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Text Reminders: How Much do they Reduce Missed Appointments?

Booking an appointment on a laptop computer

Sending automated text reminders prior to an upcoming appointment is a great way to ensure your clients show up for their appointments and not miss or forget them.

Given the direct and associated costs with any missed appointment, it seems like using reminders should be a “no brainer.”

But what sort of results can you expect, really? How much of an impact can our reminder services have, and to what extent will it reduce your rate of “no shows”?

The good news is that we have some pretty solid numbers in this regard, coming from very respected resources; peer-reviewed clinical trials.

That’s right, science says text reminders work.

Clinical Studies & Text Reminders

In the medical sector, missed appointments are such a huge waste of money (costing an estimated 150 billion in the U.S. annually), that various governments dealing with rising healthcare costs and an ageing demographic have funded numerous clinical studies to determine…

  • The financial feasibility of using reminders in a clinical setting.
  • The effects of such reminders on “no show” rates.

All the studies I reviewed were clear in their findings: text messages helped reduce “did not attend” and “failed to attend” rates. Some study results were quite dramatic, some were less so, but all were clear… they work for pretty much any type of appointment.

For example, a study published in the Australian Health Review found that text reminders reduced “failure to attends” by almost 50% and concluded…

“The cost of sending the SMS reminders was small compared with the increase in patient revenue and associated benefits generated as a result of improved attendance.”

This study found that using text reminders reduced the DNA (did not attend) rate in a general ophthalmology clinic from 12% to 5.5% (over 50% reduction!).

And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to supporting clinical studies…

  • Here’s one conducted in China, using SMS reminders to boost attendance to follow up appointments for pediatric cataract treatment.
  • Here’s another that tracked non-attendance in physical therapy clinics.
  • Here’s one that tracked attendance to medical clinics in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

And there are others for review over at the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Bottom line?

If people have to show up at your business in order for you to get paid, using text reminders will ensure a greater percentage of them do.

Can You Afford Not to Use Them?

The question at this point isn’t, “do text notifications work?”, but “can you afford not to use them?”

Consider some simple math. Let’s say for argument’s sake…

  • A missed appointment costs you $100 in direct and associated costs.
  • You have 20 missed appointments per month.

That’s $2,000 in lost revenue.

Now let’s also say that using a reminder service cuts that number in half (this is a conservative estimate, it may be more).

Now you’re down to 10 missed appointments and $1,000 in lost revenue. And at what cost?

A standard subscription to our CONNECTsms service costs $39.99 and allows you to send up to 500 reminders per month.

That’s $960 return on your $40 investment. Not bad!

Let’s try this again, except we’ll use smaller numbers…

  • A missed appointment costs you $50 in direct and associated costs.
  • You have 10 missed appointments per month.

That’s $500 in lost revenue. If you eliminate half of those “did not attend” clients, you’ve got an extra $210 in your jeans at the end of the month after your $40 investment (over 500% return on investment!).

Now $210 may not sound like a lot, but multiply it by 12 and it starts to become a number of some significance; $2520. That’s the difference between taking a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny in the winter months or staying home.

Our Text Reminder Solutions

We offer a powerful text reminder solution for our clients (either of which qualified businesses can try for free—no credit card required—before committing to anything).

  • CONNECTsms: Deceptively simple, affordable and extremely powerful, this standalone service includes a desktop texting app so you manage client responses via text as well, should you so desire. Learn more here.

Got questions about our service?

Send us an email or call 877-403-2402.