Reduce Appointment No-Shows with SMS Text Message Reminders

4 mins
A woman in scrubs behind a reception counter talking to a female customer

As a medical practitioner, hair salon owner, therapist or other service provider, appointment bookings are your livelihood and appointment no-shows can cost thousands in business revenue every week.  

Although there are strategies available to stress the importance of a missed appointment, such as implementing a no-show policy by charging customers for missed appointments, restricting appointment scheduling and potentially refusing service after a customer misses a certain number of appointments – these are not viable options for most organisations operating within the healthcare or beauty industries.  

When it comes to reducing appointment no-shows, boosting patient engagement and improving organisational efficiencies, your business can implement an SMS text message solution 

The power of SMS is underrated in today’s maze of communications options, with 83% of consumers wanting to receive appointment reminders via text, but only 20% of businesses sending them this way. Sending SMS text message reminders ensures your audience are informed of upcoming appointments and provides them with the opportunity to confirm, cancel and reschedule.  

Is your organisation looking for a way to nurture relationships with customers and reduce excess work on staff? Continue reading to learn how your business can utilise SMS text message reminders to reduce appointment no-shows and boost business revenue. 


Benefits of Sending SMS Text Message Appointment Reminders

1. Cut through the noise and connect directly with patients

In this technologically-driven world, reaching your audience is never easy, especially with hundreds of different communication channels available. SMS, however, unlike other methods of communication, has a 98% open rate, with 98% of messages opened by the recipient within 90 seconds. This means that your message is almost guaranteed to be read, cutting through the noise of other communications and connecting directly with your patients.  

SMS text messages are the perfect way to help reduce no-shows by prompting your audience to remember their appointment and potentially respond with a confirmation, cancellation or reschedule. A study conducted by researchers from the Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine at Imperial College London found that appointment reminders can reduce no-show rates by almost 40% in healthcare organisations.  

No matter what industry your business falls in, SMS text message reminders are a quick, effective and inexpensive way to reduce no-shows and fill your empty seats. 


2. Improve administrative inefficiencies and reduce staff labour

Appointment reminders shouldn’t be a tedious process of missed calls and follow-ups. However, in most organisations, staff spend considerable amounts of time on the phone chasing up missed appointments manually, when their time could be better spent performing a service or other duties. 

Sending appointment reminder SMS text messages will not only prevent staff from wasting time following-up customers on the phone or via email, they will assist your business in improving administrative inefficiencies and help your organisation’s bottom line by reducing appointment no-show rates. 

A review into using text message reminders in healthcare services found that nearly all SMS-reminder studies helped improve patient medical compliance and appointment reminders, with multiple benefits including ease of use, inexpensiveness and rapid and automated message delivery. 


3. Reduce organisational costs and boost business revenue

Appointment no-shows are something every service provider experiences, resulting in a business expense that can equate to thousands of lost revenue. A great example of this is in the healthcare industry, where a missed appointment may cost a healthcare provider upwards of $200 per patient. If you have 10 patients miss their appointments every week, that’s over $100,000 in lost income every year. A study found that thousands of patients miss appointments every week, with rates of missed appointments found to be between 5 – 55% in the United States, costing the healthcare system more than $150 billion every year. 

Implementing SMS text message appointment reminders in your organisation can drastically reduce appointment no-shows, improving business revenue by filling empty seats and reducing communications expenses.  


Tips for Sending the Perfect SMS Text Message Appointment Reminder

  • Gain consent – some customers may prefer to be sent text message reminders while some may only prefer to be notified by phone or email. As SMS text message reminders are a permission-based communications tool, you need to remain compliant and ensure customers opt-in as well as have an option to opt-out. 
  • Keep it short and sweet - make sure your text message gets straight to the point. Your audience is expecting a short, simple reminder that contains all the details of the upcoming appointment including time, date, place and specific details on what the appointment is for.  
  • Timing is key – sending an SMS text message reminder should be scheduled at a convenient time for your customer. It’s generally recommended to send only one or two SMS text message appointment reminders – one 7 days before the appointment and one 24 hours before. Also be mindful of your customer and refrain from sending messages after hours. 
  • Stay professional – when an SMS text message is being received from a business, customers expect a professional message. Refrain from using ‘text speak’, words such as ‘LOL’, ‘BRB’ and ‘GTG’ may hinder your SMS text message strategy rather than help. 
  • Personalise the reminder – use custom fields to personalise the SMS text message reminder. Adding fields such as the customer’s name, time and date of the appointment assist you with reducing appointment no-shows. When you have hundreds or thousands of customers visiting your organisation every week, it’s not sustainable to be inserting these fields manually.  
  • Let customers respond – by using a dedicated virtual SMS number, customers can respond to the SMS text message reminder to confirm, cancel or even reschedule their appointments – without ever needing to call. This automates the appointment reminder process and frees up administrative tasks to keep your staff on track. 


SMS Appointment Reminder Samples

Healthcare: general practitioners, specialists, dentists, physiologists and more 

Hi Michael, your appointment with Dr. Grey is scheduled for tomorrow at 12:45pm. Please reply Y to confirm or N to cancel. 


Education: schools, sporting clubs, childcare centres  

Hi Becky, this is a friendly reminder that your child, Mike, has a parent-teacher interview scheduled for 14/07/2023 at 4.30pm. 


Legal: lawyers, barristers, legal professionals 

Hi Julia, you have an appointment with Drew Collins & Associates at 1pm tomorrow. Please call us directly to reschedule. 


Retail: ecommerce stores, department stores, franchise stores, retail chains 

Jack, don’t miss out! Our fashion parade starts today at 10:00am. Come check out the latest styles and grab your 20% discount. Ts & Cs apply. 


Hair and beauty: salons, cosmetic specialists, skincare clinics, therapists 

Hi Margaret, your appointment at Soap and Sparkle is coming up at 09:00am on 21/09/2023. Give us a call on 5432 1098 if you can’t make it. 


Banks and financial institutions 

Hi Thomas, you have a scheduled payment of $350 due to be processed on 08/12/2023. Unexpected SMS? Call 1300 000 000.  


Service providers: telecommunications, utilities, automotive 

Hi Phillip, your phone bill for $59.00 is due tomorrow. Pay now: Late fees apply. 


Reduce Appointment No-Shows Today with Notifyre

Although you can’t eliminate appointment no-shows altogether, you can reduce appointment no-shows with SMS text message reminders to encourage customers to show up or reschedule if they know they are unable to attend. SMS makes business communications easier, and Notifyre can help provide the best-in-class online SMS solution for your organisation.  

Get started today or learn more about our SMS features. 

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