Business Texting Is The Surprisingly Easy Way To Make No-Shows A Thing Of The Past

When you’re a service-based business, or even a startup that relies on its VIP customers, in-person meetings are a top priority. After all, whether they are hair appointments, customer one-on-ones, car tune-ups, or doctor’s check-ups, those visits with customers are a huge source of revenue for your business.

In fact, a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information estimated that across a mere 10 organizations, $16.65 million in revenue was lost to no-shows in a single year. The statistics say it all: ensuring customers actually show up to their appointments is a crucial task.

Sure, sometimes customers simply decide they don’t want to show up to your salon or venue after all—but a lot of times they simply forget or find it too difficult to reschedule.

So how can you make confirming and rescheduling appointments as easy as possible?

Send your messages to their favorite devices. Most Americans—95%, in fact—own some type of cell phone. And since 90% of those cell phone users carry their prized possession with them all the time, text messaging is the best way to reach the vast majority of your customers.

Because business text messages are such a convenient way for consumers to communicate, they have an average open rate of 98% and reply rates as high as 80%. And, luckily, it’s easy to begin handling appointments on Heymarket.

First, Import Your Contacts

A lot of the time, importing customer contacts can be, quite simply, a pain—especially with new apps that require you to use a bunch of trendy integrations and refuse to let you upload contacts the way you’re used to.

We’re not fans of convoluted processes, though, so we tried to make the uploading process as easy as possible. You can import contacts from a simple spreadsheet in CSV format, just like you do with a lot of other programs.

If you’re up to date with trending apps, you can upload contacts with our Zapier integration, and if you’re especially tech-savvy, via our API.

At a minimum, contacts require a name and phone number. You can also include custom fields, such as appointment date, time, and location. This extra information will be useful later, so we recommend you go ahead and add as much detail as possible.

Import contacts into Heymarket

Of course, before you start uploading contacts, you have to ensure you’re compliant with TCPA and any other state or federal regulations. Once you gain the proper permission to message your contacts and upload their data, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step in the process.

Create Your Lists
Lists are one of the best basic ways to organize your customers, and absolutely necessary for setting up appointment scheduling and rescheduling. They are easy to set up and manage, plus they can be utilized for multiple nifty capabilities, like campaigns or sending personalized messages to multiple people simultaneously.

Once you’ve uploaded your contacts and appointments to Heymarket, you can search for customers by custom fields and add them to a new list.

For example, you could create a list titled “Customers with Appointments Next Week.” You can keep adding and removing contacts from this list as your clients adjust appointment dates.

Craft Your Messages

The content in your messages is the most important factor of business texting. First and foremost, be sure to introduce yourself and let recipients know how to unsubscribe from messages. That way, you’ll remain compliant with TCPA regulations.

Keep your messages brief (remember that this is a text message!) and snappy. Don’t feel pressure to sound too hip if you’re a doctor’s office catering to middle-aged executives, but remember that texting is treasured for its brevity.

To simplify the process for the future, you can create one or more template messages that will be sent to each customer.

These templates can be personalized, too: remember those custom fields you imported into Heymarket? They can be dynamically inserted into messages sent to each customer. It’s a great way to personalize messages and earn high reply rates.

For example, your template could look like this:

Hi {{first name}}, Acme Business here. You scheduled an appointment with us for {{appointment date}} at {{appointment time}}. It’s at our {{appointment location}} office. Please reply to confirm or reschedule. Thanks!

Whether you decide to use custom fields or not, reusable templates will save your team time—which saves your business money in the long run.

Schedule Or Immediately Send Your Messages

Once you’ve composed your appointment message it’s time to send it to your list. While you can easily send your message right away, one of the most useful messaging features you should be taking advantage of is scheduling ahead.

Scheduling can come in handy if a reminder needs to be sent on a Sunday, if your customer service team is off work for the holidays, or your team just wants to get ahead of their to-do lists.

There are a couple of ways you can send your messages. Sending them one by one is easy, but will take up extra time if you need to send a series of appointment reminders.

Campaigns take a little more time to set up, but save time in the long run. With campaigns, you can schedule a sequence of messages. A sequence might look like this:

Message 1, sent immediately:

Hi {{first name}}, thanks for opting to receive text reminders from Dorma Dental. Please reply with UNSUBSCRIBE to stop receiving further messages.

Message 2, sent the next week with a template:

Hi {{first name}}, Dorma’s Dental here. You’ve got an upcoming appointment on {{appointment date}} at {{appointment time}}. It’s at our {{appointment location}} office. Please reply to C to confirm or R to reschedule. Thanks!

Message 3, sent the day before the appointment with a different template:

Hey there, {{first name}}, Dorma’s Dental again. Just a reminder that you’ve got an appointment on {{appointment date}} at {{appointment time}}. It’s at our {{appointment location}} office. See you soon!

Message 4, sent one week after the appointment:

Hi {{first name}}, Dorma’s Dental here. Thanks for coming in on {{appointment date}} at {{appointment time}} for your appointment. Do you have any follow-up questions? Reply if so, and we’ll be happy to pass them along.

As you can see, text messaging is an efficient way to automate the needless manual tasks associated with confirming and rescheduling customer appointments. By providing this convenient service to your customers, you’ll see no-shows decline and customer satisfaction skyrocket.

Need help getting started? Our team is always happy to help.

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