SMS Reminders - foxy texting

No more no-shows with SMS appointment reminders

Today’s release includes the ability to send SMS appointment notifications and reminders, either to yourself as the admin or to your customers. Email and SMS reminders are available for the Professional and Business Editions of Simply Schedule Appointments. There are a few different bits to getting set up for this, so we’ll walk you through it below.

Step 1: Enable SMS

The first thing you’ll want to do is enable the SMS feature. Head to Settings > Notifications and click the toggle in the SMS settings box to turn this feature on.

Screen shot of the SMS feature box indicating the toggle for enabling/disabling this feature

Click the toggle to enable the SMS feature

Step 2: Twilio settings

Next up, you’ll need an account at Twilio. Head over to their site and click the Sign Up button. (If you’ve already got an account, skip this and just log in).

Wondering what Twilio is or why you need it? Twilio is a service that lets you send SMS messages (at a very low price per message). This means you’re 100% in control of your customers’ data & privacy. Your SMS reminders won’t pass through our servers and you can keep your site independent.

Setting up a Twilio account should be pretty simple and straightforward. You’ll want to be sure to purchase a phone number from Twilio, under All Products and Services > Phone Numbers. This is the number you’ll use to send SMS reminders to yourself or your customers.

You’ll need three bits of info from your Twilio account, all of which should be visible on your Twilio Dashboard: your Account SID, your Auth Token, and your Twilio phone number.

Screen shot of the Twilio dashboard indicating where to find the three pieces of information needed

Phone number, Account SID and Auth Token in the Twilio dashboard

In Simply Schedule Appointments, head to Settings > Notifications > SMS and enter this information in the fields provided.

Screen shot of the Twilio settings

Enter your Twilio account information in the SSA settings

To confirm that your Twilio account information is correct, you can send yourself a test message. Just open the section of the Twilio settings titled Send a test message, type in your phone number, and click Send.

Screen shot of the field and button used to send a test SMS message

Try sending a test SMS message to confirm your Twilio settings are correct

Note: If your Twilio account is still in trial mode, you’ll only be able to send texts to numbers that you’ve verified in your Twilio account.

Add an admin phone number

If you’d like to send yourself text reminders and notifications about appointments, you’ll need to enter an admin phone number. Head to Settings > General to enter your own phone number.

Screen shot of the admin phone number field

Enter your admin phone number to text yourself reminders

Ask your customers for a phone number

To send SMS notifications, reminders, and followups to your customers, you’ll need to be sure to ask them for a phone number when they’re booking appointments. Edit your appointment types, and in the Customer Information section, be sure to add a field with the type Phone number.

Note: We’re automatically checking for phone number fields and upgrading those from single line text fields to phone number fields where we can. So you might find that some of your appointment types already have phone number type fields.

Screen shot of the customer information field showing the phone number type selected

Select phone number as the field type

This will display a special phone number field on the booking form to ensure that the phone number is collected in the correct format and with any necessary country code prepended.

Remember, you can bulk edit your appointment types to make things faster.

Set up one or more notifications

Now you just have to set up your notifications. In Simply Schedule Appointments, head to Settings > Notifications and add a new notification. Select SMS as the type and select which phone numbers the notification should be sent to.

Then set your trigger for when the notification will be sent. You might want to send yourself a text message whenever anyone books an appointment. Or you might want to send a reminder to yourself and to your customer a few hours before the appointment.

Keep in mind there are some restrictions around WP Cron. We’ve got more details about that in our article on Notifications and WordPress Cron. You’ll want to read up on that and possibly set up a robot to ensure your notifications and reminders are sent on schedule.

Set your message and save your notification.

You’re set to send SMS reminders and notifications!

If you run into any troubles, get in touch with our support team by using the built-in one-click support inside of Simply Schedule Appointments, email us directly at support@simplyscheduleappointments.com, or use the chat bubble at the lower right of our site and we’ll help you get it sorted out.

Booking appointments

When your customer books an appointment, if there’s an SMS notification tied to their selected appointment type, they’ll see a checkbox under the phone number field they’ll need to check to opt in to receiving text message reminders.

Screen shot of the booking form showing the opt-in checkbox to receive mobile notifications

Opt-in checkbox on booking form

Goal and conversion tracking coming next

The next big feature we have in the works for our Professional and Business Edition users is the ability to add third-party tracking code or pixels to track conversions and goals. Keep an eye out for our future announcements about that.

 

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