No shows are a very costly problem. You may be starting an appointment-reminder strategy, or trying to improve one and wondering what the best way is to help your customers remember appointments: Are text messages better than appointment reminder calls? What about emails?
Like most of us, you’d probably like to pick one way and run with it. The thing is, using just one method of communication may not be the best way to help your customers remember appointments. Researchers are discovering that remembering is a multi-sensory process. The more ways you experience information, the more likely you are to retain it. To remember something, Harry Lorayne, author of Ageless Memory: Simple Secrets for Keeping Your Brain Young, says to “Read it, type it, say it, hear it.”
Here’s another factor to consider: not everyone remembers things in the same way. Educators have long known that some students are visual learners whereas others are auditory learners. While some may do well with reading textbooks, others will do better attending a lecture or a video. Schools are now exploring teaching through touch and other senses as well.
So how can we use this knowledge to help our customers show up to their appointments? At ReminderCall.com, we like to suggest a combination approach:
1. Send an appointment pre-reminder email one week before the appointment.
Email appointment reminders allow your customer to read their appointment, but can be difficult to use. Send them too early and they risk being forgotten… send them too late and they will be missed. That said, an email sent a week before the appointment serves as a great pre-reminder to be used with other, timelier reminders.
2. Send an appointment reminder call the evening before the appointment.
An automated reminder call uses three senses that help retention and add an emotional trigger. The caller I.D. allows your customers to read who the call is from. The message itself permits them to hear the information. Asking them to press a key (such as pressing 1 to confirm) makes them type and use their sense of touch. If the message includes a familiar voice (such as yours or an employee’s) it adds a real person to the message and an emotional response, such as not wanting to let that person down.
3. Send an appointment reminder text message the day of the appointment.
Text messages reminders are the timely reminders, they allow customers to read their appointment and touch a key to confirm, using two senses that enhance memorization. Also, text messages are stored in the phone and can be referred to throughout the day if necessary (remember your customers must opt-in for you to send them text-message reminders).
Although you may not need to use all three appointment reminders for every customer, if you are experiencing weekly no shows, it is probably a good idea to revisit your strategy. Luckily, with today’s tools, you can try different combinations until you find one that works with your particular demographic. To learn how to add your own voice to your text-to-speech appointment reminder calls, or to get help with a particularly tough situation, please give us a call at 1 (888) 858-6673 or visit us at www.ReminderCall.com. You can also try our appointment reminder demo for an idea of what we do.