Think texting is just for youngsters to LOL and meme? Think again.
According to our 2020 Global Messaging Engagement Report, texting is the second most popular communication channel (behind email). However, email's popularity is also its Achilles’ heel—more emails than ever flood consumers’ inboxes, and they struggle to sift through all of it.
You (and hopefully your contacts) don't want to miss an appointment, but with so much going on, it's easy to forget.
Unfortunately, whether you're a software-as-a-service sales agent or a local barber, no-shows can hurt your business—badly.
Average no-show rates hover between 10% to 50%, and some industries (like healthcare) see average no-show rates as high as 27%. Research estimates that businesses with over $120K in annual revenue lose $26K every year in missed appointments. That's a lot of cash!
Luckily, there's a solution: appointment reminder texts.
Text message open rates are around 98%, so when you send your client a reminder text, you can rest easy knowing it didn't get ignored. Plus, customers cancel less than 5% of all scheduled appointments after receiving a text reminder.
Let those statistics sink in.
Sending appointment reminder text messages is easy. Below, we'll show you everything you need to know to start sending SMS reminders and stop experiencing no-shows.
What is an appointment reminder text?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a step back and define "What is an appointment reminder text?"
Appointment reminder texts are SMS messages you send to your contacts to remind them about an upcoming appointment. These could be as simple as:
"Hi, there. Just reminding you about your massage appointment at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon."
Or as complex as:
"Hi, Julie. Just reminding you about your scheduled car detailing at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. Use the link here if you need to reschedule: http://bit.ly/reschedule."
Regardless, your text messaging has one purpose—and that's to remind your recipient about an upcoming appointment. Don't get lost in the weeds trying to upsell or cross-sell. The main objective is to get them to show up on time or to reschedule in advance so that you have time to refill your calendar.
So what's the best way to write these messages? We're glad you asked.
Below, we'll highlight the most important elements of reminder texts and how to write them effectively.
How do you write an appointment reminder text message?
There's a right way and wrong way to send SMS appointment reminders. Get it right, and you'll get the vast majority of your clients to their appointments on time. Get it wrong, and you'll waste money on texts that don't lead to conversions.
Here are a few best practices for writing appointment reminder texts:
- Automate appointment reminders: By automating and scheduling your friendly reminders in advance, you can take one more thing off your daily to-do list. Automation can simplify your workflows, save time, and even make it faster and easier for your clients.
- Make it short: While SMS messages can be up to 160 characters, that doesn't mean you should use all of them. If you can communicate your appointment reminder with fewer characters, do it.
- Keep on topic: Your customers don’t need to be distracted by any irrelevant nonsense—so stay on topic. Just remind them about the appointment time and any other details (Zoom link, address, phone number for rescheduling, etc.)—that's it.
- Stay on brand: Transactional messages don't have to be boring—have fun, be clever, and let your brand's voice shine through.
- Enable 2-way communication: When sending your appointment reminder texts, use a number that makes recipients want to respond. Don't make your recipients visit your website or contact customer support via email to continue the conversation.
Make sense? Don't worry—we have tons of appointment reminder text examples and samples below to give you actionable templates of effective reminders in action.
Does my business need to set up SMS appointment reminders?
Customers prefer texting with businesses. Why? Because it’s easy for reminders to get lost in your phone’s push notifications or email inbox.
Text messages break through the clutter and almost always get read. In fact, SMS messages have a 98% open rate, which almost guarantees your customers will see them. Plus, 64% of consumers said appointment reminder texts are the most valuable texts they receive from businesses.
So while your business might not necessarily need SMS appointment reminders, most consumers prefer them. Given that 85% of consumers want to receive text messages from businesses, this is a simple way to make their wish come true.
7 appointment reminder text examples
1. Appointment confirmation text
"Hi, [name]. We're confirming your appointment with Dr. Lewandowski for Wed., 3/31, at 9:30 a.m. Use the link if you need to reschedule: https://bit.ly/link123."
2. Upcoming appointment friendly reminder
"Hi, [name]. This is Car Dealz reminding you about your scheduled oil change for tomorrow (4/7) at 1 p.m. Call/text us if you need to reschedule. See you then!"
3. Your appointment has started
"Hi, [name]. Just reminding you that the workshop you registered for started. Join from your computer or phone at https://bit.ly/link123. See you in the Q&A!"
4. Feedback request
"Hi, [name]. We hope you enjoyed your eye exam with Dr. Jamie. Now, we'd love to get your feedback. Fill out this survey to tell us how it went: https://bit.ly/link123."
5. Schedule another appointment
"Hi, [name]. We hope your bike is running good as new. Go ahead and schedule your next appointment for the recommended 8-week tuning: https://bit.ly/link123."
6. Missed appointment follow-up
"Hi, [name]. We missed you at your dental checkup today. Please call us so we can help reschedule your appointment: 555-555-5555.”
7. Reschedule appointment
"Hi, [name]. We received your request to reschedule your appointment. Use this link to reschedule: https://bit.ly/link123. Call 555-555-5555 if you have questions!"
How do you send appointment text reminders?
Sending appointment reminder messages is quick and easy with the right software. Twilio Studio and Twilio APIs give you the flexibility to send automated confirmations, reminders, rescheduling texts, and more with a drag-and-drop editor or programming integrations.
Want to build appointment reminders programmatically into your web application? Choose from any of the languages and frameworks below to get the source code in your language to build an appointment reminder app:
Thinking beyond text reminders
While SMS messages are a great, reliable way to remind customers about upcoming appointments, it's not the only channel at your disposal. Consider these other methods:
- Enable email appointment reminders: Learn how to send and write appointment confirmation emails from our Twilio SendGrid blog post.
- Use phone call reminders: Enable Twilio's Text-to-Speech to convey reminders in 26 languages. You can also add an interactive voice response menu to enable customers to confirm and change appointments within the call.
- Experiment with MMS reminders: Send branded appointment reminders with pictures and calendar invites using MMS.
See how Twilio customers built appointment reminders into their apps:
- Handy increased customer engagement by 50% with Twilio-powered leads management (see story).
- Anytime Pediatrics saw a 36% reduction in incomplete visits, thanks to Twilio's Programmable Messaging (see story).
- Yelp keeps restaurants full and diners happy using 2-way SMS powered by Twilio (see story).
- YouCanBook.me helps achieve fewer missed appointments for small businesses with SMS (see story).
- Philips Patient Management delivers a new waiting room experience, thanks to SMS (see story).
How to send recurring text reminders
If you’re setting reminders to send to your customers, take a step back—there’s a better way. You can use an application like Twilio Studio to create automated flows that happen without you touching a thing.
For example, take a look at our tutorial on how to send appointment reminders with Twilio Studio. It shows you how to send automated texts when a customer makes an appointment and provides different workflows depending on whether the customer confirms, cancels, or ignores the appointment confirmation message.
These automated messages help you establish set-it-and-forget-it workflows to navigate your customers smoothly from booking to appointment—all without adding more to your to-do list.
How to send mass SMS reminders
Mass SMS reminders are the most common (and easy-to-send) appointment text messages. If you want to remind all of your customers about an upcoming universal event (e.g., appointment, conference, webinar, in-person), this is how to do it.
Twilio Notify lets you use global SMS to send text notifications anywhere in the world at scale. You can reach one customer or a million with just a single API call. Plus, you can let your users opt into specific channels. For example, one user might want to receive reminders through SMS, while another may prefer it through email.
How to schedule SMS appointment reminders
Single appointment reminder texts are a great start, but sometimes, your customers will need additional notifications. Consider other texts you could send to improve the chances your customers will keep their appointments.
For example, you might send a confirmation appointment reminder text. This could send as soon as a customer books an appointment through your application. You could also send 7-day, 3-day, and day-of reminder texts. The point is to try experimenting with different day-of timing to see what your customers like best. While a 30-minute-prior reminder might be best for a virtual meeting, you might want to send a 2-hour-prior reminder if a customer has to go to a specific location.
You can also try sending appointment follow-up texts to continue the conversation. A follow-up text could be a survey asking for feedback or could ask the customer to schedule their next appointment.
How do you send HIPAA-compliant SMS text messages?
Healthcare SMS or text messaging can be complicated. Since the information contained in these messages can be protected health information, you'll need to comply with strict requirements outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
If you want to send HIPAA-compliant SMS text messages, follow the tutorial outlined in Automate and Optimize Healthcare Appointment Outreach Using Twilio. It'll walk you through everything you need to know and do to safely and securely send text messages from your medical practice.
Last year, Twilio became HIPAA-eligible across SMS, voice, and video. This means healthcare industry leaders in the US can now leverage our leading customer engagement platform to build custom communication solutions at scale.
To make that happen, we're able to sign Business Associate Addendums for our key products (Programmable SMS, Programmable Voice, and Programmable Video) to enable HIPAA compliance across these offerings.
Start sending appointment reminder texts with Twilio
Ready to get started? Learn how you can set up SMS for your business and get started sending texts in under 5 minutes.
Or sign up for a free Twilio account (no credit card required) to start sending automated appointment reminder texts.
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