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Setting up appointment and time of scheduling reminders

Setting 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 are automatically notified about upcoming appointments. To set up client reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications 
  • Select Email, Text, or Voice
    • For text and voice reminders, click the toggle to enable the reminder

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    • For Email reminders, scroll down to the Reminder emails section to toggle them on 

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  • In each page, select the number of hours before the appointment start time that you want to send reminders

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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.

You can also enable a client’s reminders when creating an individual or couple profile. For more information, see Adding a client.

Note: Appointment reminders will be sent automatically 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours in advance of the appointment start time, regardless of the day of the week or time of day it falls on. For example, if your email reminders are set to be 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 > Scheduling > Calendar 
  • Toggle Alerts to on

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When you schedule a new appointment or make a scheduling change to an appointment, a pop-up will appear asking if you'd like to send an appointment reminder to the client. You’ll be able 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 reminders set up for completing documents, they'll receive two reminders when an time of scheduling 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 reminders

Email appointment reminders can be customized with the specific message you’d like to send to your clients.

Note: For group practices, reminder settings are set practice-wide. Only Account Owners, practice managers, and clinicians with entire practice access can edit reminders. For more on team member roles, see Team member roles and access levels.

To customize email reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Email
  • Scroll down to Reminder emails 
    • Check that the toggle for reminders is on
    • Select whether you want email reminders sent 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours before an appointment
  • Click the pencil icon next to a reminder type

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  • Type in your custom message in the Message field 

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  • 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 from the Client drop down, 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 customize email reminders sent to contacts of clients or couple clients:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Email
  • Select Contact and couple emails

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  • Click the pencil icon next to a reminder type, and repeat the above steps to customize the reminder content 

Important: 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..

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


Customizing text reminders

Important: For group practices, the text reminders are set practice-wide. Only Account Owners, practice managers, and clinicians with entire practice access can edit the template. At this time, only the practice phone number can be included in the reminder.

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

Appointment reminder texts

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

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > 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
  • Begin typing your custom message in the Customize text reminder field

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Note: Each message can be up to 500 characters long.

  • Click Add information and choose 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
      • This will add ‘s to the client’s name. For example, “Jamie’s appointment”
    • Client full name formatted
    • Clinician full name
    • Location
    • Practice name
    • Practice phone
  • You can also click Add confirm / cancel link to add links that allow clients to confirm or cancel their appointment

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

Document reminder texts

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

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Text
  • Select the Document reminders tab 

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  • Repeat the steps above to customize the reminder content
  • A link to sign into the Client Portal will be included by default, but you can click Add client portal link to add the link back if it’s deleted

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Cancellation message texts

You can set up and customize cancellation messages through text to notify clients when an appointment has been cancelled. To do this:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Text
  • Select the Cancellation message tab

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

Note: You can also update the message sent when an appointment series is cancelled by clicking Cancellation of a series.


Customizing voice reminders

Voice reminders will call the client’s phone number with an automated voice message speaking the contents of your customized voice message. If the client doesn't answer, a voicemail will be left for them.

Note: For group practices, reminder settings are set practice-wide. Only Account Owners, practice managers, and clinicians with entire practice access can edit reminders. For more on team member roles, see Team member roles and access levels.

To customize voice reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Voice 
    • Check that the toggle for reminders is on
    • Select whether you want voice reminders sent 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours before an appointment
  • Click Edit

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  • Type in your custom message in the Message field 

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  • 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 from the Client drop down, the client's first name will appear in the message so that the reminder is tailored to the individual client
      • To learn more about using macros, see Explaining client email and reminder macros

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  • Click Save

Note: You can also customize cancellation voice reminders by clicking Edit next to Cancellation message.

To customize voice reminders sent to contacts of clients or couple clients:

  • Select Contact and couple message:

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  • Click Edit, and repeat the steps above to customize the reminder content

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


Allowing clients to confirm or cancel through text and voice reminders

You can give clients the option to confirm 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.

Through text reminders

Important: Clients will only be able to cancel appointments within your practice’s set cancellation window. 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 text reminders to be sent 48 hours or 72 hours prior to the appointment. For more information, see Setting up your practice's cancellation policy.

To let your clients to confirm or cancel via text:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Text
  • Select Add confirm / cancel link 
  • 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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  • This will insert a link to an Appointment Details page where clients 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 answer their voice reminder call. The client will be instructed to press 1 to confirm their appointment or 2 to cancel their appointment.

To give clients the option to cancel, we recommend that the voice reminder is sent during your cancellation window. 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 let your clients confirm or cancel by through voice reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Voice
  • Select how soon before the appointment the reminder will be sent

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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, a 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, a 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

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 Understanding each appointment status type.


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 entire practice 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

Email reminders for telehealth appointments will be sent 24, 36, 48, or 72 hours before the appointment according to your settings, as well as a second email reminder 10 minutes before the appointment. Telehealth email reminders can include a link to join the Telehealth call. To customize Telehealth reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Email
  • Under Reminder emails, click the pencil icon for Telehealth appointment reminder

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

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  • Click Save

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

Text Telehealth reminder

This text reminder will 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 share the link manually from the calendar appointment flyout. For more information, see Manually sharing a Telehealth appointment link

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

To customize text Telehealth reminders:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client notifications > Text 
  • Select the Telehealth reminders tab 

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  • Customize your message by typing in the Customize text reminder field
  • Click Add information to choose any 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
      • This will add ‘s to the client’s name. For example, “Jamie’s appointment”
    • Client full name formatted
    • Clinician full name
    • Location
    • Practice name
    • Practice phone
  • A preview of the customized text message will be shown on the right
  • To include the video appointment link if it was removed, select Client video link

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  • Click Save changes

Important: 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 on your calendar. 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


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 permission to contact them. To do this:

  • Navigate to a client’s Overview page > Edit
  • Under Contact details, make sure that the client’s email and/or phone number has been entered
  • For email reminders, use the Permission dropdown next to the client’s email to select Email OK

  • For text/voice reminders, use the Permission dropdown next to the client’s phone number to select Text / Voicemail OK, Text OK, or Voicemail OK

  • If a client has another email address or phone number you’d like to add, you can click + Add email or + Add phone to enter this information, and designate a Type and Permission

Note: If a client has already filled out the Demographics form through the Client Portal, they may have already indicated consent for email, voice, and/or text communication. After this form is submitted, the client’s preferences will reflect in the client’s Overview page > Edit > Contact details. You can update these permissions whenever necessary.

When a client's profile indicates permission for email or phone contact, you can enable upcoming appointment reminders, incomplete document reminders, and cancellation reminders.

To enable upcoming appointment reminders for a client:

  • Under Reminder and notification options, toggle Upcoming appointments to On
  • Click Manage

  • From the dropdown menus, choose an email address and/or phone number for upcoming appointment reminders

Note: To learn how to update when reminders are sent, see Setting up reminders.

  • If the client doesn’t want to receive upcoming appointment reminders via email or phone, select No email or No phone from the dropdown menus

  • Click Save Client

This client will now begin receiving reminders before each appointment. You can also follow the above steps for Cancellation reminders to automatically let clients know when an appointment is canceled.

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Note: Cancellation reminders are sent when an appointment is updated to the Clinician canceled status. For more information, see How to change an appointment status.

If you’d like to also send the client reminders to fill out their incomplete intake forms, see Setting up reminders for clients to complete their intake forms. You can also enable text and email reminders for appointment and document reminders when creating a new client.


Understanding client reminder statuses

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

    • 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 set up, make sure to create appointments for the future with enough time for the reminders to be 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 won't 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.

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 and voice 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 yourprovider@simplepractice.com, which is a no-reply email address. If a client replies to that email, you won't be notified.

If clients reply, 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 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 > Practice > Practice details. We don’t offer functionality to populate appointment reminders in a time zone 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 their 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 notifications. 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 Using Telehealth reminders.

Note: 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, you can navigate to Analytics > Reports > Appointment reminders.

This report will show the appointment reminder Type, sent Status, the Client it was sent to, the client’s Primary Clinician, and Date/time the reminder was sent.

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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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