By Setmore Appointments
Free, powerful online customer scheduling for businesses of all sizes.
In the past decade, the single biggest change to the way we do business has been the growth of mobile use. That means businesses have had to change the way they reach their customers. If 79% of Americans check their phones within fifteen minutes of waking up and check their phones on average 150 times per day, it’s no mystery that businesses are concentrating on how to best reach clients on their mobiles.
Did you know that texting is the most frequently used data service in the world, ahead of Facebook and email? While nearly 100% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes of being received, over two-thirds of emails are never even opened. Customer outreach and service via phone calls also shows abysmal success rates.
Given all this, it’s clear that texting can deliver great results. So, how can you best use texting to communicate with your customers? In this article I will focus on (you guessed it!) appointment reminders.
Missed appointments have a negative impact on your business. The time wasted waiting around for a no-show could have been used cultivating another lead or attending another patient or client. Nobody likes to waste time or lose money. Texting can help reduce the number of missed appointments. Here are some case studies and tips on reaching out to customers via text:
The United States healthcare system claims that missed appointments cost an estimated $150 billion a year to health care centers. A study at a family practice in Colorado showed that sending appointment reminders via text reduced the number of missed appointments by an impressive 40%.
For health care concerns, text messaging specialists say best practice is sending the text around 6pm the night before their appointment. It’s enough time for customers to organize their schedule so as not to miss the appointment and close enough for them not to forget.
Experts also suggest that you stress the importance of the appointment for customers’ health. For example, for a prenatal appointment, you could include a statistic on how prenatal care improves the baby’s and mother’s health. Also wording is key. Use phrases like, “Don’t forget,” “Be sure to,” or “Important reminder,” to stress the urgency of the appointment.
Marketplace Homes, a property leasing and management company, was having trouble with clients keeping their appointments. They managed an average of 15 appointments per day with phone calls and voicemail. They discovered that people don’t listen to their voicemail messages. They adopted a texting service in order to reach their clients about appointment reminders.
With voicemail, they had a 25% appointment confirmation rate. Once they switched to SMS reminders, their confirmation rate went up to 85%! Their automated texting reminders also saved each of the leasing agents about half an hour per day that was previously spent on leaving voicemails. They reported being able to “better plan our days and accommodate drop-ins.”
In an interview with Dealer Marketing Magazine, Scott Pechstein, Vice President of Sales for Autobytel recommends auto dealerships to use texts to send appointment reminders and give status updates on their car service. He and Jim Jensen, Senior Director of Product Management for Auto Point both agree that texting is a valuable tool when dealing with millennials. Businesses need to mimic the habits of the clients they’re serving and if millennials and other demographics are using texting more frequently than other communication channels, then businesses need to follow suit. And Jim Roche, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Managed Services for Xtime warns that dealerships “limit themselves by not embracing modern technology and tools.”
Text messaging can be a great addition to online appointment scheduling software for any business that keeps appointments:
- Health – Remind patients of their healthcare appointments to save time, money and improve patient care.
- Automotive – Oil changes, check-ups, tire rotation and other automotive businesses would benefit from missed appointment reduction by sending an SMS reminder.
- Education – Meetings with staff, parents and students can be scheduled through text services, which are ideal for having high attendance rates at meetings and for being able to communicate last minute changes in time or location.
- Beauty salons and spas – There’s nothing worse than having high-paid professionals standing around waiting for their clients to show up. Cut down on no-shows by sending your clients a text before their scheduled appointment.
- Hotels – Sending booking confirmation texts to guests can help avoid turning away prospective guests for rooms that will be empty.
- Airlines and travel agencies – Texting is the ideal way to remind passengers of check-in times and advise them of delayed or canceled flights.
Texting clients with appointment reminders saves your business time and money. Use these tips for effective appointment management with SMS.
Alexa Lemzy is a customer support maven and content manager at the business SMS service TextMagic. She loves to share her advice on business and customer service, so if you’re interested in these topics, follow her on Twitter.
Have Setmore Premium? You can start sending SMS appointment reminders today! Check out the Setmore support article for setup instructions.
Categorized in: How-to