Missed appointments are a common business problem. They are also a costly one. Not only have you spent money to acquire the customer for that appointment, but the slot itself has value that is eating out of your profit margins without another customer to fill the appointment. But despite missed appointments being prevalent in every industry, there is a solution. And it’s never been simpler to implement it.
Reduce missed appointments with ARN
A lot of businesses make the mistake of stopping their customer buying journey at the point of purchase. Or in this case, booking. This is a mistake. Just because you have got the customer past the line, in the bag, through the funnel (whichever marketing metaphor you prefer), that doesn’t mean your sales and marketing job is over. In order to retain customers and get them to those crucial appointments, you need to maintain a messaging experience that alerts, reminds and notifies. These types of messages are known as ARN.
Examples of ARN preventing missed appointments
Whether it is a sales appointment to test drive a new car or even just getting patients in to see their doctors or dentists – alerts, reminders and notifications (ARN) can help slash missed appointments.
- After the point of booking or purchase, you should immediately send the customer a confirmation message. Utilising omnichannel to offer the customer the choice to receive this message on their preferred channel increases the likelihood of them reading the message. And of course, increasing the read rate will inevitably increase the attendance rate too.
- It’s also a good idea to remind the customer of the value of the appointment to them in this message.
- If the appointment is some time away, you’ll also need to send a message to remind the customer nearer to the time. Timing here is everything. Send a message too early and you risk them forgetting still. Send it too late, and they may have forgotten and already made other plans. You might need to trial and error your messaging strategy to find your Goldilocks point.
- Should anything about the appointment change (location, the representative or even the timing in some instances) you should alert the customer as soon as possible.
- For all of these messages, it’s best practice to adopt a 2-way solution. This enables customers to reply to your ARN messages. This way, if they need to cancel or amend a booking, they can do so. Freeing up your slot for other customers in advance. They can also ask questions with your agents, and perhaps even be upsold to.
You can see real-life examples of how we helped the NHS Blood and Transplant team reduce their missed appointments by an amazing 25%, or how our collaboration with Difference Corp helped their clients in the energy sector reduce missed appointments by 38%, when their goal was to achieve just 5%.
Fill missed appointments without friction
You may feel that making it easier for your customers to change or cancel a booking is a negative. But if your customers can’t or don’t want to show up, they won’t show up. Wouldn’t you rather know in advance? And of course, there may be customers who have simply forgotten, because your business dropped the ball and after sending the confirmation email (which statistically probably ended up unread).
The main advantage of letting your customers change or cancel their appointments is so that you can fill those slots. Before it’s too late. By using an omnichannel strategy and perhaps an API integration into your CRM or booking system, not only will your alerts, reminders and notifications be automated for you, but you can also provide real-time updates to customers who are looking for last-minute appointments, or who are interested in a slot that is currently taken. Don’t miss out on this business. Start making messaging work for you.
Need to stop your customers missing appointments? Start a free trial to see for yourself how the Engagement Cloud will help