Why SMS appointment reminders are preferred by 55% of customers

Patient no-shows suck...revenue. Here's how text messaging can help.
A phone showing an appointment reminder text indicating how text reminders are preferred by patients

Sometimes life gets in the way of having a life. Keeping up to date on schedules for work, school, oil changes, doctor visits, and haircuts can be difficult.

Throw in a family of four or more into the mix, and the tasks get downright impossible to manage. It can be a lot to keep up with—resulting in missed appointments and impacts on businesses’ bottom lines. That’s where telehealth software comes in.

Oops, I forgot

A 2023 patient communication preferences survey revealed that 41% of patients would switch providers, if their current provider didn’t offer text messaging.

While missed appointments might be a headache for a family of four, they equal lost revenue and productivity for businesses. Missed appointments affect nearly every industry and can drain both financial and employee resources. Many companies focus about 44% of their time and energy in attracting clients and business, compared to an 18% focus on existing customer retention. When clients don’t show up for appointments, businesses lose potential revenue and the resources invested in bringing those new clients in. No-shows are seriously burning into ROI. 

No one reads your emails

Most businesses have some form of appointment reminder, either in the form of email or phone calls. The average consumer receives over 100 business emails per day. Emailed appointment reminders are competing with recipes from The Food Network, summer sales from Target, and emails from teachers. With over 293 billion (yes, with a B) emails sent per day in 2019, those appointment reminders are bound to get lost or ignored. 

There is hope! Texting is the new king when it comes to appointment reminders. Not only are 97% of Americans texting every day, but a growing majority prefer it for customer service interactions. Texting is quicker and easier for response and appointment changes. While most emails have a response time of 90 minutes, text messages have a 98% open rate and an average response time of 90 seconds. By adding text reminders businesses can reduce the response time of their customers by 96%. Those stats aren’t convincing enough? Here are some more: 

Catch that last one? A majority of the emails businesses send aren’t being opened up.

Why deliverability matters

Sending text messages to engage with customers is only one piece of the puzzle in decreasing no-shows. In order for companies to realize ROI on their texting campaigns, they need to ensure those messages are getting to clients. Businesses pay for each text they send, regardless of whether the text was received or not. There are any number of reasons why appointment reminders aren’t delivered, from sending to numbers that can’t receive texts to unapproved language that’s flagged as spam, but each of them is the equivalent of flushing money down the drain. 

Recent CTIA guidelines around A2P route definitions, new clarifications on P2P traffic, and discontinuation of shared short-codes will have an impact on the deliverability of messages over the coming year. Business text messages, including important appointment reminders, that do not operate within these guidelines will not be delivered. Did you hear that flush? Having a trusted service provider that provides message deliverability insight is important, and that is where Bandwidth comes in.

Want more patient insights?

Download the latest patient communication preferences survey which details how 81% patients’ communication preferences have been reset since COVID.