, or it isn’t enabled for two-way conversational texting, you’ll never receive their message and your customer will never receive a reply.
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Communicate like a human with conversational texting
Many texting software services allow businesses to automate appointment reminders but restrict how customers can respond. Some even limit their customers to Y or N replies. This removes the human-to-human element that consumers want when interacting with a business. With two-way conversational texting, customers can respond in way that is more natural for them.
They’re not stuck with one-word answers or forced to choose a single letter from the alphabet as their only response. Companies have multiple texting features available to them as well. Employees can text from the convenience of their laptop or desktop computer using a web app, compose a single text to an individual customer, send group texts, or use triggered auto-replies based on keywords that match the topic of a customer’s text. Regardless of the texting method selected, customers get to experience the prompt service they desire, and companies can save time and better utilize human resources.
How Zipwhip makes appointment reminders easy
Consumers expect to receive reminders for everything from dental appointments and haircuts to personal training sessions and car repairs. Because of this, businesses are turning to texting at increasing rates for its convenience in accomplishing time-consuming tasks more efficiently and cost-effectively. Zipwhip’s texting for business software allows companies of any size to automate and integrate texting into their daily workflow. Enterprise-level features and software integrations mean it has never been easier to start communicating with customers in the way they prefer — via text. Check out all of Zipwhip’s business texting features.
Dynamic fields allow each appointment reminder to be customized for more personalized communication while Templates enable companies to compose standardized messaging that can be used again and again and sent to an unlimited number of contacts. Dynamic fields can also be included on text reminders to auto-fill personalized information such as name, address or even custom fields tailored to your contacts list. In addition, the Scheduled Message feature allows users to streamline administrative tasks, follow up where needed, and quickly queue up text appointment reminders in advance.
Zipwhip customers are putting the Scheduled Message feature to good use and seeing the benefits almost immediately. McCracken Chiropractic has reduced no-show rates significantly. The chiropractic clinic is now able to offer an added level of flexibility to patients by allowing them to easily communicate when changes are needed to appointment times, enabling the clinic to also reach out to individuals on their waitlist to inform them of new openings with Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) group texting.
Want to see how appointment reminder texts can work for your business? Sign up for a free trial of Zipwhip and start texting customers today.
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