In India, a simple SMS reminder blast is all it takes to improve vaccination coverage and even decrease rates of preventable childhood infections. This study by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Indian nonprofit child health organization Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS) proves the power of SMS reminders — when used right.
It’s easy to forget the little things you scheduled through the week in your planner, unless you set reminders for them. From healthcare to recruiters — message reminders can be easily leveraged as a cost and time saving exercise, for both the business owner and the end user.
What are SMS reminders?
SMS reminders are reminder messages sent to a client or customer using SMS as the communication channel. They are used by businesses to ensure that their customers don’t forget their existing appointments or ones that they need to schedule in the near future. This also ensures that there are lesser number of missed slots — allowing the business to carry on its functions without being affected by loss of appointments.
For instance, a dental clinic: since all appointments are made by patients at least a week in advance, one of them missing it results in the slot going vacant. The dentist cannot ask another patient to that particular slot as it might be inconvenient for them. This results in losing some business for the day, or worse, reflecting poorly on the brand’s identity.
A fairly common challenge, it can be easily resolved using an automated reminder message system. A business can quickly send a reminder message to its customers about an upcoming appointment or scheduled events or even personalized messages based on prior interactions.
Types of message reminders
1. Upcoming Appointment Reminders
It is a busy world we live in— unless everything is on the planner, there’s a high chance that we will remember the next appointment. The appointment would have been booked a week or fortnight before, as per the convenience of the customer. A reminder message ensures that customers don’t forget what is important for them, creates brand loyalty, and at the same time, ensures that you don’t lose your time and money.
2. Event Reminders
A reminder SMS can be sent to promote upcoming events at your business. This could be a customer event that you’re hosting or simply the launch of new products or services that are useful to the customer. A quick message reminds them of the same, and creates the impression that you truly care about their changing needs.
3.Recurring Appointment Reminders
Just like a monthly subscription, you can actually set recurring appointments with your customers. Using appointment reminders, you can be rest assured that their appointments are less likely to be missed. The lesser they miss your appointments, the greater their loyalty towards your brand.
Did a customer just have a session with your business? Don’t just ask them to schedule their next appointment on their way out. Follow it up with SMS reminders to do the same. Thanks to widespread text messaging usage, your customers will thank you for giving them an easier way out.
5. Follow-up Reminders
You can also use SMS reminders to follow up with your customers after an appointment and ask for their feedback too. Doing so within 24 hours of their visit will ensure that you get first hand reviews from the customer to make your business better.
Advantages of text message reminders
The advantages of using a reminder system varies for every business, according to their respective industry. But there are some common advantages of sending text reminders to customers.
Every missed appointment is lost revenue. To plan your time and allocate resources better, ensure that your pipeline is full and moving along the defined user journey in a timely manner by leveraging a reminder system to communicate with your customers. Once the text reminder is sent out, you automatically see lesser people missing the event/ appointment.
By sending SMS reminders to your customers for payments, you reduce the number of bad debts with your business. This helps customers remind them about their dues, and even saves them the extra charges that they might incur from delays.
For instance, insurance companies send automated reminder messages about premium payments that a customer needs to make. A simple 160-character reminder via SMS ensures savings for both the customer and the company, while also building greater brand loyalty.
3.Better customer experience
Reminder message not only ensure sales for the business but also create greater customer experience. By making sure that the customer needs are met on time, and being available on the mobile phone, reminder message act as the much-needed bridge for communication between the business and the customer.
For instance, regular check-up reminders help doctors stay in touch with their patients. This ensures the right treatment on an ongoing basis, helping them stay in the best of their health.
Message reminders can be used to let customers track their order or status of any application. Since text messages are cheaper than emails and outbound calls, they help businesses save costs. For instance, logistics services can use a reminder message to convey the status of a shipment.
Why should businesses use SMS reminders?
The growth of mobile phone usage has resulted in enabling businesses to stay in touch with their customers. A recent study has proven that the first thing that people do after waking up is check their phone.
But with the growth of mobile, the one channel that is surpassing even Facebook in being the most frequently used data service, is a text message. Nearly 100% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes of being received, while almost two thirds of emails are never even opened!
Yes, texting is actually 10x more efficient than even reaching your customers via phone calls.
That is why SMS reminders are being increasingly used by businesses to stay in touch with their existing customers to ensure brand loyalty.
How can you use it?
Text messages can actually serve as great addition to your marketing and sales campaigns. Apart from appointment scheduling and reminders, you can use them as a channel to continuously nurture your customers. Here are a few ways different industries use SMS reminder system:
It is very important for the healthcare industry to stay in touch with the patients. This is done to ensure their well being and offer timely treatments that improve patient care. A text message can be used to simply remind the patients to schedule their next appointment or apprise them of an upcoming one, or even alert them about self-examination.
The only way an automotive brand can ensure a great driving experience for their customers is through timely service of their vehicles. From oil changes to tyre rotation, businesses can use SMS reminders to reduce missed appointments that need to be scheduled on a recurring basis. Or even use it as a medium to let customers know when their vehicle is ready after the service.
Establishing a relationship between parents and teachers is very important for a student’s growth. To ensure high attendance rates during meetings and events, the educational institutions can use reminder message that let everyone plan their days in advance. They also let you communicate any last minute changes — be it declaring a holiday or rescheduling examinations.
Cut down on no-shows for your salon by sending customers message reminders for their scheduled appointments, or to even alert them about discounts. You can also send them SMS about the latest trends that they might be interested in.
Hotels can use a reminder message to send booking confirmation text to guests. This lets them allocate rooms based on confirmation and also as a method to hold reservations.
It is practically impossible for travel agents to follow up customers through phone calls to remind them of their upcoming travel or the documents they might need for the same. Setting up an automated reminder message will ensure that the customer is prepared for the travel and has everything in place before the scheduled departure.
Airlines can use text message reminders to let their customers know of check-in times, flight delays, flight cancellations, and more. This helps their customers plan their travel better and ensures a great experience in any given scenario.