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  • Why You Should Really Pay Attention to Your Appointment Reminders

    Scheduled massage

    Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em

    Appointment reminders. They can be annoying or they can be a godsend. Which one it is for you depends on whether you’re the provider or the client. It probably also depends on your mood, how busy you are, and if you’re required to respond.

    I’m going to be honest, service providers don’t like making appointment reminders; they’re time consuming and we know that most people don’t really pay much attention to them. We know this because they tell us they don’t look at or listen to them. We also know from experience that we have a much lower incidence of no-shows if we make reminder calls (or send reminder emails or texts) so we put on our grownup pants and just do it. If,  however, we have an online scheduler (or receptionist) that sends our reminders for us, we don’t mind making them so much.

    Most clients don’t get excited about receiving appointment reminders. Some even opt out of receiving them altogether. They’re inundated with so many emails, texts, and phone calls that they don’t want even one more, no matter how important it might be. I get that. Really, I do. My own internal response to a reminder voicemail is often an impatient “yeah, yeah, yeah… I know. I’ve got it.”

    As if 1 reminder isn’t bad enough, some places send 2. Some reminders even require that you respond to confirm the appointment. The salon where I get my hair cut sends a text reminder 4 days before the appointment with directions on how to confirm; if I don’t confirm within 24 hours, they call me. I guarantee that I only waited longer than 24 hours to confirm a hair appointment one time. My dentist sends a postcard a week prior and then calls 2 days before. When I’m in hyper busy mode, it drives me crazy.

    But here’s the deal: I know how important those reminders are, so I don’t give them any grief about it. I even check the date and time on my reminder against my calendar, no matter how busy I am… No matter how sure I am that I KNOW the date and time that’s on my calendar. Because of that checking, I’ve been saved by more than one of those annoying reminders when I either didn’t have an appointment in my calendar or had it at a different time.

    It could happen to you

    It doesn’t matter if you’re the most careful and organized person in the world; you should still check your appointment reminders. There are many things that can go wrong when scheduling an appointment, and the appointment reminder is your last chance to catch a problem before it’s too late.

    Here are just a few of the most common problems that you can find by checking your reminders:

    • You recorded the appointment at the wrong date or time
    • The provider scheduled the appointment for the wrong date or time
    • The provider noted a different date or time on the reminder than they put on your appointment card.
    • You didn’t have the appointment on your calendar at all
    • Your work schedule changed and you can no longer make the appointment
    • Some urgent personal business came up and you can no longer make your appointment (perhaps your sister just had emergency surgery and you’re out of state sitting at her bedside)
    • You have an appointment on your calendar, but didn’t get a reminder.

    Every last one of us is human, which means we all make mistakes. Sometimes the provider screws up, sometimes the client screws up, and sometimes technology malfunctions. It really doesn’t matter who is at fault. Reminders are about catching and fixing any scheduling mistakes that may have occurred.

    By letting us know ASAP about any discrepancies between  your calendar and the date/time in your reminder, you can save the day not just for us but for you as well. The more notice we have, the better chance there is that any scheduling conflicts can be be resolved in your favor.

    Even more importantly, if your provider sends a reminder you become responsible for the accuracy of that information. If you don’t check it and the appointment time or date doesn’t match what’s in your calendar, you might be charged a no-show fee if your provider charges one. Some providers will waive their fee the first time but remind you that if you miss another appointment because you didn’t check your reminder that you’ll be charged the full fee.

    So please, for everyone’s sake, take the 30 seconds or so that’s needed and verify that the time and date on the reminder are correct. Thank you.