If you’re in a business that relies on appointments, you know how harmful client no-shows can be. You book the time in your calendar, might even spend hours preparing just to be left with a gaping hole in your schedule.
There are many ways you can prevent this from happening, and one of them is automated text reminders. SMS is one of the most personal communication channels that you can use to reach out to customers, and most of the time, a text message doesn’t go unnoticed.
Therefore, sending text reminders to clients before their appointments can reduce the number of no-shows that happen because people simply forget, or help to rearrange your schedule if someone cancels.
Below you’ll find the best practices of sending SMS reminders to your customers and X ready-to-use text message reminder templates that you can also adjust to your business. Let’s dive in!
What is a text reminder and why do you need them?
A text reminder is simply a message that you send to your customers in order to remind them about an upcoming appointment. Such practice is very common in health and beauty industries – allowing clients to confirm or cancel/reschedule their appointments via SMS is an easy way to prevent losses for a particular business.
Suppose you work in a dental clinic and the demand for your services is high. People wait in line for months; however, you occasionally have to spend an hour or two a day without work just because someone missed their appointments.
Now, if you send a text message reminder, let’s say, 24 hours before the appointment, you will still have enough time to fill that gap in your schedule with another client if someone cancels. Besides, you will be able to save the latter client by allowing them to reschedule for another day instantly, also eliminating the need for them to contact you later for the same matter.
Sounds like a win-win situation, doesn’t it?
5 tips for text reminders that work
Text reminders are not that difficult to do, but there are still some things you should keep in mind to get the best out of them.
Here are some practical tips for writing a reminder message that works.
1. Time it right
Choosing the right timing for your reminder text messages is crucial for them to work. The key purpose of these texts is to reduce no-shows, be able to (re)organize your schedule, or provide clients with an easy way to reschedule. Therefore, if you send text message reminders at the wrong times, these goals can be quite difficult to achieve.
For instance, if a client gets an SMS appointment reminder 3 days before the visit, there’s still a chance that they might forget it. Similarly, sending a text reminder too late (e.g., 5 hours before the appointment) can leave too little time to reschedule if your client has forgotten about it and cannot make it.
Generally, it is recommended to send text message reminders 24 hours in advance and stick to the business hours, if possible. This will help customers plan the upcoming day accordingly and give you just enough time to fill the empty spot if they cancel.
2. Say only what’s important
Another important aspect of text reminders is straightforwardness. It’s not a promotional message where you might want to use your creativity; with SMS reminders, you want to simply inform people that something you agreed on is coming and give them more details about it.
It’s important to include the following information:
- Your company name
- Reason for appointment
- Address (optional)
- Call to action – confirm, cancel, or reschedule
Hi John, this is a reminder from the Barbers Room for your haircut with Neil on Mar 23 at @10 AM. Reply Y to confirm, N to cancel.
After all, if someone has already made an appointment with you, they’re likely familiar with the basic information, so your message is meant to remind them to show up.
Personalizing the messages you send, be it reminders or other types of SMS campaigns, is important for better engagement and strengthening the relationships with your clients. It's simply more appealing and can make you look "more human"; therefore, it helps connect with your customers.
So when sending text reminders, don’t just send a generic SMS that can be applied to anyone, anywhere. Of course, there's not much room for experiments when you have a 160-character limit (and you shouldn’t really go overboard as we’ve already agreed above), but at least addressing a client by their name is highly recommended.
4. Enable two-way communication
Getting a response to your text reminders is essential for your business since it allows you to better plan your time and avoid financial loss.
Therefore, to be able to do this, your SMS appointment reminders should support two-way communication, allowing people to write you back.
Enabling two-way communication lets your clients easily verify and manage their appointments by simply replying to the message you've sent them. It doesn't require changing channels to contact your business if anything changes, making it more convenient for both sides.
5. Keep up with the SMS compliance laws
This couldn’t be stressed enough – SMS marketing is strictly permission-based, and to be able to send any type of text messages to your customers, including text reminders, you have to get their consent first.
You can ask your clients to opt-in to your marketing messages when making an appointment or use one of many other ways to grow your SMS list.
Once the client subscribes to your SMS marketing communications, you don’t have to worry about legal issues.
10 reminder SMS templates
Although we've been focusing more on appointments so far, text reminders can be used for everything that requires some kind of attendance, such as events or package deliveries.
Below you’ll find 10 ready-to-use SMS reminder templates for different occasions that you can adjust to your own business.
Template #1: Appointment booking confirmation
Hi [customer_name], thank you for scheduling an appointment with [company_name]. We look forward to seeing you on [date], [time]. If you need any help, please call us at [phone_number].
Template #2: Upcoming appointment reminder
Hi [customer_name], this is a reminder about your scheduled appointment with [company name] for tomorrow ([date]) at [time]]. Reply with YES to confirm, NO to cancel.
Template #3: Feedback request/Follow-up
[customer_name], we hope you enjoyed your [reason_for_appointmet] with [specialist]. To help us improve, please fill out this survey to let us know how it went: [short_link]
Template #4: Scheduling a new appointment
Hi [customer_name], it’s been a while since we saw you! This is a reminder to schedule your annual [appointment] at [company_name] – call [phone_number] or follow the link to book your time: [short_link]
Template #5: Missed appointment
Hello [customer_name], we missed you at [company_name] for a [reason_for_appointment] today. Please give us a call at [phone_number] or follow the link to reschedule: [short link].
Template #6: Registration now open
Hi [customer_name] – we’re officially starting the registration for [event_name] that will start on [date]. Don’t forget to book your seat here: [short_link]
Template #7: Event reminder
Hey [name], only 2 days left before the start of [event_name]! Prepare yourself for some fun and see you this [week_day] at [time], [address].
Template #8: Class reminders
[customer_name], don’t forget – [class_name] has been moved from 3 PM to 3:30 PM tomorrow, [date]. See you there!
Template #9: Home services appointment reminder
Hi [customer_name], your [reason_for_appointment] is scheduled for [date]. You can expect a [specialist] to arrive between [time]-[time]. Contact us at [phone_number] for any further questions.
Template #10: Package delivery
Hello, your package no. 12345 is scheduled for delivery today between [time]-[time]. The carrier will give you a call 30min before the delivery.
Text reminders – a win for both business and customers
Due to the personal and quick nature of SMS messages, it’s a perfect channel to send appointment reminders. Unlike emails, the vast majority of texts are opened so you can be sure that the information you provide reaches the recipient.
Therefore, you can stay on track of all your appointments and make changes accordingly. Text reminders simplify things for customers since they don't have to worry about forgetting their appointments and put businesses more at ease.
Just a quick reminder – like with any message you send to your customers, follow the best practices and don’t overdo it!