Appointment confirmations and reminders are the most effective way of stopping no-shows at your practice.
They’re easy to send, simple to set up, and super effective at kerbing the financial losses that no-shows bring.
15.2% of practice appointments are typically missed, with a recent study finding that 37.6% of those no-shows missed their appointment because they forgot to show up or didn’t know how to reschedule or cancel:
What this means is that you can avoid a whole chunk of your no-shows with a simple email or SMS confirmation and reminder letting your client know how to reschedule or cancel in advance.
They aren’t just great at cutting down on missed appointments:
Clients have become accustomed to receiving near-instant confirmations when making a booking.
Just think back to the last time you booked an appointment online.
If you didn’t receive a confirmation email immediately, you would probably be quite worried!
So what do you need to do?
First off, you should be sending a confirmation as soon as the client makes a booking.
Second, you need to set up a template that confirms the details of the appointment they booked and what their next steps are, so that it’s efficient for you and it doesn’t get missed.
To make sure you hit the mark, you can set up booking confirmation email and SMS templates to send out automatically through your practice management software when your client books an appointment with you.
What is a confirmation booking email?
It’s all in the name – it’s an email that confirms an appointment booking was made successfully. Simple enough.
But there’s a bit more to it than that.
Anyone can send a confirmation email, but it takes a bit of skill and creativity to craft a quality message.
Confirmation emails have one of the highest open and click-through rates of any email types, so make use of this:
Tell the client what to bring, how to get there, and include all of your client intake forms for them to fill in before they arrive.
Even if the client has never stepped foot inside your practice, confirmation emails are a great way to start building a great relationship with them.
Why is an appointment confirmation email important?
You’ll reduce no-shows.
An appointment confirmation email encourages your client to put the appointment information into their calendar so they don’t forget to attend.
You can also follow these up with a reminder email or SMS a day before the appointment, and in this you can include information on how they can cancel the appointment or reschedule.
If you can prevent no-shows even a couple of times a month, it will add up to a significant saving.
Your practice will run more efficiently.
Because confirmation emails have such high open and response rates, you are likely to receive all the paperwork before the client arrives, they’ll bring everything they need with them, plus they’ll know exactly how to find you.
This all saves you and your team a lot of time on the day of the appointment.
Example patient booking confirmation templates
Your booking confirmation email should:
- Include the booking details – time, date, and address
- Provide an overview of the appointment itself and details of any fees the client still needs to pay
- Provide directions, specific requirements, and online assessment forms
- Link to your cancellation policy
- Include practice contact information so the client can cancel or reschedule easily
You should stay on brand and include your logo, but don’t get so caught up in the creativity that the message loses its intent. It’s not a marketing email; you’re just trying to confirm an appointment with the client.
Provide exactly what the recipient is expecting: confirmation details for their appointment and relevant information. Nothing more, nothing less.
Your template will look something like this:
You can also set up text message (SMS) booking confirmation templates to be sent automatically from your clinic management software when your client books an appointment.
These will obviously be shorter, and will just include the absolute essential information that your client will need:
What booking reminder templates do you need?
Don’t stop at sending out confirmation emails.
That would be like making a donut without adding the jam – it’s OK, but you can do so much better!
If you really want to make a difference to your no-show rate, you need to follow up your confirmations with a reminder, and the optimal time to send this is 24 hours before the appointment by SMS.
Businesses have long relied on email to reach their audience, but SMS is now becoming a popular way to connect with clients.
They are perfect for short, timely messages, like a reminder about an upcoming appointment.
And as everyone always has their phone on them, it is unlikely to be missed.
You could send reminders manually by texting them a day before, but who has time for that?
Automated appointment reminders are much more efficient, and you can set these up to trigger from your private practice software.
Reminder SMS template:
If you have extra information you want to send, then set up an automated email reminder template to trigger 24 hours before the appointment as well.
Emails are free to send, and are always worth it as a backup, or if someone doesn’t own a mobile phone.
Reminder email template:
The all important takeaways
There are four really important things to remember when setting up your email and SMS confirmation and reminder templates:
- Create an obvious subject line. Make your subject really transparent. For example, try “Podiatry Appointment Confirmation” or “Confirmation for Your Upcoming Physio Appointment.” Your recipient will have no problem guessing what this email is about, and they’ll also be able to easily search for the email if they’re struggling to find it later.
- Make it clear who the email is coming from. The sender is the most important element of an email that impacts whether a recipient will open an email or not.
- Provide contact information. Make it easy for your recipients to reach out to you if there’s a problem with their appointment or if they need to reschedule.
- Automate your confirmations and reminders. It saves you so much time, and it will mean they are never missed (even if you are taking a much deserved day off!)
If you’d like to use WriteUpp to set up your appointment confirmation and reminder templates so that your clients never no-show again, join us for a free 30 day trial.