By Cassandra @ Setmore
Writer, editor and scheduling product expert at Setmore Appointments.
Scheduling appointments is Setmore’s bread and butter. But a smart online booking calendar needs more than just a way to book with customers. It needs a way to engage customers, and keep them informed about the appointments they book!
Setmore includes a whole suite of email and reminder messages to help you automate customer outreach. Setmore’s built-in email and reminder system will do all of the following tasks for you, so you can stay focused on delivering awesome services:
- Confirm new appointments with customers
- Give customers the ability to reschedule or cancel online
- Remind customers before their appointments via email
- Send text reminders to customers before their appointments (with Setmore Premium)
- Alert and remind your staff about new, rescheduled, or cancelled appointments.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll provide an in-depth look at the how-to, benefits and limitations of Setmore’s automated messaging system. Today we’ll start with email confirmations and reminders. You can expect to read about text reminders and staff notifications in future posts.
Whenever you or a customer book a new appointment, Setmore will automatically send an “Appointment Confirmed” email to inform the customer when their appointment will be. This digital receipt serves as a record for the appointment, and offers some added utility with an .ics attachment and “reschedule/cancel” options (continue reading for a breakdown). Here’s a sample of what the email confirmation looks like:
An .ics attachment (activated by default) is a standardized calendar file format that includes appointment information. Once the email lands in a customer’s inbox, the attachment will prompt the customer to add that appointment to their own calendar, whether they are using Google, Office, or iCloud. If you’re using Google, the attachment is visually represented by a header bar with a blue calendar icon:
The Reschedule/Cancel buttons (not activated by default) appear in the bottom right corner of the email template. They allow the customer to reschedule or cancel an appointment online, without having to call you. Customers can reschedule or cancel up to the “Cancellation Window” as specified in your Booking Policies.
Confirmation emails are activated by default in your Setmore account. Follow these instructions if you want to change these settings:
- Navigate to Settings > Notifications > Customer.
- Under “Appointment,” check the box next to “Booked” to toggle confirmation emails on or off.
- Check the box next to each add-on feature, such as .ics attachments, to toggle them on or off.
Setmore will automatically send email reminders to your customers at a preset time before their next appointment. The reminder template informs customers about what time their appointment is. Its primary purpose is to help reduce no-shows and make sure your customers arrive for their service on time. Here’s a sample of what the email reminder looks like:
Email reminders have an average open rate of 40%.* They are enabled by default with a lead time of one day in a new Setmore account. Here’s how you can change this setting or change the reminder lead time:
- Navigate to Settings > Notifications > Customer.
- Under “Appointment Reminders,” check the box to toggle reminder emails on or off.
- Under “Reminder Lead Time,” use the drop-down menu to set the lead time in days, hours, and minutes.
Verifying reminder status
Every so often you might have a customer who doesn’t receive an email reminder. You can check the status of an email reminder by opening the Appointment Details window for any given appointment, from your admin calendar.
Click on an appointment and then, in the Appointment Details window, scan to find the row titled “Reminder.” Setmore will indicate if the reminder was sent, is still pending, or failed for some reason. You can also manually trigger a reminder by clicking on the Reminder status and selecting “Send Reminder.”
Reschedule and cancellation emails
Reschedule and cancellation emails work the same way as a confirmation email. If you or a customer reschedules or cancels an appointment, Setmore will automatically send one of these emails to notify the customer of the action. Here’s a sample of what the email notification looks like for a reschedule:
You can activate or deactivate sending a cancellation or reschedule email notification under Settings > Notifications > Customer. Under “Appointment,” simply check or uncheck the box next to “Edited” or “Cancelled.”
Email customization options
The body of the Setmore email template cannot be changed. However, you can customize the sender name that’s applied to the email, and you can add a custom signature to the email template. (The email “signature” refers to the space below the body content of the email template.)
To adjust these customization options:
- Navigate to Settings > Notifications > Customization.
- Enter a custom sender name in the “Sender Name” field, then click anywhere outside the field to save your changes.
- Enter a custom signature in the “Email Signature” field, then click anywhere outside the field to save your changes.
There’s no character limit to the email signature field. So you can use this space to include important information for your customers. You can also include text-based web URLs in this space, however not all web browsers will automatically hyperlink a plain-text URL. Here’s some examples of information you can include:
- Directions to your place of business
- Instructions to pre-book the next appointment
- Encouragement to review your services on Google or Facebook
- Limited-time promotional offers (just remember to change your signature when the offer ends)
Setmore plans to expand the functionality of email alerts in the future. For the time being, there are some limitations you should be aware of.
Emails and texts are “do-not-reply” – If you want customers to be able to respond to an email alert or reminder, be sure to include instructions for how they can reach you in the custom email signature.
Customers can’t reschedule or cancel class sessions – The “Reschedule” and “Cancel” buttons won’t appear in an email confirmation or reminder for a class session, even if you have the option enabled.
Email settings aren’t accessible via mobile – As previously mentioned, you can adjust your email alert settings by logging into Setmore at https://my.setmore.com.
Setmore doesn’t support mass marketing – This might change in the future, but we don’t currently support the ability to send a mass email to your customer list. If you do email marketing, you might be interested in our MailChimp or Constant Contact integrations.
Up next: Text Reminders
Now you’re a pro when it comes to using Setmore’s automated email system. Stay tuned for the next chapter on Text Reminders, which are twice as effective as email reminders.
Have questions about customer notifications and reminders? Post a comment below and we’ll help you out.
Thanks for reading 🙂
*Based on internal Setmore marketing statistics, 2018.
Categorized in: Resources