8 Tips for Sending Effective SMS Appointment Reminders

Introduction

SMS (Short Message Service) is still an effective and cost-efficient tool to transmit short messages over a mobile network. Earlier this used to be the only way to do that but now there are several applications and services which have made transmitting messages across the network very easy and fast. But one thing which still works in favor of SMS is that it does not require an active internet connection. All the receiver of the SMS needs is to have valid mobile network connectivity with or without an internet connectivity. 

So by using SMS for sending sms appointment reminders for customers’ appointments you get a fast, reliable, and precise product that works regardless of an active internet connection. According to a report by Statista published two years ago, there were 2.098 billion text messages sent in the United States in 2019 alone. According to a research report published by Asurion, Americans check their phone at least once every ten minutes. So you have to plan your SMS campaign accordingly, a mistake can cost you dearly. In case you are on the lookout for a free appointment reminders then check this out.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while designing an SMS appointment reminder campaign:

Personalization:

People love the idea about you as a company including some details about their life which they have shared themselves with you included in the message. For example- Suppose you are a bakery and a customer has ordered a custom birthday cake for her son’s birthday. So send an SMS with a personalized message like happy birthday, best wishes, etc while also reminding them of their order’s delivery. 

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2. Keep It Simple:

Do not indulge in unnecessary information about the customer’s appointment that you are reminding them of. Keep the message short and precise. For example- If you are a dental clinic then write only about the appointment of the said customer, mention their name, exact time and location information, and nothing else. Here is a free appointment reminder app that you can use for your convenience.

3. Get The Timing Right:

A lot of times SMS fails to be effective in reminding people about their appointments due to this reason. What is the purpose of a reminder if it does not reach them at the correct time. This is why check with the bulk SMS vendor for a delivery receipt of the SMS, if the SMS has not been delivered for quite a time then use the alternative mechanism to send the reminder message.

4. Give Some Options To The Customer:

A lot of times people forget about their appointments hence the reminder SMS but what if they forgot about their appointment and made commitments to some other work, then how to solve this without canceling their appointments? This is why you should also give a rescheduling option with a phone calendar integration (.ics) if possible so as to change the appointment date to another convenient slot. A calendar integrated (.ics)message will also help them plan in advance for their appointment day.

5. Do Not Disturb:

Choose a convenient time slot to send the SMS message. Respect people’s personal lives and choose a good convenient time slot to send reminders. For example- Do not send a reminder SMS after 10 pm or early morning before 9 am. Also remember to not spam people with too many reminder messages, a minimum of one SMS every 24 hours rule should be followed.

6. Additional Details:

This is for those appointments where the customer has to fulfill certain pre-requirements before starting with their appointments. For example- if you are at a medical diagnostic center then remind your customers before they come in for a medical test (say blood sugar) that they have to be in fasting mode for more than 8 hours before proceeding with the said test. Remind people of these critical yet necessary pre-requirements that need to be done before their appointments.

7. Use An Automated Service: 

A lot of times customers end up canceling the appointment which is unfortunate for you. But you can try and win them back by using a simple automated SMS service. Just add a line of text when you are sending them the cancellation confirmation message. For example- you could say sorry to see you cancel our appointment but we are happy to see you at your next convenient time, reschedule here. Like these, type some personalized and short cancellation messages and send your customers when they cancel an appointment.

8. Marketing: 

A lot of people need some additional push to attend their appointment. So for them, you could rope in the marketing team to offer them some freebies and discount coupons. It has been seen that consumers generally are highly attracted to discounts and other similar promotional marketings, as per a research published by research gate. Use this to your advantage by offering say a 1% cashback if they reach their appointment on time, etc.

Conclusion

There is a thin and sacred red line dividing appointment reminder SMS and spam SMS. People are generally not at all tolerant of spam SMS so thread extremely carefully here if you want to use this tool. Make sure to write short, precise, and informative text SMS otherwise the whole purpose of the campaign will fail.

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