- LAST UPDATED: 2/27/2019
- PRICING TIER: All
- APPOINTMENT VERSION: All
As of January 11th, 2019 AppointmentPlus scheduling software will begin sending true SMS for Appointment reminders. In the past, our users relied upon our "Text Message Reminders" plugin, which was based on email-to-text technology supported by various cell service providers. In response to cell providers deprecating this technology, AppointmentPlus has transitioned to utilizing full SMS messaging.
True SMS Reminders allow you to fully customize the data included in each message by adding any Appointment level field, and many Customer level fields from within your account. This plugin feature is available at the account and any Location for which the plugin is enabled will consume message credits from the same bank.
Enabling SMS Appointment Reminders
To enable SMS reminders you'll need to visit the Marketplace from Site Admin.
(NOTE - users who had Text Message Reminders enabled prior to SMS Appointment Reminders being released will automatically have this plugin enabled, and will receive a one-time credit applied to their SMS Appointment Reminder credit balance.)
Once you're in the Marketplace, you can sort by All to quickly find the SMS plugin. When you've found it, click on the Learn More/Enable option to proceed with enabling the plugin. This is only available for Headquarters Administrators.
Next, use the Select Locations drop down to choose which Locations you want to enable the plugin for, and then click Enable.
SMS Appointment Reminder Credits
|Once you have the plugin enabled, or for users who previously had Text Message Reminders enabled, you'll need to manage SMS credits. Credits are purchased from AppointmentPlus, and are used to send SMS reminders. Each message (160 characters, including spaces) will use 1 SMS credit, so if a message takes two messages, it will consume 2 credits upon being sent.|
Headquarters Administrator users within the application will see an SMS Appointment Reminder balance when on the Appointment tab.
The SMS Appointment Reminders tab within the plugin provides a basic breakdown of the packages available.
Managing Credits and Bank Balance Alerts
One-Time Purchase of Credits
To add SMS credits to your account, click the Manage Credits tab within the plugin options.
Here, you can choose to add more credits manually by clicking Add Credits Now. You'll see the package options and can Buy & Send right away. You can also choose to send any pending reminders for Appointments in the near future (3 hours). This is useful if your SMS credits run out and want to make sure today's Customers get their reminders.
NOTE: This requires a valid payment method associated with your account. If you pay via credit card, your card will be charge at this time. If the credit card associated with your account is expired, you will not be able to purchase credits and your Customers will not receive their reminders.
Credit Balance Information and Alerts
In addition to being able to purchase SMS message credits, you may also choose to allow other users in your account or business to receive information related to the SMS credit balance. The Manage Credits tab provides you additional permission settings to determine who should see the balance information on the Appointments tab, as well as who should receive email alert notifications when your account reaches a low balance (not used if you are on an auto-renew subscription).
Viewing Remaining SMS Credits
Within this section of the Bank Balance Settings area, you can choose users by the following options:
- By Access Type
- Include Individual Users
- Exclude Individual Users
You may find that you have a mix of users within your account that need to see the balance information. Maybe you need all Headquarters Administrators and only some of your Location Administrators. You can configure the system to display this to all users of the two access types and then select individual users that should be excluded from viewing this information. The tiered permissions provide you with the most customization for these settings. When you have completed you selections here, make sure to Update Settings.
Receive Low Balance Email
If you are not on an auto-renew subscription, you can choose to have a low balance alert sent to either specific users in your system or external email addresses (separated by a comma). When you have completed you selections here, make sure to Update Settings.
Auto-Renew Credit Subscription
Your business may rely on Customers receiving reminders. To make sure that your account never reaches a zero (0) balance, you can subscribe to auto-renew credits. The same package options offered for one-time purchase are also available for auto-renew selection. When your account is subscribed for this offer, the bank will be replenished when it reaches a low balance threshold. This way, your account is never empty!
It is recommended that you subscribe to this offer to ensure you never miss out on sending reminder messages to your Customers.
When you have completed you selections on this tab, make sure to Update Settings.
Within the Settings tab of the plugin, you can see the number your messages will be sent from, manage some additional configuration settings, and format exactly how your reminders display to your Customers.
Manage Across Locations
For accounts with multiple Locations, managing the Location-specific information is available directly from within the plugin. When visiting this tab, you'll be able to see and switch to manage the settings for other Locations where they are not set to share settings from the Headquarters Location. Please note that the From Number is always shared across all Locations, regardless of the sharing setting on individual sub-Locations.
Choosing a Location from the dropdown field will allow you to easily switch to see the Location's specific settings and reminder template details.
Customer Opt-In and Reminder Send Time
When configuring your SMS Appointment Reminders, you'll want to consider how to set some of the following settings:
- Customer Opt-In Default: For Customer profiles, you can determine the default selection of the opt-in field for receiving SMS Appointment Reminders. This will initially set the checkbox for new Customers regardless if they create their own profile through the Customer View application or if Staff Members create the profiles directly through the administrative application.
- Reminder Send Time: Set how far in advance of each Appointment's start time the Customer's Appointment Reminder should be sent. You can choose from 1, 2, 4 or up to 72 hours for the reminder to be sent.
SMS Message Template
Below the settings, you will see the SMS Message Template and the Preview fields. Any changes you make in the Template window will display in the Preview window (after updating all or one Location), showing you an example of what your Customers will see, based on their specific Appointment information. The Selected Location will show you existing template for that specific Location. If you have selected the Headquarters Location, that template is used for all Locations sharing Headquarters Values.
When editing your message in the SMS Message Template window, you can use the Insert Appointment Info drop down to add Appointment, Location or Customer fields to your message. Be careful when adding fields here, as too many fields can easily cause your messages to consume 2 or even 3 messages when sent to your Customer, which means your credits will be consumed that much faster.
Regardless of a Location sharing or not sharing Headquarters settings values, you can still save the same message template to all the Locations in your account by choosing to Update All Locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have questions about this feature. We've prepared a separate Frequently Asked Questions article that you can review. If you still have further questions, please open a ticket with our Support team.