No one wants to be a nag. There’s a delicate balance between helpful reminders that your customers will appreciate and messages that customers find downright annoying. A carefully-timed, friendly message can keep your clients flocking to your business happy and on-time.
To get the most out of your reminders, you need to create a repeatable, effective appointment reminder process. Here’s a simple plan for how to confirm an appointment at key points and slow down those pesky no-shows.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in corporate sales or run a small salon, a reminder needs to be sent to your client the moment the appointment is set. Why? Your clients lead busy lives. It’s so easy for a simple distraction to derail their note keeping, leaving your appointment in the dust.
While SMS messages can allow you to contact your client quickly, email notifications are better in this instance. An email enables your customer to easy access to their phone’s calendar, which gives your appointment a proper chance to make it on their docket. An email also allows you to send a far more detailed message.
What should this all-important reminder say? The basics. Keep this message friendly and straightforward. Tell the customer the date and time that their appointment is set for. Gently, yet firmly, remind them of any cancellation policies you may have.
If there are any other critical items for them to prepare, bring, or know before the appointment, reiterate them. Keep the language straightforward and inviting. While not all appointments are dates customers look forward to, your reminder can help them feel confident in their choice to work with you.
Here’s an example of this kind of reminder for an optometrist’s office:
Hi [client’s name],
We’re looking forward to seeing you for an eye exam on March 25th, 2019. Since we’ve blocked out a special time just for you, please let us know no later than 48 hours prior if you’ll need to cancel.
Our office is located at [address], near the corner of [crossroads]. You’re free to park on the street right out front. Please bring your vision insurance information and to arrive 10 minutes early to complete any paperwork. See you then!
If the appointment is booked far in advance, there’s no reason to start reminding customers until about two weeks out in most cases. Two weeks is enough time for them to rearrange their schedule if need be. Any further out, and the reminder will likely be forgotten.
This confirmation will serve as a reminder to get the customers actively thinking about keeping the appointment. For this reminder, an email will once again be the best way to send a detailed message quickly and easily.
Send an email this time with confirmation information, but let’s take it a little further. An excellent method that you can employ here is to add in an element of why they should keep their appointment. It can be a hassle for everyone involved when your customers rearrange their schedule, so that extra push can help keep them committed to the agreed time.
Following up on our previous example, here’s a good two-week appointment reminder template:
Hi [client’s name],
This is just a quick reminder that you have an eye exam scheduled for [date]. Since we’ve blocked out a special time just for you, please let us know no later than 48 hours prior if you’ll need to cancel.
Our office is located at [address], near the corner of [crossroads]. You’re free to park on the street right out front. Please bring your vision insurance information and to arrive 10 minutes early to complete any necessary paperwork.
Did you know that an eye exam is about more than just how well you can see? Optometrists can see also see early signs of health concerns like diabetes and high blood pressure in your eyes, as well! Your eye exam is just as important as a check-up. We look forward to seeing you soon!
As the week of the appointment draws near, it’s time to get confirmation from the customer that they’ll be able to make it. The purpose of your messages from now until appointment day is to ensure your client knows about the appointment and intends to show up. It’s time to schedule our first SMS message.
While most people have unlimited text messages in this day and age, it’s wise to keep this message brief. After all, a text message needs to be digested at a glance. So, let’s keep this message at 320 characters or less:
Hi [customer name]. We just want to remind you of your appointment coming up on [date-time] with [business name]. Reply with YES to confirm or call us at [phone] up to 48 hours before cancel.
In a perfect world, they’ll send their confirmation, and you’ll rest easy knowing you have another appointment on the books. Unfortunately, not everyone checks their text messages diligently.
The appointment day now draws near, and the client still hasn’t confirmed. If your cancelation policy window is within 48 hours, they still have two days left to confirm. On this day, you can schedule one more SMS message to be sent:
Hi [customer name]. We haven’t heard from you. We just want to remind you of your appointment coming up on [date-time] with [business name]. Reply with YES to confirm or call us at [phone] up to 48 hours before cancel.
If your cancellation policy states that they must cancel within 48 hours, then you’ll want to send a final reminder two days before their appointment. It’s important to try and reach them before this window runs out. After all, if they did forget about the appointment, they may feel frustrated by being unable to cancel if needed.
For any appointment reminders sent two (or fewer) days before the appointment, you may have better luck using a pre-recorded voicemail. Here are some ideas:
Hi [customer name]. This is [name] with [business name]. I’m just giving you a call to confirm your appointment coming up on [date and time]. If you aren’t able to come, please let us know within 48 hours before the appointment by calling or texting [phone number].
Thank you and have a great day!
If you’ve followed all of these steps, it’s rare that you will have an unconfirmed client at this stage. With this simple strategy, you’ll significantly reduce no-call, no-shows and retain more revenue for your business.
Schedule your emails and SMS messages in advance, and you’ve got an almost entirely set it and forget it a method of keeping your customers informed and confirmed.