Our modern lives are filled with appointments. With this in mind, staying on schedule is important for everyone, be it the person making the appointment or the person waiting for them to arrive. Naturally, this means a lot of reminding people about appointments, which in and of itself only adds to the extreme abundance of things to do and wasted time during the work day.
While it’s necessary to remind people of appointments, it’s also a lot of work to do this manually. Many businesses, especially small businesses, have better ways to use their time than requiring staff members to call everyone who’s meant to come in that day or the next.
As a result, many are turning to appointment reminder software for small businesses to effectively complete this task. What’s the real cost of this kind of tech, though, and can it really help you save? That’s what we’ll be talking about today.
The Importance of Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminder software for both large and small businesses are becoming essential to getting your customers to come in on time and retaining them for the future. People are more busy than ever, and their days are filled with appointments and obligations. Reminders help them stack on track with yours. On a basic level, it’s easy to see why, since a quick reminder ahead of an appointment will remind people it’s happening and increase the chances of them coming in. There are deeper levels to this, however.
Frequent no-shows are bad for large and especially small businesses, in all sorts of ways. First and foremost, they mean lost business. Not only are you taking the hit on that particular appointment, you now have a block of time you could have otherwise used for another appointment. Decreasing this situation with a simple reminder via appointment reminder software is preferable in every sense.
There has also been work done to study the effects no-shows have on a business overall. In the medical sector, just one no-show nearly doubles the chances of practice attrition. While not a sure thing, it seems fair that something like this could be applied to other businesses, as well. If preventing this is as simple as a quick automated, interactive phone call or text message, there’s no reason not to implement this kind of system.
The Tradition: Manual Calling
Manual calls allow you to directly talk with the person being reminded. If they need information or want to cancel their appointment, it’s easy to communicate that when talking to a real person. If done sufficiently ahead of an appointment, that allows you ample time to reschedule and slot someone else into their appointment time, saving what would otherwise be lost business. If the person being called doesn’t answer the phone, however, the staff member calling must take the additional time to leave a message explaining the purpose of their call.
When it comes to manual calling, it necessarily requires that a real person be making all of the calls. This eats up valuable time that this staff member could be using for other duties around the workplace. Additionally, while manual calls can be good for ensuring every call gets out, this also works on the assumption there is no human error on this step, either.
It’s not uncommon for someone to be skipped over during manual calls. If that’s the case, then you end up failing to remind at least one or two people of their appointments, defeating the purpose of the reminders altogether and decreasing the benefit we touched on at the start.
The Future: Automatic, Interactive Calling
Automatic calling has many benefits of its own. First and foremost, automated calling is easy to set up. The best reminder software is easy to understand even if you’ve never used something like it before. Considering the small amount of setup and training that goes into using this, you’ll quickly find that you’re saving a lot of time compared to using traditional manual calling and texting reminders.
In fact, automatic calling is typically substantially quicker than manual calling. With the proper digital infrastructure, multiple reminder calls can be sent out at the same time. To match that with a manual reminder setup, you’d have to devote several employees to manning the phones.
On that same note, automatic reminder software helps to free up your staff who would normally be tied down doing reminders. When the software handles all of the reminders, that means all of your available team members can focus on more important tasks. That’s a more effective use of manpower no matter how you look at it.
Interactive appointment reminders can also be used for rescheduling appointments. Interactive appointment reminders offer flexibilities you might not expect. For example, the person being reminded of their appointment can be given the option to confirm or cancel their appointment, as well as to speak to a representative with the press of a key to reschedule their appointment.
Should I Use Phone or Text Reminders?
The debate between texting your customers versus calling them still rages on to this day. As with many things, there are various pros and cons to each method of communication. In that sense, there’s no true winner, as both are an effective means of reaching customers – and your customers likely have a personal preference.
Statistics show that 78% of people say that texts are the fastest way to reach them for an update like an appointment reminder, so having an option for texting in some capacity is crucial for any business. Additionally, 55% of consumers would rather have an SMS text reminder compared to other means of appointment reminders like email.
On the other hand, texts are fairly easy to ignore. If someone is being notified all day long, they might accidentally tune out an important reminder like this until it’s too late. A call, on the other hand, is harder to ignore. If this is a concern for you, using phone calls may be the answer.
Overall, while texting may be preferable in many cases, many people still prefer calling. With that in mind, offering both options to customers is a good compromise. Allowing them to opt-in for whichever they prefer will make everyone happy and provide the most effective range of reminders.
Integrating Appointment Reminders With Existing Systems
An appointment reminder is only as good as its platform features. After all, if you aren’t set up to effectively make use of reminders, they won’t be able to serve you as well as they could. Any effective appointment reminder software for small business will need to be flexible enough to integrate with your existing technology.
There should also be an easy way to customize your appointment reminder message in multiple ways, including personalization with your customer’s name and necessary appointment info. Customizing the reminder message makes good branding sense and makes your message stand out, ideally leading to fewer no-shows and more responses to the reminders. As such, good reminder software should make this easy for the user to accomplish.
Reliable Service for Automated Reminders
If you’re implementing automated appointment reminder software, you naturally want it to work well and reach your customer with no fuss – no delays, and no messages cut off early or starting late. That’s why, when choosing the software you’ll be using, it’s necessary to look at the technical infrastructure to make sure you’re getting the best option possible.
Without a background in computing, this can be difficult as services tend to throw a lot of complex jargon and acronyms at you. Here are two terms you’ll need to know and how to apply them when selecting a reminder software:
We’ve covered a lot of concepts related to appointment reminders and appointment reminder software for small businesses today. Here are a few key takeaways you can remember if you decide to consider this technology for your business:
- Appointment reminders help to reduce no-shows and improve customer and employee retention.
- Automated reminders save business’ time by letting staff focus on other tasks that aren’t simply sitting making reminder phone calls.
- Both texting and calling are valuable to your customers, and giving them an option is best practice.
- Implementing automated software can streamline appointment scheduling, canceling, and rescheduling and keep your office running smoothly.
- Look for software using PRI technology when available for its superior quality.
Overall, appointment reminder software is a great way to improve a business of any size. It improves your relationships with your customers, it saves you time, and – yes – can also save you money. Any business, large or small, can benefit from this technology.
Try VoiceShot Appointment Reminder Software Today
VoiceShot offers automated appointment reminder software for small businesses. Easy to customize and simple to integrate with existing technology like your appointment calendar, VoiceShot’s programs offer user-friendly and reliable service backed by our dedicated PRI lines. Reduce your no-shows and increase productivity today by requesting a free trial or scheduling a demo of what we have to offer.