SMS reminders and notifications
Since we launched Timely in July we've been fine-tuning the way SMS/email notifications and reminders work. It's a complicated beast, but we think we've just about got it right.
Here’s the definitive guide on all things notification and reminder related. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment. We love hearing your feedback!
Most businesses will want to send an SMS or email reminder to customers before their appointment starts. This greatly helps to reduce no-shows and as Blair from The Chiropractors points out, it can actually earn you money because you’re not losing revenue from missed appointments.
To turn on reminders go to Settings > General Settings > Notification and reminder settings
Under the section “When an appointment is about to happen” choose how many hours before the appointment you would like an SMS or email reminder sent. You can configure this separately for both SMS and email. If you don’t want to send any reminders just choose “Never”.
Things to remember:
- SMS reminders are not sent between 9.15pm and 8.30am in your local time – we wouldn’t the customer to receive an SMS reminder in the middle of the night! Any SMS reminders generated during this time are delayed until 8.30am the following morning (however emails are sent 24/7).
- We won’t send a reminder when you place an appointment within the reminder window – e.g. if your reminder time is 48 hours, and you place an appointment for tomorrow, the system won’t send a reminder.
You can also turn on SMS and email notifications so that the customer is informed whenever any of the following happens:
- A confirmed appointment is added to the calendar
- The date or time of an appointment is changed
- The appointment is cancelled
To turn on customer notifications go to Settings > General Settings > Notification and reminder settings
Under the section “When an appointment is confirmed, amended or cancelled” choose whether you would like to send an SMS or email notification for appointment changes.
Things to remember:
- When an appointment is placed on the calendar, or is amended, there is a 10 minute delay before the SMS/email notification is sent. This is by design – as further changes made to the appointment within the 10 minute window will not trigger additional notifications
- For appointment changes we only send an SMS or email notification when the date or time of an appointment is modified. We don’t send a notification for any other changes – e.g. service, staff, price, duration, etc.
- As per reminders, we don’t send SMS notifications between 9.15pm and 8.30am local time
If you want to inform your staff of appointments in the same way customers are notified, you can configure this by going to Settings > General Settings > Notification and reminder settings and then choosing the Staff tab.
Things to remember:
- The same rules for customer notifications apply to staff notifications
- In order for staff to receive notifications you’ll need to ensure that an email address and/or SMS number has been entered for them. You can check this by going to Settings > Staff and clicking Details on each staff member
Online booking notifications
If you’re taking online bookings from your website, you might want to be notified whenever someone places an appointment. Not a problem – simply head to Settings > General Settings > Notification and reminder settings and then choose the Online bookings tab. Enter the email address and/or SMS number that you would like your notification sent to.
This works for both instant bookings and on-request bookings (i.e. where you accept or deny each appointment).
Frequently asked questions
What does it cost to send SMS text messages?
For details of SMS pricing is on our website. You can check your SMS credit balance or buy SMS credit’s by going to Account > Plan
What happens if I don’t have enough SMS credits or I run out?
We keep your SMS messages on a queue for 48 hours. As long as you top-up during the 48 hours the SMS messages will still be sent (providing the appointment date hasn’t passed)
Can I send SMS messages to a different country?
No – you can only send SMS messages to customers in your own country
Can I customise the content of the SMS and email messages?
Full customisation is not currently available but this is something we are looking to add in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can add a block of text to your emails by going to Settings > Content > Emails