Most of us enjoy getting reminders. Whether it’s a telephone call from our hair stylist the day before our appointment, an e-mail detailing next week’s spa visit, or a postcard in the mail a few weeks before our bi-annual dental cleaning, this simple action helps us better plan our days and ensures that we make all of the necessary and important commitments in our busy lives. Many of us would have a hard time functioning if not for the appointment reminder set in Outlook or the alert we received from our mobile phone or device.
And it’s not just individuals who benefit from well-timed reminders. Service-based businesses that incorporate appointment and reservation reminders into their overall operations can expect better managed services, more satisfied customers and clientele, and, in many cases, an increase in sales and revenue.
REDUCING ‘NO-SHOWS’ MEANS MORE SALES
“No-shows” are the bane of service-based businesses, the inconsiderate twin of your loyal customers who creates havoc for both your business and clientele. By not showing up for their scheduled appointment or reservation, they not only waste a time slot that another customer could have used, but also negate any revenue from services conducted during that time. “No-shows” can throw a wrench into the entire appointment-scheduling and reservation-booking process, which these service providers depend upon and what many of their customers expect for smoothly-run operations.
Although there’s probably no fail-proof system to completely eliminate “no-shows”, appointment and reservation reminders of any kind can have a significant, positive effect. Many “no-shows” are not the deliberate act of an individual seeking to create mayhem at your business. We all lead very busy lives, and sometimes we simply forget that we have a scheduled appointment or reservation. We’ve all done it, yet we would probably do it less if we received a reminder. Research conducted by appointment-scheduling software provider Appointment-Plus shows that reminders can reduce the number of “no-shows” by over 50 percent. That’s a pretty convincing figure, and could mean the difference between a full appointment calendar where almost every customer makes their scheduled time and staff standing around because someone forgot they had an appointment scheduled.
REMINDERS EASIER TO MANAGE THANKS TO TECHNOLOGY
It would seem a foregone conclusion that all service-oriented businesses would send some sort of reminder to their customers prior to their scheduled days and times. But many of these groups have abandoned reminders for a variety of reasons. And you can’t blame them. Traditional methods of scheduling and sending appointment and reservation reminders are not only time-consuming, they can also create a significant expense to the business owner.
For example, a receptionist or support staff member could spend hours each week or month making reminder phone calls, time that could be used more productively. And envision the expenses a business incurs by sending “snail-mail” reminder postcards. There’s the time and cost to design it and print it, as well as the postage to mail it.
And on top of all of this, there’s the manual component of managing these appointments and reservations and ensuring that phone calls are made and post cards sent as scheduled.
Yes, appointment reminders can be somewhat of a burden when done in this fashion. But technology has made it easier for businesses to schedule and send these. Most individuals now prefer to receive communications such as appointment reminders electronically to their mobile devices or e-mail account. This makes the task easier for business owners and staff, as they can utilize various applications to schedule and send these reminders. A perfect example is online appointment-scheduling applications, many of which can automate the entire scheduling and reminder process. Once a customer schedules an appointment or books a reservation, the system will automatically schedule an e-mail or text message reminder prior to that individual’s appointment. In essence, this technology lets business owners kill two birds with one stone.
Appointment reminders do work. And they can go a long way in keeping your time slots filled.