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How to set up appointment and time of scheduling reminders

How to set up appointment and time of scheduling reminders

You can send voice, text/SMS, and email reminders to clients for their upcoming appointments. These can be sent right after creating a new appointment or after rescheduling an existing appointment.

Note: Voice, text/SMS, and email reminders are included in both the Essential and Plus plans at no additional cost. To learn more, see our Pricing page.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Note: Email, voice, and text templates and reminders aren’t customizable for trial customers. To customize templates and reminders during your trial, add a credit card by navigating to Settings > Subscription Information. For more information, see Updating your credit card information.


Setting up reminders

You’re able to set up reminders so that clients get notified about upcoming appointments. To set up client reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders
  • Select the tab for the reminder type you want to enable: Email, Text, or Voice
  • Click the toggle to enable the reminder type

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  • Select the number of hours before the appointment start time that you want to send reminders

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  • Repeat these steps for any additional reminder types you want to enable

Note: You can enable all three types of reminders in your settings, but clients can’t receive all three types of reminders. Clients can receive voice or text reminders, and email reminders. They can’t receive both voice and text reminders.

When you toggle reminders On, they’re enabled within your account. However, the reminders won't get sent to a client until you enable them from the client's individual profile. To learn more, see Sending reminders to clients below. You can also enable client reminders when creating an individual or couple profile. To learn how to enable these, see Adding a client.

Note: Reminder messages will automatically get sent 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours in advance, regardless of the day of the week or time of day it falls on. This means if your email reminders are set to get sent 24 hours in advance, a client who has an appointment on a Tuesday at 2 PM will receive a reminder on Monday at 2 PM.


Setting up time of scheduling reminders

You can choose to receive prompts to send appointment reminders to clients when you create new or reschedule appointments. To do this:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Practice Prompts
  • Switch the toggle to On

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The prompts will ask if you'd like to send a reminder to the client whenever a new appointment is created or changes are made to an existing appointment. It’ll give you the option to choose the type of reminder(s) to send, based on the reminder types enabled in your settings.

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Note: If your client has incomplete documents and they have email or text reminders set up for completing documents, they'll receive two reminders when an appointment reminder is sent. The second will be a reminder to complete their documents via the Client Portal prior to their appointment. For additional details, see Setting up reminders for clients to complete their intake forms.


Customizing email and voice reminders

Tip: For group practices, the email and voice reminders are set practice-wide. Only Account Owners, Practice Managers, and Clinicians with Administrator Access can edit the templates. For more on team member roles, see Team member roles and access levels.

Once you've enabled client reminders and assigned the intervals at which they'll be sent, you're ready to customize the reminder message for email and voicemails.

Note: Appointment reminders are only available with the Essential and Plus plans.

When you toggle a reminder On, the body of the reminder will appear. Here, you can edit and customize the message. To do this:

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  • Type in your custom message in the Message field 
    • You can include macros to automatically populate information into the message from your practice settings and appointment details by:
      • Placing your cursor where you want to add the macro
      • Selecting a specific field from the dropdown options
        • For example, anywhere you add the {client_first_name} macro, the client's first name will appear in the message so that the reminder is tailored to the individual client

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  • Click Save

Note: To learn more about using macros, see Explaining client email and reminder macros.

To edit email reminders sent to contacts of clients or couple clients:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Email
  • Click Contact and Couple Emails

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  • Click Edit to update the standard Email message and/or the Telehealth email message

Note: To learn more about managing minors and couple clients, see Enhanced Client Management for minors and Enhanced Client Management for couples.

You can customize email and voice reminders in the same way. To learn how to customize text reminders, see Customizing text reminders.

Note: Appointment reminder emails are sent to clients from yourprovider@simplepractice.com, which is a no-reply address. If a client responds to these emails, you won’t be notified. They'll receive an autoresponder email asking them to reach out to you directly. You can customize your reminder email message to include a note about reaching out to you via phone or email for questions or concerns.


Customizing text reminders

The text reminder template makes customizing your messages simple, while populating the necessary appointment details.

Tip: For group practices, the text reminders are set practice-wide. Only Account Owners, Practice Managers, and Clinicians with Administrator Access can edit the template. At this time, only the practice phone number can be included in the reminder.

Appointment text reminders

You can set up custom text reminders for upcoming client appointments. To customize appointment text reminders: 

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Text
  • Enable text reminders by switching the toggle On
  • Select whether you want text reminders sent 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours before an appointment

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  • Click Add information and choose the information you’d like to auto-populate

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  • You can choose to add:
    • Appointment date
    • Appointment time
    • Client first name
    • Client full name
    • Client first name formatted
    • Client full name formatted
    • Clinician full name
    • Location
    • Practice name
    • Practice phone
  • You’ll see an example of what your customized message will look like on the right

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  • You can also enter a custom message of up to 500 characters by typing in the box on the left
  • Click Save changes

If you want to disable text appointment reminders, toggle Text Reminders to Off.

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Note: To learn how to update your Telehealth text reminders, see Telehealth reminders. 

Document reminder text

You can set up a text reminder for clients to complete documents sent to them in the Client Portal. To customize the Document reminders text message:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Text
  • Click on the Document reminders tab 
  • Update the text
  • Click Save changes

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Allowing clients to confirm or cancel through voice and text reminders

You can give clients the option to confirm and/or cancel appointments through text and voice reminders. This allows your clients to communicate with you more regularly and promptly about their upcoming appointments, and can help reduce no shows.

Important: To let clients cancel appointments through reminders in an appropriate time frame, you can set up your cancellation policy in your account. To do this, see Setting up your practice's cancellation policy.

Through text reminders

To enable this:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Text
  • Make sure that your text reminders are enabled and customized
  • Select Add confirm/cancel link to give your clients the ability to confirm or cancel their upcoming appointments via text

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  • Choose the type of confirm/cancel link you'd like to include in your reminder: Confirmation Link, Cancellation Link, or Confirmation & Cancellation Link

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Text reminders will include a clickable link that opens an Appointment Details page where the client can confirm or cancel their appointment.

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Note: For client instructions on how to confirm or cancel appointments via text, see Confirming and canceling appointments via text reminders.

Through voice reminders

If clients are set up to receive voice reminders, they can confirm or cancel their appointment when they pick up their voice reminder call. The client will be instructed to press 1 to confirm their appointment or 2 to cancel their appointment.

To make sure that clients will have the option to cancel, we recommend that the voice reminder is sent during your cancellation window. Voice reminders can be sent 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours prior to an appointment.

For example, if you’ve set up your cancellation policy so that clients can only cancel at least 24 hours before their appointment, you can set up voice reminders to be sent 36 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours prior to the appointment. To do this:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Voice
  • Select the number of hours in the dropdown menu under Voice Reminders

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In the above example, a client will be able to confirm or cancel their appointments when they answer their voice reminder call, as this would be received more than 24 hours before their appointment.

Confirmed or Unconfirmed appointments

You can check the confirmed or unconfirmed status of a client’s appointment from 3 different places: the Calendar, client’s Overview page, and the Daily Agenda Email.

From the Calendar

  • Click the appointment on the Calendar to open the appointment flyout
    • If the client confirmed the appointment, you’ll see a Confirmed via text status

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    • If the client confirmed the appointment via voice, you’ll see a Client confirmed status

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From the client’s Overview page

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
    • If the client confirmed their next appointment, you’ll see a Confirmed status under their name

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From the Daily Agenda Email

  • The Daily Agenda Email will list all of your appointments for the upcoming day, along with their confirmation status

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Canceled appointments

If a client has canceled their appointment, you can check a canceled status from 5 different places: the Calendar, client’s Overview page, Daily Agenda Email, Account Activity, and an email notification for a client’s cancellation.

From the Calendar

  • Click the appointment on the Calendar to open the appointment flyout
    • If the appointment has been canceled by the client via text, you’ll see a Cancelled via text status

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    • If the appointment has been canceled by the client via voice, you’ll see a Client cancelled status

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From the client’s Overview page

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
    • If the client canceled their next appointment, you’ll see a Canceled status under their name

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From the Daily Agenda Email

  • The Daily Agenda Email will list all of your appointments for the upcoming day, along with their cancellation status

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From the Account Activity

  • The Account Activity will show you when a client canceled their appointment via text, along with the Reason they provided

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Note: To learn more about what account activity is tracked, see Account Activity: Tracking changes and information access in your account.

From an email notification

  • You'll receive an automated email right after a client cancels their appointment by text

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Note: Clients can also cancel appointments directly from the Client Portal. To learn more about how these will display in your account, see Canceled.


Using Telehealth reminders

If you offer Telehealth to clients, you can customize the reminders that are sent for video appointments.

Note: In group practices, the Telehealth reminders are set practice-wide. Only Account Owners, Practice Managers, and Clinicians with Administrator Access can edit the template.

After you've enabled your reminders by following the steps in the Setting up reminders section, you can customize your Telehealth email message and/or your text Telehealth reminder. Please note that there isn’t an option to send Telehealth-specific reminders via voice message.

Email Telehealth reminder

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Email
  • Scroll down and click Edit in the Telehealth Email Message field

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  • Customize the message as needed
    • The Telehealth email message will include the link to join the Telehealth call
    • If you accidentally delete the Client Video Link from the Telehealth email message, you can use the Client Video Link macro to re-enter it into the message

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  • Click Save

Text Telehealth reminder

This is the text reminder that’ll go out to the client about 10 minutes before the appointment with the link to the Telehealth appointment, if you choose to include it. If you don’t include text reminders for Telehealth appointments, you can send the link manually from the Calendar flyout. For more information, see Manually sharing a Telehealth appointment link. To edit text Telehealth reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders > Text 
  • Click the Telehealth reminders tab 

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  • Customize your Telehealth text reminders by selecting the pieces of information you’d like to auto-populate
    • Select Add Information

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    • Here, you can choose to add:
      • Appointment date
      • Appointment time
      • Client first name
      • Client full name
      • Client first name formatted
      • Client full name formatted
      • Clinician full name
      • Location
      • Practice name
      • Practice phone
  • To include the video appointment link, select Client video link
  • Click Save changes

Tip: You can view an example of what your text message would look like to a customer on the right.

If email and text reminders are enabled, the appointment reminder email message and the text appointment reminder will be sent out according to the time frame selected for each reminder type. For Telehealth appointments, an additional email and text Telehealth reminder are sent to the client 10 minutes prior to the start time of their appointment.

Note: The exact time the client receives the reminder may vary based on their cell phone carrier.

Click Done to save any changes to appointments on your calendar. If you have an appointment that was previously set as a non-Telehealth appointment and you switch the location to Video Office to make it a Telehealth appointment, this change will save when you click Done. If you don't click Done, your client won't receive the email with a link to join the Telehealth call.

To learn more about Telehealth, see Getting started with Telehealth and Telehealth FAQs

Tip: Telehealth appointment reminders are available to customers that enable Telehealth on the Starter plan. 


Sending reminders to clients

Once you've set up your appointment reminders, you're ready to send them to clients.

For a client to receive appointment reminders, you’ll first need to indicate that you have the client's consent to contact them. You can then select which reminder types the client should receive.

To do this:

  • Navigate to a client’s Overview page > Edit
  • Check the box(es) to indicate that you have the client's consent
    • For voice message consent, check Voice message ok
    • For text message consent, check Text message ok
    • For email consent, check Email ok

Note: If a client has already filled out the Demographics form as part of their intake through the Client Portal, they may have already indicated consent for email, voice, and/or text communication electronically. If so, the consent box(es) will already be checked.

  • Check the box for the type of reminder(s) you want to send 
    • For text/voice reminders, check the Send appointment reminders box and select Voice or Text
      • Check Send incomplete document reminders to send text document reminders

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    • Under Send email reminders for:
      • Check Appointments for email appointment reminders
      • Check Completing documents for email document reminders

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  • Click Save Client

This client will now begin receiving reminders before each appointment.

Note: You can enable text and email reminders for appointment and document reminders when creating a new client. To learn how to send document reminders manually, see Setting up reminders for clients to complete their intake forms.


Understanding client reminder statuses

You can view the status of reminders that have been sent to clients. To access this report:

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If you’re in a group practice, you can use the dropdown menu to view a specific clinician:

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SimplePractice uses a third-party provider to send voice and text reminders to your clients on your behalf. These reminders will come from US phone numbers and may not always be the same phone number for each reminder. You can view each status and its meaning below:

Status

Meaning

Queued

We're getting ready to send the message to your client's carrier

Sent

We've successfully sent the message to your client's carrier

Undelivered

Your client's carrier wasn’t able to deliver the message

Rejected

Your client's carrier rejected the message due to carrier regulations

Completed

Your client successfully received the reminder call

Busy

Your client's phone was busy for the reminder call

No Answer

There was no answer on your client's phone for the reminder call

Failed

Your client's carrier was not able to make the reminder call

For more information on client email statuses, see Understanding email statuses.

Note: There are many steps to this process and we do all that we can to ensure successful delivery. However, once a message goes to your client's carrier, our part in the process has been completed to the best of our abilities and the responsibility for delivery falls on your client's carrier.


Important details to know

  • If you don't have time of scheduling reminders enabled, make sure to create appointments for the future with enough time for the reminders to get sent.
    • For example, if you have email reminders set to send 48 hours in advance but you schedule the appointment one day in advance, the client will not receive a reminder because the window has already passed.
  • You can choose to send either a voice or text in addition to an email reminder (not all three). A client can’t receive both voice and text reminders.
  • If a client allows an appointment reminder to go to voicemail, the message may be cut off depending on the cell phone provider's settings.
  • If a client accidentally unsubscribes from email or text appointment reminders, you can view and override this by switching the appointment reminder back on. Navigate to the client's Overview page > Edit to do so.
    • Check with the client to verify whether or not they meant to unsubscribe from the reminders to ensure that you still have their consent.
  • Only one message for each reminder type can be saved.
  • There are a few different phone numbers that SimplePractice uses to send out text message reminders. Various clients may receive reminders through different phone numbers, but each client will receive reminders from the same number.

FAQs

Below are some commonly asked questions about appointment reminders:


How can I tell if an appointment was confirmed or canceled by text?

You can check the status of a client’s upcoming appointment from 3 different places: the appointment flyout window on the Calendar, the client’s Overview page, or the Daily Agenda Email

For more information, see Allowing clients to confirm or cancel through text reminders.


Will I be notified if a client replies to my appointment reminder emails?

Our email appointments reminders are one-way only. The emails are sent from no-reply@simplepractice.com, which is a no-reply email address. If a client replies to that email, you will not be notified.

They’ll receive a reply message stating, "This is an unmonitored email address that is used to deliver automatic notifications and cannot be used to contact your provider. Call or email your provider directly using the contact information they have shared with you."

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Note: We recommend customizing your reminder email message to include a note about reaching out to you via phone or email for questions or concerns, including if they need to cancel. To learn more, see Customizing email and voice reminders


I see clients in multiple time zones. How do I send appointment reminders that show their local time zone?

Appointment reminders sent to your clients will reflect the time zone that’s set at Settings > My Practice > Details. We don’t offer functionality to populate appointment reminders in a timezone different from that of your practice.

If your client’s email address is connected to an external calendar, such as Google Calendar, the calendar invite they receive will reflect the appointment time listed in your client’s time zone at the top of the email.

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Note: The body of the email reminder will still contain the appointment time in your practice’s time zone.

If you’re working with clients in other timezones, we recommend putting a disclaimer for this in your appointment reminder templates at Settings > Client Reminders. For more information on editing appointment reminders, see the following sections:


My only office location is Telehealth and I don’t want my clients to see my home address. How will the location appear?

Telehealth appointment reminders don’t include an address. A Telehealth reminder message will say that the appointment will be held via Telehealth and instructs clients to use a link to join virtually. For more details, see Telehealth reminders.

You can also choose to omit the Location option from text reminders entirely using the Customize text reminder field. To learn how, see Customizing text reminders.


How can I confirm if a client has received appointment reminders?

To check on the status of an appointment reminder, you can use the Appointment reminders report. To access this report:

Note: For more information on this report, see Understanding client reminder statuses.


What phone number will text reminders be sent from?

Text reminders are sent from US phone numbers purchased by SimplePractice. There’s no way to customize this phone number, and the phone number may not always be the same for each appointment.

Still have questions?

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