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 banking to recruitment — message reminders can be easily leveraged as a cost and time saving exercise, for both business owners and end users.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about SMS message reminders, right from how they work to how various industries can leverage them to drive growth. Feel free to jump straight ahead to any of the following sections:
SMS or text message reminders are automated reminders that are sent to a client or a customer to remind them of an appointment, a payment, etc. 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.
SMS reminders offer a simple way to send personalised reminders to large groups of customers as and when necessary. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Identify the reminders you would like to send. This could be for upcoming appointments, sales, due payments, etc.
Step 2: Write the message for each reminder you would like to send and the corresponding date/time you want to send it in.
Step 3: Identify the customer group you would like to send reminders to.
Step 4: Schedule the reminders. You can do this directly on Exotel’s dashboard, by uploading your database as a spreadsheet. You can also trigger SMSes based on user action, such as requesting an OTP or placing an order, by integrating your enterprise systems with the Exotel platform using our APIs. Make sure you schedule the updates at least 48 hours in advance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the financial services industry, it is widely known that reminders improve collections. Most customers want to pay their dues on time but simply do not remember due dates. In such cases, a simple automated reminder will do the trick.
Whether it’s an overdue bill payment, upcoming instalment/EMI, insurance renewal, or even tax payments, SMS reminders can play a significant role in ensuring customers pay on time.
77% of people abandon their online shopping carts. This could be because of controllable reasons such as website issues or complex checkout processes; or customer-side issues like distractions, patchy connectivity etc. Either way, bringing them back to complete their shopping can dramatically improve sales.
Automated SMS reminders can help with that. A personalised message reminding the customer of their abandoned cart can encourage them to return and complete the purchase. A message like “the items in your cart are going out of stock” can also add a sense of urgency.
You might have planned and organised a large sale. But, if the customer doesn’t remember when it’s on, it could hardly be successful. SMS reminders are the simplest way to stay on your customers’ minds.
Sending periodic reminders before the day of the sale will ensure they remember the upcoming event. A “sale is now on” reminder on the day of the sale would ensure they are informed on time, increasing your website traffic. Based on the data you have about the user, you can also personalise the message to give them information about the categories they are interested in.
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:
Banks can help their customers reduce penalties and maximise financial returns with SMS reminders. Reminders about upcoming credit card payments, loan EMIs etc., can ensure customers pay their dues on time. Reminders about maturing fixed deposits, mutual fund investments etc., can improve saving habits.
“Dear John, your FD no. 84746 is maturing in 3 days. The maturity amount will be credited to your SB account. To change maturity instructions, SMS FD to 37465.”
It is in the best interest of both the customer and the insurance provider that the former pays their premiums on time. Customers run the risk of losing out on insurance benefits if their premiums aren’t paid. Insurance providers can prevent this by sending periodic reminders to customers.
Reminders about premium dues and policy renewals will help customers stay insured. You can also set up periodic reminders with insurance agents for any upgrades or additional coverage they might need.
“Dear Sania, insurance for your car no TN01 AB2345 is expiring on 10/08/2021. To renew, call our toll-free number at 90000 12345.”
FinTech firms make financial inclusion possible for a wide range of audiences. However, customers who are new to fintech products might not always remember how to use its features. SMS reminders can help train them to make the most of their fintech services.
SMS reminders about payments due, upgrade opportunities, upcoming offers/sales etc., can help shape customer behaviour.
“Hi Razia, you’ve 25,000 unused points on your HDFC credit card. Redeem now to earn up to Rs. 5,000 in cash rewards. Click here to redeem points: bit.ly/redeem.”
Given the myriad options available in e-commerce, it is essential for businesses to maintain a personal and contextual relationship with their customers. SMS reminders can be an important way of enabling that.
SMS reminders for upcoming sales, abandoned carts, changes in pricing etc., can bring customers back to the platform. In addition, periodic reminders requesting feedback can make them feel more heard and involved in the shopping journey.
“Hi Joe! There are items on your shopping cart that are on discount. Checkout now to save upto 50% on your products!”
Since the pandemic, much of the shopping has moved online. From large furniture to everyday groceries, more and more customers are buying products on e-commerce platforms. To make them feel comfortable in their purchase and build credibility, it is important for businesses to present real-time status updates. SMS reminders can help with that.
Text messages can be used to remind customers of their upcoming deliveries or return pickups to ensure they will be present to receive/return their items. If they have chosen cash on delivery (COD), the reminder can also include the amount they need to keep ready.
“Hey Meera, your package is out for delivery today. You’ve chosen cash on delivery. So, please keep Rs. 560 ready to hand to our delivery partner.”
With physical classes shifting to virtual classes due to the pandemic, it is more important than ever for the education sector to keep the parents and students constantly updated. Edtech businesses can use SMS reminders to remind parents about upcoming homework, tests, school programmes, parent-teacher meetings etc.
“Dear parent, your online parent-teacher is scheduled for 4pm today with Naren’s class teacher. Click here to join: bit.ly/ptm.”
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.
12. Travel agencies
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.
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.
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.
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.