In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of appointment reminders in helping reduce your no-show rate. Sending the reminders through multiple channels and including all of the details help ensure that your patients are getting the reminder with all of the right information. But once you have that down, there are a few other things to think about that can help take your appointment reminders to the next level.
Timing is Key
Different patients will need reminders at different times for their appointments. Some like to get lots of reminders at different intervals, and some like to just get one. It’s important to give your patients the option of how often they receive them, otherwise your reminders might backfire. If a patient feels like they are constantly being notified of their appointment, they might get annoyed or frustrated and stop paying attention to the messages you send them. On the other hand, some patients need to be reminded quite a few times so they don’t forget about their appointment. It can be a tricky thing to balance, but giving your patients the option of being reminded two weeks before the appointment, one week before the appointment, the morning of, and one hour before the appointment time usually covers all of your bases. And letting your patients choose any or all of those options helps them respond better when they receive the reminder.
Just like your patients will stop paying attention to your reminder messages if they get them too often, if they feel like the messages aren’t relevant to them, they will also start to ignore them. With the help of patient relationship management (PRM) software, it’s not hard to personalize every message you send. In email and text messages it’s easy to address your patient by name, and give them the specific details of their appointment. With a phone call reminder (yes, some of your patients will still choose to get an actual phone call from your practice) you can pre-record a message for your patients, letting them know the purpose of the call. You should also choose PRM software that uses a realistic-sounding voice to relay the information, instead of a robotic voice with irregular fluctuations in tone.
This may sound contradictory, considering the last point was all about personalization. But you can have it both ways. Automated messages can still have all the personalized details mentioned above, but PRM software just means that you don’t have to manually send each message. Email, text messages, and phone calls can all be automated through your PRM software. And the best part about automation is that every patient will get a reminder about every appointment. No matter how busy your practice staff is, nobody will get overlooked or missed. PRM software is also designed to accommodate your patients’ preferences for the timing of reminders too. So you can set up each patient’s preferences, and the PRM platform will take care of the rest.
To learn more about making your appointment reminders effective, download our white paper here.