With the constant notifications and noise in the world today, it is easy to get distracted. It doesn’t matter if you are a patient, a staff member, or a provider. Everyone has a lot on their minds and plates. That’s why it is even more critical to ensure that your aesthetic practice is utilizing automated appointment reminders properly. Automated reminders can reduce no-shows by up to 80%; however, they can very easily create redundancies and confusion within your practice if you aren’t optimizing how they are used.
To help you maximize ROI (Return on Investment), we have taken the trends and best practices that work for our 4,400+ Symplast users and created a very simple list of the 3 biggest mistakes to avoid with your automated appointment reminders.
1. SENDING REMINDERS 24 HOURS BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT
This is by far the biggest mistake that private practices, not just plastic surgery practices and med spas, tend to commit. 50%-60% of aesthetic practices that Symplast comes across were sending their automated reminders out the day before an appointment. This can easily backfire by confusing and/or annoying patients. (Sometimes this is not a choice; the vendor or software the practice used did not allow them to control when the reminders go out.)
The whole premise of automated appointment reminders is to offload the manual tasks from your staff, so they can focus on more ROI-intensive duties. Automated reminders can NOT do this if they are not being sent out until the day before an appointment. At that point, the window for efficiency has already passed.
Automated reminders can only add true value and automation if they get sent out no later than 48 hours prior to an appointment. This way, your patients have an entire day to receive and reply to the reminder before it gets to the critical 24 hours prior where the staff needs to manually follow up with any patients who have still not confirmed.
So, although Symplast users can configure their SMS text and email automated reminders to be sent out 24, 48, or 72 hours prior to an appointment, we highly recommend they do not use the 24-hour option.
2. SENDING TEXT AND EMAIL REMINDERS AT THE SAME TIME
This is another wasted opportunity. As a rule of thumb, you want to give each reminder medium/channel one full day of possible exposure before you send out another reminder. Since email is easier for people to miss (intentionally or unintentionally), and because it does not alert a patient immediately the way a new SMS text message would, email should always be staggered as the ‘first wave of attack’ on appointment confirmations and reducing no shows.
SMS text reminders should then follow the email blasts the next day. By staggering the touch points, you escalate the immediacy and urgency of the communication as the appointment event draws closer.
Symplast users are trained to configure their automated appointment reminders as follows:
72 hours prior – email automated reminder
48 hours prior – SMS text automated reminder
24 hours prior – manually follow up with the patient
3. USING REMINDERS THAT DON’T UPDATE THE APPOINTMENT STATUS
It is very common for plastic surgery practices and med spas to rely on a third-party vendor or solution that does not ‘speak’, or integrate, with their practice management/EHR software. The result is, you guessed it, a higher likelihood for your staff to suffer from a never-ending cycle of redundant tasks and uncertainty. This not only detracts your practice from optimal productivity; it damages your reputation and can lead to very costly miscommunications.
It’s never too late to look into a better solution that allows the appointment reminder to automatically change the appointment event in the practice’s schedule to be marked as “Confirmed”. Fortunately, Symplast is a complete, end-to-end cloud platform that includes not only the EHR, Practice Management, POS/Inventory, Patient Engagement, etc., but it also includes automated appointment reminders by both SMS text and email – at no additional cost. These notifications can be configured up to 3 days prior to scheduled appointments, can be staggered, and can automatically update the appointment event to “Confirmed” in the practice’s scheduler.
Start decreasing your no-shows and increasing your revenue!! Schedule a free pre-demonstration with one of our team members to learn more about Symplast NOW!