How to Reduce No-Shows by Texting

No-shows hurt your bottom line.

Exactly how much no-shows hurt your bottom line depends on your business and the industry in which it operates. In a study of regional hospitals, BioMed Central estimated that the average cost of no-show per patient is $196.

shutterstock_64859686-min

Some organizations charge for no-shows. Charging customers for a missed appointment helps offset the lost revenue, but penalizing customers may ultimately cause them to shop elsewhere.

Along with lost revenue, no-shows waste employee time. Commission-based employees feel this the most, when their client fails to show and they don’t hit quota, and the company still has to pay them hourly.

In our increasingly fast paced lives, we are socialized to expect appointment reminders on everything from teeth cleaning, to haircuts, to personal training. Texting is by far the most convenient method. To put it in perspective, text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate (Mobile Marketing Watch). That means a customer is far more likely to see a text and confirm their appointment.

Appointment reminders work.

Before adopting texting, Bay Area-based Stanford Park Nannies used to call their nannies one-by-one to confirm appointments. Sarah Kopf from Stanford Park said that talking on the phone is always her first choice, but texting is more efficient.

“We’re able to confirm or cancel and appointments much easier with texting,” Sarah said. “Our number of no-shows has gone down.”

Text message reminders have been shown to increase appointment attendance by nearly 50 percent. And according to a to Kaiser Permanente study, a clinic conducting an experimental text messaging pilot program experienced 1,873 fewer no-shows with a $150 savings per appointment, total cost savings of $275,000.

The medium is the message.

As consumers, we want reminders, and we want them at our convenience. A Harris poll found that the activities people would most prefer to do via text are: check order status (38%) schedule or change appointments (32%) and make or confirm reservations (31%).

A receptionist could spend hours per day making phone calls, leaving voicemails, and getting stuck in loops of phone tag, but texting eliminates that tedious experience – they can simply hit send and wait for a response.

Reservation-based fitness studios like OrangeTheory use a texting wait list to fill empty class spots. Because texting is fast, when one member cancels, they can quickly inform other members on the wait list that a spot has opened and fill that class, maximizing revenue.

Automate your appointment reminders.

While there is something to be said for individual, personalized messages, texting is the best way to send batches of reminders with minimal effort.

Here’s how to set up an automated reminder in the Zipwhip Web App using Scheduled Text:

  • Within the Zipwhip Web app, click the drop-down menu next to “New Text” and click “New Scheduled Text.”
  • Select a contact or group and then compose your message. Here’s a template you can use:

     

    Hi [name], We have you scheduled for [date]. If you cannot make this time please reply to this text. We look forward to seeing you!

     

  • Select a time and date for the message to be delivered.
  • Click Send.

Prevention is the best medicine, so it’s no secret that sending appointment reminders ahead of time can safeguard against no-shows. A text message reminder is statistically more likely to get a response, and saves time for staff (especially if automated).

 

4 thoughts

  1. I was told by zipwhip that I should never send a group scheduled text message, because sometimes one or more of the recipients would be dropped and they wouldn’t get the text. Did something change recently?

    1. It’s not a request, that’s the information I got from your company when I called for help. You’d just need to let me know if the information given to me was correct or not. I’d appreciate a quick follow up, as it’s been a month since I left the first message.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s