Isn’t it frustrating when a customer doesn’t turn up to their appointment? You’ve put in all the hard work attracting them with your marketing, you’ve booked them in, set aside your valuable time and then? Nothing! Of course there are a lot of reasons they might have missed their appointment but we can all admit to missing an appointment here and there through pure forgetfulness. We have busy lives, something comes up, you don’t check your calender properly in the morning or get caught chatting with a friend.
Many industries have to face this problem. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen the posters in Dentists and GP’s offices spelling out the cost of missed appointments. It’s not just the Healthcare industry that has this problem, any business that relies on appointments suffers when they are missed. Hair & Beauty, Recruitment, Legal, there’s really no industry that doesn’t make appointments! Missed appointments are to the detriment of everyone involved. As a business you waste your time and lose revenue, your customer doesn’t get the service or product they required and there’s a chance they won’t reschedule which means a double-loss.
So how to reduce missed appointments?
What we need to prevent as many people missing their appointments as possible is a way to message them. This message must be read close to the time of the appointment, you’ve got to make sure people can get it on the go. Not only receive it, you’ve got to be sure they’ll open it and look at it. Email might work for some customers, but there are plenty of people that only check their email once or twice a day.
Efficient and inexpensive, SMS is a great solution to reduce missed appointments, and it can be used for any business. Almost is no-one is without a mobile phone in 2015, a Text Message is the most reliable way to reach someone and be sure they read the message in a timely fashion.
- 97% of text messages are read within 5 seconds of being received
- As little as 2.4p per text message to secure an appointment
- Ability to attach text documents and pictures, such as instructions or site maps
The NHS has been quick on the uptake of Text Marketing to reduce missed appointments. At the worst point a couple of years ago 1 in 10 NHS appointments were being missed, recent figures put the cost of missed appointments at as much as £1bn. In response to this the NHS has rolled out Text reminders across many of it’s services and is seeing great success, applying for increased funding to the service year-on-year.
A gateway to increase customer satisfaction
From more than a purely financial perspective these Text reminders are a great example of good customer service. As I said earlier, missing an appointment hurts everyone and nowhere is this more true than in the Healthcare sector.
In addition to just preventing your customers from missing their appointments, Text Marketing is also an opportunity to make their lives easier. For example, recruitment agents can send candidates a reminder of their interview with a link to an attachment of a map alongside interview tips or a reminder of the job description. Garages, Property Agents, Financial Advisors and Building Societies can use these features to remind customers of the documentation they need to bring to appointments or other requirements that are regularly forgotten.
Once you’re using SMS messages to send reminders and acknowledgements you can stop there or explore further into the world of Text Marketing. Once you’ve built your opt-in list of customers, you can promote your business sending mobile vouchers or special offers, loyalty cards to reward your best customers, promoting special events.
For more insights on how text messaging can help your business, check out our 10 smart ideas on how to use mobile messaging.