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SMS/Text Reminders 101: How to Determine Time & Frequency of Your Appointment Scheduling

There is a lot of importance on timing and frequency of appointment reminders. Decreasing the no-shows of the customer remains one of...

Written by Niel Patel · 3 min read >
How to Determine Time & Frequency

There is a lot of importance on timing and frequency of appointment reminders. Decreasing the no-shows of the customer remains one of the important things for the customers and for the providers as it will leverage their revenue. The appointment reminder is required to ensure if the scheduled appointments are actually happening or not and the time and frequency will help you to keep pace with the customers and thus will help to acquire new customers.  

Smartphones have been in the hands of everyone and the current cellphones ownership rate has been increasing 95% where almost everyone is messaging and texting. On average, people receive more than 80 messages daily and check their mobiles numerous times. So here we understand that customers always prefer text messaging at first. The texting method is a new method to outreach people. Emails are also good but somehow some of the emails either settle in the spam or go unrecognized. Apart from all these the most important thing is how and when you send the messages to your customers. We will see a few points regarding this below. 

Importance of Time and Frequency While Scheduling Appointments 

Time is everything! Time and frequency are the key to best practices in appointment scheduling. 

  • Managing your schedule with time will help you to complete the task without being overburdened and also helps your customer to respond accordingly. 
  • If we do not send the appointment reminder at a regular interval then the customers won’t be getting time to confirm their appointments, cancel it or reschedule it. Scheduling the appointments at the correct time will help them to make decisions at the right time. 

Create a Goal

Outline the goal before you send it. You should avoid any chaos in the text box of the customer. Choose an appropriate time between the working hours to send the appointment schedule through message. Moreover, all the rules and regulations depend on your clients also. One of the important steps to be remembered by every appointment scheduler is that they should send the appointment 24 hours before the appointment. This is for two reasons:

  • Clients can cancel or reschedule their appointments and that 24 hours will be helpful for them. 
  • It will give you a context on what time it is better to send the reminder on. 

Along with the prior 24 hours reminder, one of the most important benefits you can give is sending another reminder an hour prior to the appointment which will help the clients to remember about the event for which they have set the appointment reminder. 

It Should Match Staff’s Convenience

The reminder message you are sending if it has a strong CTA (call to action) related to it then it will be better to send them after you are ensured that at what time your staff are available to give a response. This is because if the team is unavailable to make any reschedule, cancel, schedule or follow ups then none of them will be completed till the next day. 

Image credit Unsplash 

Offer Your Clients Few Potential Dates and Time

You can provide your customers or clients with various appointment dates, days, and times from the beginning. But it should be maintained according to the time zones or the standard time of specific contacts. If you provide them the slots it will help them to choose according to their timing. You can mention a few morning slots like 10AM to 12 PM; few slots in the afternoon like 2 PM to 3 PM; few slots in the evening like 7PM to 8 PM. This kind of schedule you can see during the Covid vaccination in healthcare industries. Along with the dates you have to give them various days like early mid or late weeks. This will be very flexible for your clients to book their schedules and for the staff to send them text reminders for appointments. 

Don’t Schedule Back to Back Appointments 

Scheduling back-to-back appointments is not a wise decision, it’s better to keep some buffer of time between the schedules. It is because a heavy scheduling will increase the work in the calendar and thus increase work also. Sometimes it becomes hard to finish off everything in a day. Buffer time will help you to cover up the delayed or late appointments. 

Send Message Three Days in Advance

When SMS is sent three week before the appointment, the patient’s response to the reminder messages shows the confirmation rates. The strategy of a three-week advance reminder creates a great confirmation rate. However, the confirmation rate lessens if texts are sent one week prior to the appointment. 

Let’s see how it affects various industries as we have seen the factors.

1. Healthcare 

Appointment scheduling is proved to be very healthy in the healthcare industry. Through this they are likely to fill the gaps and help the patients to avoid no-shows. Also, for quick booking, this thing is very important. It saves time for the patient and the staff. Also, in the healthcare centers, the time slots and the data are given so patients can come according to the preferred time. 

2. Recruitment & HR

Without an appointment scheduler the recruitment industry is empty. Candidates need reminders on time to time basis. If scheduling is not done in the proper time, it will generate a lot of no-shows. The automated schedule will create a lot of revenue. Although they should eliminate back-to-back reminders. 

Conclusion

From the above article, now we know how time and frequency are necessary in scheduling appointments. Time leads to no-shows in every field like healthcare, recruitment cells or any other firm. Frequency is needed for the appointed days, eliminating back-to-back messages and texting when it is needed. Also we know how it affects specific industries. 

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