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How to set up appointment and time of scheduling reminders

Note: Unlimited voice, text/SMS, and email reminders are included in both the Essential and Professional Plans. However, customizing reminder messages is only included in the Professional Plan. Learn more about SimplePractice pricing and plans.

You can send free voice, text/SMS, and email reminders to clients for their upcoming appointments. You can also send reminders right after creating a new appointment or right after rescheduling an existing appointment, which we call time of scheduling reminders. 

You can find details on the following topics in this guide: 


Setting up reminders

Here's how to set up client reminders:

  • Navigate to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders
  • Click the tab for the reminder type you want to enable: Email, Text, or Voice
  • Click the toggle button 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
    clientreminders.simplepractice.starttime.jpg
  • Repeat these steps for any additional reminder types you want to send

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

When you turn on reminders by switching the toggle to the on position, your reminders are enabled within your account. However, the reminders won't get sent to clients until you select to do so from each client's individual profile. See the Sending reminders to clients section below to learn how to do this. 

Note: Keep in mind that reminder messages will automatically get sent 24, 36, 48, or 72 hours in advance, regardless of the day of the week or time of day that falls on. That means if your email reminders are set to get sent 24 hours in advance, for a client that has an appointment on a Tuesday at 2 PM, they will receive a reminder on Monday at 2 PM. If your email reminder is set to get sent 36 hours in advance, the client will receive their reminder on Monday at 2 AM


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. Go to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders > Practice Prompts and click the toggle button to switch it On.

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The prompts will ask if you'd like to send a reminder to the client. It will give you the option to choose what kind of reminder(s) to send to them, based on the reminder types you've enabled in your settings. 

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Customizing email and voice reminders

Now that you've enabled client reminders and assigned the intervals at which they will be sent, you're ready to customize the reminder message in email and voicemails.

Note: The ability to customize appointment reminder messages is only available with the Professional Plan.

When you toggle a reminder on, the body of the reminder will appear and this is where you can edit and customize the message.

  • Navigate to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders and select the tab for the reminder type you want to edit (Email or Voice)
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  • Type in your custom message in the Message field 
    • You can also enter Macros in your message that will automatically pull information into the reminder message from your settings and appointment details.
    • Place your cursor where you want to add the macro and then select a specific macro 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.
      practicemacros.simplepractice.reminders.jpg

To edit email reminders sent to Contacts of clients or Couple clients, you can go to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders > Email and click Contact and Couple Emails.

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From there, you can click Edit to update the standard Email Reminder and/or the Telehealth Video Email Reminder. See Managing your client profiles through Enhanced Client Management to learn more about our Enhanced Client Management feature for Minor and Couple clients.

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

Note: Appointment reminder emails are sent to clients from yourprovider@simplepractice.com, which is a no-reply address. If clients respond to these emails, 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

Note: The text message template featured here hasn't been released in all accounts yet. It'll be released for all practices soon. 

Migrating to the new text reminders template:

If you set up your practice’s text reminders before the release of the new text reminder template, your previous messaging, including any customization, will continue to be sent until you click Save on the updated version. When updating to the new template, you can reference your old reminders by switching to the Legacy view:

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Please note that once your changes have been saved, or after December 1, 2020, you'll lose access to the Legacy View.

 

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

To get started, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders > Text
  • Enable text reminders by switching the toggle On 
    enabletext.simplepractice.textreminders.jpg
  • Customize your text reminders by selecting the pieces of information you’d like to auto-populate
    • You can select one or more of these options: Practice Phone, Clinician’s Name, Appointment Address
    • You’ll see an example of what your customized message will look like on the right
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  • Click + Add Custom Message to include a custom message of up to 150 characters in your text reminders
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    • You’ll see your custom message at the bottom of your text reminder 
    • Click Remove Message if you want to remove the custom message you added
  • Select whether you want text reminders sent 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours before an appointment
  • Click Save
    • Click Disable Text Reminders if you want to disable text appointment reminders

Note: See the Telehealth reminders section below to learn how to update your Telehealth text reminders. 


Allowing clients to confirm or cancel through text reminders

Note: This feature hasn't been enabled for all accounts yet. It'll be released for all practices soon. 

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

To enable these features, follow these steps: 

  • Navigate to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders > Text
  • Make sure that your text reminders are enabled and customized 
  • Select Allow clients to Confirm if you want to give your clients the ability to confirm their upcoming appointments via text
    allowconfirm.simplepractice.textreminders.jpg
  • Select Allow clients to Cancel if you want to give your clients the ability to cancel their upcoming appointments via text
  • Click Save

You can view an example of what your clients would see in their text messages if you allow clients to confirm and/or cancel their appointments:

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The text reminders will include a clickable link that opens an Appointment Details page where the client can confirm or cancel their appointment. See Getting started guides for clients: How to confirm or cancel appointments to learn more. The PDF guide found in this link is also downloadable so you can share it with your clients to give instructions on confirming or cancelling their upcoming appointments via text.

Confirmed or Unconfirmed appointments

You can check the confirmed or unconfirmed status of a client’s appointment from 3 different places: 

  • 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. 
    confirmedstatus.simplepractice.calendar.jpg
  • Go to the client’s Overview page. If the client confirmed the appointment, you’ll see a Confirmed status under their name.
    confirmedstatus.simplepractice.clientoverview.jpg

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

Cancelled appointments

You can check for cancelled appointment statuses from 5 different places: 

  • Click the appointment on the Calendar to open the appointment flyout. If the appointment has been cancelled by the client, you’ll see a Cancelled via text status. The appointment will also appear in the yellow Cancelled status on the Calendar. 
    cancelled.simplepractice.calendar.jpg
  • Go to the client’s Overview page. If the appointment has been cancelled by the client, you’ll see a Cancelled status under their name.
    cancelled.simplepractice.clientoverview.jpg

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

  • The Account Activity will show you when a client cancelled their appointment via text, along with the cancellation reason they provided.
    accountactivity.simplepracticecancellation.jpg

Note: See Account Activity: Tracking changes and information access in your account to learn more about what’s tracked in Account Activity. 

  • You'll also receive an automated email right after a client cancels their appointment by text. 
    cancellation.simplepractice.appointmentreminder.jpg

Telehealth reminders

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

Tip: See our Getting started with Telehealth guide for steps on Manually sharing a Telehealth appointment link.

After you've enabled your reminders by following the steps in the Setting up reminders section, you can customize your Video Email Message and/or your Text Telehealth Reminder. Please note that there isn’t an option to send Telehealth-specific reminders via Voice.

Email Telehealth reminder: 

  • Navigate to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders > Email 
  • Scroll down and click Edit in the Video Email Message field
    videoemail.simplepractice.reminders.jpg

  • Customize the message as needed
    • The Video Email Message will include the link to join the Telehealth call
    • If you accidentally delete the video call link from the Video Email Message, you can use the Appointment Reminder Links macro to re-enter it into the message
      emaillinks.simplepractice.reminders.jpg
  • Click Save

Text Telehealth reminder: 

  • Navigate to My Account > Settings > Client Reminders > Text 
  • Click the Telehealth Reminder tab 
    telehealthreminder.simplepractice.textreminders.jpg
  • Select Practice Phone if you want to include your practice phone number in the text message
    • You can view an example of what your text message would look like on the right
  • Click Save 

If email and text reminders are enabled, the Video Email Message and the Video Text Message will be sent out according to the timeframe selected for each reminder type. For Telehealth appointments, an additional email and/or text reminder is sent to the client about 10 minutes prior to the start time of their appointment. However, only email reminders include the link to join the call. Please note that the exact time the client receives the reminder may vary based on their cell phone carrier.

Please also note that if you make changes to appointments on the calendar, make sure to click Done to save your changes. If you have an appointment that was previously set as a non-Telehealth appointment and then you switch the location to Video Office to make it a Telehealth appointment, this change will only save if you click Done. If you don't, then your client will not receive the email with a link to join the Telehealth call.

Note: To learn more about our Telehealth feature, see Getting started with Telehealth and Telehealth FAQs


Sending reminders to clients

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

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

To do this:

  • Navigate to a client’s Overview page > Edit Details
  • 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
      voicemessage.simplepractice.consent.jpg

Note: If a client has already filled out the Demographics Information 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 Send text/voice appointment reminders box and then select Voice or Text 
    • For email reminders, check Send email appointment reminders and then select an email address from the dropdown
      sendemail.simplepractice.remindersconsent.jpg
  • Click Save Client 

Now this client will begin receiving reminders before each appointment. 


Important details to know

  • Keep in mind that if you don't have time of scheduling reminders enabled, you should 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. 
  • Our email appointments reminders are one-way only. The emails are sent from no-reply@simplepractice.com. If a client replies to that email, you will not be notified and they will receive a reply message saying "We're sorry, your email to no-reply@simplepractice.com could not be delivered.
  • You can choose to send either a voice or text in addition to an email reminder (not all three). A client cannot receive both voice and text reminders.
  • Keep in mind that 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 Details to do so. It's recommended to 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 the appointment reminders feature: 


Why can I not fully customize my text reminders anymore? My clients don’t speak English.

To maintain consistency across the Client Portal and to keep the new features as straightforward as possible, text reminders are currently only in English. Our team is considering offering additional languages for client-facing communications, but at this time we do not have an ETA for when this may be introduced.

If you’d like to add an additional message in another language, you can use the custom text field which allows you to enter up to 150 characters.


How can I tell if an appointment was confirmed or cancelled 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

See the Allowing clients to confirm or cancel through text reminders section above for more details.


Why can I no longer send reminders out 36 hours before the start of the appointment?

Our team has found that many of our customers prefer the 24, 48, or 72 hour reminders because the text messages get sent at a time when clients are likely to check their devices. The 36 hour timeframe, on the other hand, were not always ideal times for clients to receive text messages as they could arrive early in the mornings or late in the evenings. 

With this in mind, text message reminders have been streamlined with the options to send them either 24, 48, or 72 hours before appointment start times. If you have feedback you’d like to share with our team about this change, you can let us know on our Ideas and Suggestions board. We’re always looking to improve our product and add value for our customers. 


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

For Telehealth appointments, the reminder messages don’t include an address. A Telehealth reminder message will say that the appointment will be held via Telehealth and instruct clients to use a link to join virtually. See the Telehealth reminders section above for more details. 

You can also choose to omit the Appointment Address option from text reminders entirely using the customization settings. See Customizing text reminders above to learn how.    

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