For many small businesses, getting people to their appointments on time seems impossible. But, with the right strategy in place, the task gets much easier. Here are some best practices plus some appointment reminder templates to get you started:
Who are Your Customers?
Today’s choices give you the opportunity to customize your appointment reminders like never before. At ReminderCall.com, you can choose between calls, text messages or emails. You can even send a combination of all three. To reach the widest audience, use calls. Almost everyone has a landline and surveys show that forty-one percent of U.S. smartphone users who would like to receive appointment reminders still prefer reminder phone calls. If you’re in an urban area or service a younger audience, text message reminders are more popular.
Custom appointment reminder templates allow you to treat your customers like individuals. Think about using different messages for new versus long-standing customers. If you serve a large Latino community, consider sending Spanish reminders. By customizing your message, you can send efficient, targeted reminders and get better results.
What are the Rules?
Did you know that in some cases you must get permission before you can send any automated calls or text messages to a cell phone? You must also provide a way for customers to opt-out of call, text message and email communications. Check out federal and state laws before starting your campaign. If you are a healthcare provider, check out HIPAA requirements as well. For example, HIPAA gives healthcare providers a small break. Appointment reminders are considered part of the medical treatment and can be made without getting permission. That said, medical appointment reminders constitute Protected Health Information (PHI) and must be handled with more security.
As part of ReminderCall.com’s mission to keep you ahead of the game, we’ve developed a tool where customers can opt-in to your messages. It’s called the Secure Opt-In Portal and it’s included with every account. This feature helps comply with HIPAA, TCPA, and CAN-SPAM as well as some Canadian regulations.
Appointment Reminder Templates
Crafting successful phone, email and SMS appointment reminders takes some thought. It requires wording that communicates clearly and follows regulations. Luckily, ReminderCall.com has been creating automated notifications since 1998. Through the years, we have come to find what works and what doesn’t. Here are some phone, email, and text message appointment reminder templates for you to try.
Appointment Reminder Call Template
You have an appointment with Dr. Smith on <appointment date> at <appointment time>. If you need to make changes, please call the office at <phone number>. Press 1 to confirm your appointment.
This simple reminder satisfies regulations by stating the company name and phone number. By design, it does not include a key press to cancel the appointment. Instead, it suggests calling the office to change the appointment. We have found that this technique reduces cancellations. It gives your or your staff the chance to reschedule the appointment right away. This enhances communication to let you provide better customer service.
Appointment Reminder Text Message Template
You have an appointment with Dr. Smith on <appointment date> at <appointment time>. Call us at <phone number> with questions.
This simple text message reminder satisfies regulations while remaining brief. Like the call template, it suggests calling with questions rather than canceling the appointment. Know that you can send longer text messages. But, if you do, some cell phone companies will truncate your message. So we recommend keeping text messages under 160 characters long.
In some instances, you may need permission from your customers to send them automated text messages. We’ve made it simple to get it. Just use your ReminderCall.com Secure Opt-In Portal.
Email Appointment Reminder Template:
A Friendly Reminder:
<First Name> <Last Name> has an appointment with The ABC Store on <appointment date> at <appointment time>.
Please confirm your appointment by clicking the button below:
Unsubscribe from email reminders.
This simple email is very helpful to new patients because it includes all contact information. Optional features such as a map to your office or an “add to calendar” feature are helpful too.
If you are a healthcare provider, you may want to think about the pros and cons of email appointment reminders. Many patients choose to respond with a long-winded response that includes Protected Health Information. It is important to consider whether you have the staff to respond to those emails. That said, email appointment reminders are approved by HIPAA. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
The Privacy Rule allows covered health care providers to communicate electronically, such as through e-mail, with their patients, provided they apply reasonable safeguards when doing so. See 45 C.F.R. § 164.530(c). For example, certain precautions may need to be taken when using e-mail to avoid unintentional disclosures, such as checking the e-mail address for accuracy before sending, or sending an e-mail alert to the patient for address confirmation prior to sending the message. Further, while the Privacy Rule does not prohibit the use of unencrypted e-mail for treatment-related communications between health care providers and patients, other safeguards should be applied to reasonably protect privacy, such as limiting the amount or type of information disclosed through the unencrypted e-mail. In addition, covered entities will want to ensure that any transmission of electronic protected health information is in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule requirements at 45 C.F.R. Part 164, Subpart C.
Download 26 Appointment Reminder Templates
Do you still have questions? Would you like to see more examples? The Ultimate Guide to Writing Appointment Reminder Calls, Text Messages, and Emails is a free download that teaches you what you need to include in your reminder calls, text messages and emails in order to achieve the best results. You’ll learn best practices for each appointment reminder type and some of the rules to consider. Plus, you’ll get 26 Free Patient Appointment Reminder Templates. Includes English, French and Spanish examples!