The thing that has always bugged me most about the business of law is potential clients making appointments, and then failing to post. When someone fails to appear for an appointment, I have wasted my time, which raises my blood pressure and makes me cranky.
I have, through the years, contemplated or tried various solutions—don’t make appointments more than 24 hours out; require a credit-card number to make an appointment; ask the potential new client to call me if she needed to cancel or reschedule. I had no satisfactory solution until now.
Now I’ve practically eliminated no-shows by using appointmentreminder.org to schedule appointments with potential clients. I plug the client’s appointment time and mobile number into the calendar, and the system sends her a text message the day before, and a text message the day of (it’ll also send emails and make recorded voice calls; I haven’t tried those modes), asking her to confirm, cancel, or request a callback.
I can write the scripts for the messages. Here’s what my office-appointment message looks like:
Message Appt with Mark Bennett on $APPOINTMENT_DATE at $APPOINTMENT_START_TIME. 917 Franklin, 4th Floor. Text back 1 (confirm), 5 (cancel), or 9 for me to call you.
Confirmation Message Thank you for confirming. I’ll see you then. MB.
Cancellation Message Thank you for cancelling. MB.
Requested Contact Message I’ll call you shortly. MB.
The company claims:
Our customers find that using automated appointment reminders decreases cancellations and no-shows: the aggregate performance of all of our customers is that less than 5% of appointments are canceled or result in a no-show after the client receives a reminder.
So far I’ve found that to be about right. The cancellations don’t bother me as much as the no-shows, and I’ve only had one of those since starting to use appointmentreminder.org.
Free 30-day trial, $29 a month for up to 100 appointments, and worth every penny.
(I’ve got no stake in it; I’m just a happy customer.)