It’s 2019: Phone calls are out. Texting and DMs on social media are in. But if you own an appointment-based business and need to remind clients when they should show up, how should you replace the classic reminder call?

The answer is easy: You can send reminder texts that customers can view at their own convenience. And don’t worry: They will. Studies show small businesses that use SMS appointment reminders reduce their no-show rates by as much as 40%. That’s true of our platform, which includes built-in automated text reminders that do the work for you.

Even if you’re not currently using Schedulicity, it still makes sense for your business to send text message reminders. On average, an SMS appointment reminder costs less than a penny to send. But the value of reducing no-shows and building up customer loyalty with friendly reminders is priceless. Here are some best practices for all service-based businesses.

How to Craft Text Message Reminders for Business

Text messages give your clients an easier way to track when they last visited your business. Scrolling through texts is more personal than searching through emails or a calendar to track previous appointments, and personal touches are critical to interacting with your customers (which is why automated text reminders is one of our most popular features). The trick, though, is to send business texts that customers actually pay attention to.

The good news is, that might be simpler than it seems. What you send and when depends on a lot of factors, but these few tips can help you turn SMS appointment reminders into a valuable part of your customer service:

1. Make it a two-way conversation.

You might not expect your customers to respond to an SMS appointment reminder, but they’ll get frustrated if they try, only to find they can’t. Make each text part of a conversation by using a business number that allows them to respond. Consider using short calls-to-action that prompt customers to verify their appointments by responding to the text.

2. Think twice about what you say.

The tone of a reminder text is as important as its functionality, so take the time to create text reminder templates that are appropriate for a wide range of situations. Make sure your scheduled reminders are quick and friendly. You’ll also want to make sure that if you send texts about missed appointments, they still sound gentle and understanding. as well as a gentle, understanding template for missed appointments. Ensure you make all templates easy to personalize.

If you’re a Schedulicity business, you’re in for a treat: We’ve already written friendly text reminders for you, so you can just set it and forget it.

3. Be smart about when you say it.

Even the most eloquent and thoughtful SMS appointment reminders won’t get much attention if you send them in the middle of rush hour or in the middle of the night. The best times to send business texts are during regular business hours, usually between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. If your customers are in a different time zone, be sure to schedule reminders on their time.

4. Put a little urgency behind it.

The instant contact you have with your customers is one of the greatest benefits of sending business texts. In addition to feeling more personal, you can also make a text message feel more urgent without seeming pushy. Stress the importance of attending the appointment and prompt the client to respond to verify or reschedule as soon as possible.

Again, if you’re on Schedulicity, our automatic text reminders will cover this for you — they make it so easy for clients to reschedule, so they’ll feel much less tempted to no-show.

5. Stick with the same number.

If you use a third-party text reminder service for your business, you might be tempted to use shared numbers, which change with every text you send. However, customers are less likely to pay attention to messages from random numbers. If you want to make SMS appointment reminders part of your workflow, then choose a dedicated number instead. That way, clients can add it to their list of contacts as a trusted number.

Appointment Reminder Text Templates

Now that you know what makes a successful reminder text message, you’ll want to craft your templates.

If you’re manually sending reminder texts or using a third-party service, that means either crafting something that’s easy to copy, paste, and edit (some service providers keep these in a note on their phones to save time) or manually writing a template you can customize and reuse.

If you’re on Schedulicity, though, we’ve done the grunt work for you—the message is already built into our platform. (Sensing a pattern here?)

But back to manual. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got just what you need.

  • Hi, [NAME]! This is a friendly reminder from [PROVIDER/COMPANY] that you have an appointment coming up on [DATE/TIME]. Please reply “YES” to confirm or “NO” if you are unable to make your appointment.
  • Hello! We received your booking for an appointment on [DATE/TIME] with [PROVIDER/COMPANY]. We’re so excited to see you! Please reply to this message to confirm or reschedule. 
  • Hello, [NAME]. We missed you at your appointment that was scheduled for [DATE/TIME]. We would love to get a new appointment in the books for you right away. Please reply here or call us at [COMPANY PHONE] to get scheduled!

In a recent consumer survey, more than two-thirds of respondents said they prefer that businesses send reminder texts about appointments instead of emails or phone calls. Texts are not only unobtrusive, but their predictability makes appointments one less thing for your customers to worry about. To learn how you can simplify the process of sending reminder texts through your Schedulicity scheduling app, contact us today.