Blog Post

Automatic Text Reminders

for Appointment Based
Businesses

Many small businesses send emails to clients. But in many ways text messages (often called SMS messages) are better. They are less likely to get lost in cluttered inboxes and people often read them immediately as quick reminders - just as you intend.

Using a service like Groupsend to send text notifications to your clients has huge benefits. Not least better client engagement, improved repeat bookings, and less no-shows.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Some useful things to know

To help you have the best possible experience as a business owner, we are going to explain some of the issues you need to consider in order to get the most from text messaging. We hope by reading this post you’ll understand a little more about some of the common limitations.

Use paper forms?

When you take out a subscription with us, we will digitise your paper forms for free.
  • Send out a link to your clients on email (or post it on your website or Facebook)
  • Clients complete the online form on their computer, phone or iPad
  • You get a notification when forms are completed or changed.
  • Easier for clients who often complete forms immediately on receipt.

Clients can keep you up to date and amend forms in accordance with GDPR.

It takes around 2 minutes to tell us you need a form and we'll get on and set it up for you. Alternatively, read this blog to discover the other options available.

Using your own phone to text clients

Small business owners often send out reminders by hand using their own phones. This is often free (Text messaging is often included in your monthly phone rental bundle) and it’s simple to do if you get your head around cutting and pasting messages at speed.

Perhaps more importantly, clients often reply to texts so, if you use your own phone you’ll see the message and will be able to respond swiftly to any queries. Great for client engagement. Clients may also whizz you a quick request for an appointment in reply to reminder texts. Fantastic!

It can become a drag...

While personal texts are great to get you started, it takes more time as you grow and can soon become a grind. It's easy to get behind and forget to send text messages manually. This results in increased missed appointments and lower return bookings.

If you don’t have a separate business phone, your personal privacy will inevitably get compromised as your clients get used to having direct access to you at any time!

Using Groupsend

Online systems are getting better and better all the time, although some can be expensive and feel like a bit of a trap you can’t escape. Services like Groupsend are designed to give you just the bits you need at very low costs and can be a great stepping stone to a larger, more costly service in the future.

To use automatic text messaging, you will need to keep your appointment calendar on or linked to the service you subscribe to. If you use us you will need to add each appointment you book to Groupsend so we know what type of message to send and when. Perhaps the easiest solution is to use Groupsend as your main list of appointments meaning you won't need to duplicate the information elsewhere.

Estimating the costs of text messaging

Website services like ours get charged on a “per message” basis. We don’t get a free bundled service so it is common that a “price per message” fee is separate from any subscription charge. For example your monthly subscription might be £9.99 per month and on top of that you choose to prepay for 100 messages with an automatic top up.

A typical fee is around 6p per outbound message. Some services also charge for the return message from clients (Groupsend doesn’t).

To figure out a budget, we will assume you want to send out three messages per client booking:

  1. A booking-reminder for those who have not re-booked to get in contact and arrange an appointment with you.
  2. A booking confirmation at the point the booking is made.
  3. A reminder the day before the appointment, with some additional details about the booking — maybe Covid procedures or the cost of missing the appointment.

So budget around 18-20p per client booking (assuming each person gets three messages from you). If you have 50 clients a month, that will total around £9 for your monthly SMS messages. This should more than pay for itself by increasing the number of repeat bookings you get and reducing the no-shows.

You can reduce this cost by mixing SMS messages with email messages. Perhaps you could send the booking confirmation by email and the reminders by text. This will reduce your costs to around £6 per month plus your subscription fee.

Conclusion

Automatic messages will improve your income and help you grow

Moving from a do-it-yourself texting service to an automatic one will improve your business. You will need to keep your schedule on whatever service you decide to use and be aware of the additional costs of the messages. Importantly, avoid getting stuck with an expensive service you can’t easily switch away from.

We believe we are the best place for businesses to start when moving to automatic alerts, online forms, processes and reports. Groupsend will always provide your data back to you if you decide to move on.

Give our service a try for free. We’d be delighted to have you with us.