- LAST UPDATE: 2/21/2017
PRICING TIER: All
APPOINTMENT VERSION: Single & Multiple
In today’s world, virtually everyone has a mobile phone. People carry their phones with them wherever they go. And, more and more people are utilizing text messages as an important communication tool. Perhaps just as important, people still pay close attention to text messages that they receive, unlike e-mail communications which are many times unread or deleted.
AppointmentPlus now allows you to take advantage of this movement by offering free Text-Ding™ reminders for upcoming Appointments and Events. The optional plugin is free and can send an unlimited number of Text Message Reminders to users in the United States and Canada.
So, why are text reminders important for scheduling organizations? Recent studies have shown that text message reminders can drastically decrease your no-show rate. In fact, a broad study on Text Message Reminders conducted in 2008 revealed that Text Message Reminders cut no-shows by 75% when compared to the use of email reminders. Fewer no-shows means more revenue for your business. Some important research statistics for clients to weigh when considering whether to use Text Message Reminders:
- According to the U.N. International Telecommunications Union, there were 6 BILLION mobile phone subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2011, roughly 86 for every 100 people.
- Forrester Research reported that more than 2 TRILLION SMS messages were sent in the US in 2011, which equates to more than 6 BILLION SMS messages sent per day.
- The open rate for SMS messages is over 98 percent, compared to just 22 percent for e-mail, as stated in a Frost & Sullivan report.
NOTE: Only users with the access type of "Headquarters Administrators" will have access to enable and setup the Text Message Reminders plugin.
How to enable the plugin
1. Select the The Marketplace link at the top of your account.
2. Search for the plugin by selecting the Miscellaneous category in the Marketplace.
3. Select the Enable option within the Text Message Reminders window.
4. Select one or more Locations from the dropdown, then click the Enable button.
Optionally, you may select to Enable the plugin for future locations added to your account.
Text message settings
There are 2 options available for formatting text messages:
Standard formatting - Select the fields you would like to display on each text message. The available fields include:
- Staff Member
- Phone Number
Advanced Formatting - Provides full control over the formatting of the text message and the placement of fields. You can preview what the text messages will look like by making your selections and then updating.
The following fields can be added to the Text Message Format box to specify what information will display in the text messages. Keep in mind, the advanced formatting option will require fields to be added within brackets as seen below. Wherever you put the brackets, the actual data will display in the text message.
WARNING: Please always keep in mind any Privacy Considerations connected with your Customers Text Message Reminders.
\NOTE: If you would like to have unique text messages for each Location in your account, please contact us to have this enabled.
TIP: Try to keep text messages as short as possible. Many carriers limit text messages to 165 characters.
Removing future messages
Once a Customer opts in to for Text Message Reminders, they will automatically receive text messages for all their Appointments and Events. Administrative users can deactivate Text Message Reminders for individual Customers by changing the Status field to Inactive in the Text Message Settings section of their profile. However, this will not disable Text Message Reminders for Appointments and Events that were scheduled to be sent prior to the settings change.
To disable text messages for existing Appointments & Events:
- Click on the Customers tab.
- Search for the applicable Customer record.
- Select the name of the Customer from the search results.
- Select the Remove Future SMS Messages link to the left side of the page.
NOTE: Clicking the "Remove Future SMS Messages" option will only disable Text Message Reminders for existing Appointments and Events.
Customer View opt-in process
If your Customers are allowed to schedule on their own (scheduling site), each user will be asked if they would like to receive a text message reminder at the end of their scheduling process (before confirmation). If the user elects to receive a text message reminder, they will be prompted to enter a small set of additional information.
The information the Customer will need to enter includes:
- Mobile phone number
- Cell phone carrier (i.e. Sprint PCS, Verizon, AT&T)
Once they enter this information, it will automatically apply to any future Appointments and Events associated with the profile.
End users can edit these settings or "opt out" at any time after scheduling an Appointment.
They can also edit their text message settings by clicking on the Account link at the top of the scheduling site. For example, if a Customer switches cell carriers (i.e. from AT&T to Sprint), the Customer can easily edit their settings and switch the carrier.
NOTE: Customers will not have the option of selecting how far in advance they would like to receive Text Message Reminders. Text Message Reminders will automatically be sent out 1 to 2 hours prior to each Appointment.
Site administration opt-in process
When scheduling appointments in Site Administration, user information can be entered to opt them in to receive a Text Message Reminder. This option is commonly used when entering Customer information when they call to schedule appointments. After selecting the Customer from the list of existing Customers in the appointment detail page, a link will show at the top right corner of the page to let you send the Customer a Text Message Reminder. Simply click the link and complete the form on the next page after you have permission from the Customer to send Text Message Reminders.
Required information includes:
- Mobile phone number
- Cell phone carrier (i.e. Sprint PCS, Verizon, AT&T)
Once the information is entered, it will automatically apply to any future Appointments and Events scheduled for that user profile.
Administrative users can utilize the SMS Report to access more details about the Text Message Reminders sent through their account. To run a report for Text Message Reminders, click on the Reports tab at the top of Site Administration, and then select the SMS Report link to the left side of the page.
By clicking on the SMS Report link, you will be able to run reports that show:
• The Text Message Reminders sent for a given date or date range
• The Text Message Reminders that are scheduled to be sent
- Are Text Message Reminders available for users outside the US?
- Why is the Text Message Reminders plugin not showing in the Marketplace?
- What happens when a user opts in for a Text Message Reminder, and then cancels their appointment?
- What happens when a users appointment changes to a different date or time?
- How do Text Message Reminders work with multiple Locations?
- What if I don’t want to use the Text Message Reminders feature?
- When text messages are sent, what number are they sent from?
- How far in advance will users receive their Text Message Reminders?
- I have a customer using Republic Wireless. How do they receive Text Message Reminders?
A - Currently, the plugin is compatible with service providers in the United States and Canada. However, please be aware that we are actively pursuing the necessary approvals and requirements to add support for the Australia, UK, Ireland, EU countries, South Africa, and more.
A - The Text Message Reminder feature is only available for accounts in the United States, Canada, and Australia. This feature is also not available for VAR or ExpressWay resellers. If the links do not show in an account that is not a VAR or ExpressWay Reseller, click the Settings tab and verify the Country field is set to either United States or Canada.
A - If a user has a Text Message Reminder scheduled to be sent, then the Customer cancels the Appointment, the system will remove the scheduled reminder.
A - If you or a end user changes an Appointment to a different date or time, the system will change their Text Message Reminder to be sent on for the new day and time.
A - You have two options if you have multiple Locations. By default, all Locations use text messages added at the headquarters Location. This setting can be changed to allow each Location to operate independently. This means that each Location would use their own text messages. The preference is an internal setting and can only be changed by AppointmentPlus staff. Please contact our support team via a support ticket to have this preference enabled.
A - If you don’t want to use Text Message Reminders, you can deactivate them via the “Text Message Reminders” section of The Marketplace.
A - Similar to email notifications, Text Message Reminders are always sent from the address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A - Text Message Reminders are always sent 1 to 2 hours prior to each appointment. If you are interested in learning if your account is eligible to change the amount of time between the Text Message Reminder and the Appointment, please open a support ticket.
- Q - I have a customer using Republic Wireless. How do they receive Text Message Reminders?
A - Your customer will need to make sure they have the 18.104.22.1685 version (or higher) app installed on their device. From the Republic Wireless app, your customer will then need to enable the "Allow SMS messages from email" option in Advanced Settings.