Can Reminder Texts about Appointments Reduce No-Shows?
No matter what industry you are in, no-shows can be very expensive. It is wasting the time of your staff and putting unnecessary holes in your schedule that you could have filled with another client or customer. But, in order to reduce the number of no-shows, it is important to understand why people do not show up in the first place.
Whether you are a healthcare practice or a tattoo parlor, there is often at least a small amount of fear that goes into making an appointment. The whole experience could seem very intimidating. To combat this often inevitable feeling, it is important to educate your client or customer about what’s going to happen during the appointment. That way, at least the fear of the unknown is out of their heads.
Studies show that 36% of no-shows happen because someone simply forgot about their appointment. In order to combat this, it can be very helpful to use appointment reminders for your clients and customers. More specifically, utilizing reminder texts can be the best way to reduce the number of no-shows.
Using reminder texts has shown to be more effective than utilizing reminders in other mediums (phone calls, emails, etc.) Unlike email, texts are less likely to sit in your inbox or linger into your spam folder. According to Mobile Squared, 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes of receiving it. Allocating automated reminders is an almost foolproof way of ensuring that your clients will be reminded of their appointment and adjust their schedule accordingly, or at least, give them enough time to cancel if needed. When using text messaging, you’re able to use a two-way interface that gives your client the option to confirm or cancel without having to use any manpower to do so. This helps keep the process secure and discreet if your client is dealing with fear or scheduling issues.
If you’re planning on using reminder text messages, be sure not to send other reminders from multiple platforms. This may confuse your client, especially if they aren’t sent at the same time. Pick one medium of communication and focus on being consistent throughout that one medium. Since text messages often have a character limit, it forces you to make your message concise. That way, there is no way that the true essence of the message will be lost. Also, using reminder texts uses less staff power than getting someone to call or email your clients. It is precise, quick, and secure.
In order to make sure that your reminder texts are as effective as possible, it is important to think about the timing of these messages. If your patient has an appointment that is scheduled far in advance then you might want to send mass text messages (for example, a week in advance and the day before) in order to ensure that they remember. In the text message, be sure to include personalized information like the time of their appointment, the location, and the doctor that they’ll be seeing (if this applies). If you don’t include one of these key elements, then they may still be in the dark about the nature of this appointment. You may want to add a text with minor instructions as well before the appointment, to ensure that it can happen any interruptions.
Also, be sure to keep your company’s cancellation policy in mind. Remind your client far enough ahead in time so they’ll be able to cancel without having to deal with fees.
Reminder texts are a great way to reduce the number of no-shows that you have. Once reducing those no-shows, you can not only save money but save your staff’s energy in the long run. It gives you a direct line of communication with your client so they can easily be reminded of future appointments. Maintaining consistent communication is important within your business, and utilizing reminder texts allows you to do just that
Ron Kinkade is the Director of Marketing at Call-Em-All, an automated calling and group texting company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Ron has more than 15 years of experience with a proven track record of success. Ron is a graduate of Illinois State University.