6 Tools to Amplify Your Text Appointment Reminders
Text appointment reminders are the best way to remind your patients of an upcoming appointment! The benefits are a win-win for the practice, staff, and patients. Your patients are more likely to remember to show up at the right place and time, and you get to keep patients moving smoothly through your office, maximizing both how many patients you see and how happy your patients are with their smooth visit.
But text appointment confirmations must be thoughtful and customizable to your patients' and practice's needs to be effective.
When we tell doctors about Zingit and its many tools, often the first and immediate response we get is, "My practice management software already does text appointment reminders."
Since text appointment reminders are such a no-brainer, we are never surprised. However, basic appointment reminders are not enough—and without robust management or customization, they can even bother or annoy patients. At worst, they cause patients to miss appointments or show up late.
It's time to go beyond basic text appointment confirmations! Consider these powerful patient engagement tools you want in your appointment reminder system:
Basic text appointment reminder systems often send reminders at set times, with no ability to customize them. You want a system that is smart enough to adjust based on your practice's needs. Zingit's flexible practice growth software can send reminders at any interval you choose—two days before, one day before, or 1-2 hours before an appointment.
As a basic guideline, we suggest setting reminders to send all at one specific time the day before—when your staff is at the desk and knows reminders will be sent. For example, all of tomorrow's appointments will be reminded at 2 pm today. This way, they can manage responses at one set time per day.
Then, we suggest setting another reminder on the hour, two hours before each appointment. So all appointments between 12 pm and 1 pm will get a reminder at 10 am.)
But the world is your oyster when setting up appointments through Zingit, as you'll start to see below.
Real-time Conversation Capability
When you use a basic system, and your patient gets an appointment reminder via text, it might ask the patient to reply "C" to confirm. And that is the extent of the robotic interaction the system can handle.
But what if the patient cannot make the appointment? They are sick, forgot about booking the appointment, or something urgent has come up. Life gets in the way sometimes, and your patient now needs to call your office, possibly wait on hold, and interrupt whatever your staff is doing. Then they must have a clunky conversation where they try to realign your calendar with theirs for a reschedule.
Wouldn't it be nice if they could just send a quick text and your staff could respond via 2-way texting? And for everyone's sake, what if your staff's response could include a link to reschedule immediately? You would rather reschedule and fill a vacant spot as soon as possible than have it slip by the next day unfilled.
This is why we suggest sending texting appointment reminders a single time the day before. As such, a staff member can handle any responses that come through all at once via text, preventing cumbersome, long conversations or an annoying game of voicemail phone tag that could take up the rest of the day.
Appointment Type Filters
Not all text appointment reminders are created equal. In chiropractic offices, people frequently have multiple appointments in one week before switching to a less frequent maintenance schedule. Sometimes, patients only come in a few times yearly for maintenance treatment.
Use appointment-type filters in Zingit to adjust the reminder schedule accordingly. Patients who come in regularly may need only one reminder. A few would be best if it's uncommon for a patient's treatment schedule. Also, some patients are more valuable to the practice based on the amount of time they take—regularly send reminders for these appointments.
If certain appointments have a 24-hour cancellation policy, consider adjusting that appointment type to send a reminder 26 hours in advance to give the patient time to cancel without incurring a fee. Again, the world is your oyster.
Multiple Appointment Filters
At some practices, patients see multiple providers in a row, so they have several appointments. You don't want to send patients a text appointment reminder for each visit.
We have heard too many times of patients who only see the final appointment reminder and show up late, missing all other important appointments.
This is the worst case for an appointment reminder gone wrong. It's disappointing for the patient and costly to your practice. You want to set your system to only send a reminder for the first appointment of a given day, and then your staff can smoothly take the patient through the schedule once the patient shows up on time.
Delivery Confirmation on Appointment Reminders
Zingit's system sends text appointment reminders using short codes or your practice's landline phone number. The extraordinary thing about short codes is that they allow you to receive delivery confirmations.
A backup message can be put into place if a message does not go through. This way, if a message is not delivered, if the person has opted out of receiving texts, or if there isn't a mobile number on file, your system can send a phone call reminder to the person instead.
Multi Phone Number Lookup
Often, you have multiple phone numbers on file for one person. You want a system to find the patient's mobile number and send the message there (avoiding having a reminder sent to a landline where it is not delivered).
Zingit handles this automatically and so many other time-consuming administrative tasks that wreck your schedule and staff efficiency.
The Takeaway on Text Appointment Reminders
Putting the proper systems in place for appointment reminders will improve patient communication and, ultimately, their satisfaction with your practice. It's also easier to maximize your schedule efficiency if your patients know when to show up or if they can quickly reschedule when an appointment no longer works. And your staff will appreciate effective appointment reminders that take them away from games of voicemail phone tag, allowing them to handle responses to patients easily via text at a scheduled time each day.
Zingit offers all of the above tools and more, and we can easily get you set up and integrated with your existing practice management software.
Are you interested in learning more about Zingit and how it can be put to good use in your practice? Set up a personal demo today.