We’ve all received them from various businesses… text messages asking us to confirm that we are still able to make our appointment.
Of course, nearly all of these systems are automated. And that’s exactly why we don’t use them.
The Problem with Automation
Now if you’re at all familiar with the way we typically go about things, it may surprise you to hear that we despise something that’s automated. After all, we use hundreds of automations as a part of day to day operations.
But here’s why automated appointment reminders are something we intentionally shy away from…
The first problem with automated appointment reminders is that they sound, well, automated. Because of the regulations around SMS/MMS messaging, companies are required to include copy that allows patients to opt out of messaging.
“To opt out text STOP” said no human, ever.
Of course, since there isn’t an actual human behind the communication, responding is often impossible—which is absurd.
This leaves the patient intentionally roadblocked, and they have to jump through hoops to speak with someone. Talk about horrendous customer service.
Even in the event of a confirmed appointment, patients often still have a couple of questions they need answers to. Once again, they can’t simply respond to get the help they need.
How We Do It
As of part of their opening checklists, every morning our wonderful Front of House team sends out a two-way text message to patients who have appointments in three business days.
In the event that a patient confirms, they are marked as such in our EMR software (currently NexTech). If they haven’t responded within a couple hours, we begin calling until a confirmation is nailed down.
All the while, a patient is able to respond to the same number at any point and get queued up for a response from our team.
Does this process take more time and effort than automating? Yes. Does it create a world-class patient care experience? Absolutely. And that’s what matters most.