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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Jump to: General,   Appointments & Calendars,   Clients/Contacts,   Reminders,   Monthly plans and payments



General
Appointments & Calendars
Clients/Contacts
Reminders
Monthly plans and Payments

















General


What is SMS Client Reminders?

It's a simple online service allowing businesses to automatically send appointment reminders to their clients via text and email.

How does it work?

You enter your client contact details, connect to your online appointment calendar(s) such as Google Calendar, and, well, that's it! In the background the service looks for client names in your calendar events and when it finds a match sends them an SMS and/or email. They like it because it's a useful, non-obtrusive reminder and businesses like it because the client is less likely to forget.

Alternatively if you don't want to enter client details beforehand there is a "Direct input" mode allowing you to enter phone numbers directly into your calendar appointments where they will be picked up.

There is a page outlining how it works if you want to know more.

How does it relate to HIPAA?

HIPAA is the US governments Health Information Privacy laws (http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/index.html). We are aware of the HIPAA Privacy Rules as some of our US Healthcare clients have questioned this in the past before they subscribed to our services. We do have many active clients operating in the US Healthcare sector and, while we are not in a position to provide specific legal advice about US regulations, we are not aware that our system in any way contravenes with them. We refer all our customer to our terms, including Privacy and Confidentiality, as published on our website.

SMS Client Reminders uses the secure SSL protocol meaning all data is encrypted when being set across the web.

What countries is it available in?

SMS Client Reminders is currently available in the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

What's the difference between the "Client Name" and "Direct Input" modes?

Client Name mode
You first import a list of clients (names, phone numbers and/or emails). When you enter a client's name in an appointment (or manually) it looks up the contact details for that name and, upon finding a match, sets up a reminder for that client.

Direct Input mode
You simply enter the phone number (and/or email) directly in an appointment (or manually). This mode does not require a client list.


Which mode you choose depends on the type of appointments you tend to have. Direct Input mode doesn't require any setup, and is ideal if you mostly have one-off appointments rather than regular appointments with the same set of people. Client Name mode is probably a better choice when you have a set of known clients you see more than once - it's easier to just type their name rather than remember and type their phone number each time.

What if my business operates across multiple time zones?

If you live in a country with more than one time zone then you can choose to display the time zone when displaying the time in reminders (e.g. 10:30am PST) to avoid potential confusion. To display time zones, go to Settings > Advanced - the setting is in the Time zone section.

When using the Client Name input mode you can define the time zone for individual clients (all reminders they receive will use that time zone). Again this can be turned on in Settings > Advanced under the time zone section. Once activated if you go to the Clients page you'll see a new column called "Time zone".

Note that times will be displayed using the time zone you've defined in Settings > Basic. Your specified time zone will be used in reminders regardless of the time zone of the appointment itself.




Appointments & Calendars


Why does my calendar have to be available online?

It's not possible for a web site to access local files on your local computer (as this would represent a big security risk). Because SMS Client Reminders needs to monitor your appointments calendar (in order to identify what reminders are needed) the only way is to make the calendar available online. If this causes a problem then you can manually input appointments or upload an appointments file.

I don't have an appointments calendar - can I create one, and will it cost me anything?

Creating an online calendar is easy, convenient and needn't cost anything (we recommend Google Calendar). Several well-known companies offer free calendar services, and paid-for services are also available. When you sign in to your SMS Client Reminders account, full details on how to set up an appointments calendar are available in the Add Appointments page. Alternatively you can follow the create a calendar tutorial.

If I make my calendar available online, does it mean anyone can access it?

No, only those you give the url to will be able to access your calendar. Someone could theoretically "guess" the url but given their complexity this is extremely unlikely. It would be the equivalent of guessing a randomly generated 25 character password.

What file formats are supported for uploading appointment data?

If you want to upload a static appointments file, you can do so in iCalendar (iCal/ICS) or CSV format. For Client Name mode the CSV file must have columns called Name, Date and Time. For Direct Input mode the CSV file must have columns called Date, Time, Phone and (optionally) Email.

Can I connect to more than one calendar (e.g. more than one person's calendar)?

Yes - you can connect up to 20 calendars.

How often after calendars scanned for appointment updates?

Approximately every 30 minutes. If you want your calendar data to be scanned/read immediately you can use the Refrsh option on the Add Appointments page when signed in.

What happens if I mention a client name by accident in an appointment on my calendar?

Whenever a name is identified in an appointment and it is on your client list they will be sent a reminder. It's your responsibility so make sure all spellings and timings are accurate - so type carefully!

We therefore recommend you keep client appointments in a separate calendar from personal appointments (most calendar apps let you have multiple calendars and display them all at once so this should not cause you any issues).

I love the idea of this service but don't want to provide access to my social calendar (or personal appointments) - what can I do?

It is highly recommended that you store appointments data in its own, designated calendar (rather than have a single calendar for everything). With most calendar applications (including Google Calendar) it's very easy to create separate calendars for different purposes (but to overlay them visually). So you could have a specific calendar for appointments, one for birthdays, one for personal events etc. - you'd only have to provide access to the appointments calendar.

How does it deal with recurring appointments and all-day appointments?

Reminders are sent for recurring appointments unless you turn this option off (in Settings > Advanced).

All-day appointments are ignored (so no reminders are sent).

If I upload or input an appointment twice will it send two reminders?

Duplicate appointments are ignored so only one reminder will be sent.

Does it work with Acuity Scheduling?

Yes! To connect follow these instructions...

  1. Log in to your Acuity account
  2. From the menu (panel on left) go to Business Settings > Sync with other calendars
  3. Click on 1-way Subscription"
  4. Find the section that says "Link to subscribe manually or do one time export:" and copy the link below (the one starting with https://www.acuityscheduling.com/export.php?id=...)
  5. Paste the link into SMS Client Reminders
  6. Now, when an appoinment is scheduled in Acuity Scheduling containing a name in your Contact list, they will be sent a reminder

Will it work with my appointment scheduling software?

If you use an online appointment system and are looking for a cost-effective way to send SMS reminders then you're probably in luck. If your software offers the ability to sync with calendars using the iCalendar (iCal/ICS) format, and most do, then you'll be able to connect the appointments with SMS Client Reminders.

Check out the help section of your software for information on iCalendar/ICS/iCal feeds or exporting data.




Clients/Contacts


Why won't the contacts list allow duplicate names?

Because the name is used to identify what person to send a reminder to it must be unique.

What if two of my contacts have exactly the same name?

You'll need to edit one (perhaps adding a middle name) to make them unique. Remember you must use that name in appointments to ensure a match.

What file formats are supported for uploading contacts?

Any CSV file exported from an email program or web service should work. See the exporting contacts tutorial for more information.

Can my clients/patients be in more than one country?

Yes, but you will need to create a seperate account for each country. For each account, all clients must be in the same country as the one you selected at the time of creating the account.

If you need to send reminders to clients/patients in another country then create a new account and select the country to which you need to send your reminders from the available list. At present, SMS Client Reminders is available to send reminders in the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa.

What does it mean by Name/Client ID? What's a Client ID?

Every contact on your list must be uniquely identifiable. The simplest and most obvious way to do this is by their name but it's equally possible to use another ID, as long as it's unique (e.g. a customer or patient number). The only caveat/requirement is that you use this ID in the appointments calendar (as well as, or in addition to, their name).

Can I define groups of Contacts?

Yes. To create a group go to Clients and click on the Groups link. Here you can enter a Group Name and then define the contacts that make up the group.

You can use Groups to send reminders to multiple clients. For example if you create a group called "Workshop Group 12" which contains eight contacts, when you create an appointment in your calendar containing Workshop Group 12 a reminder will get sent to all eight contacts.




Reminders


I have an appointment but no reminder has been created - why?

This usually happens when either:

  • the person isn't on your contacts list
  • the person's name on the appointment is spelt differently to the one in your contacts list.
Other causes include:
  • It's an all-day event (these are ignored)
  • It's a recurring event (and you have turned off the Setting for recurring appointments)
  • The appointment is in the past (so sending a reminder doesn't make sense)
  • The contact's email or mobile phone is not present or invalid
  • The appointment is stored in a different calendar (for example Google Calendar allows you to display multiple calendars - the appointment could be assigned to the wrong one)

What happens if I change or delete an appointment and a reminder has already been sent?

If an appointment changes a new message will be sent to the client to let them know. This option can be turned on/off in Settings > Advanced.

If an appointment is deleted/cancelled you can choose to send a cancellation message to the client. This option can be turned on/off in Settings > Advanced. There are two separate settings for when a reminder has already been sent, and when a reminder has not yet been sent.

What happens to reminders if I run out of credits?

If you run out of credits then no reminders will be sent. Before this happens you'll be sent a reminder. You can upgrade plans at any time or purchase "top-up" credits.

Won't it annoy people if they get text messages in the middle of the night?

It certainly might! For this reason, by default, SMS messages are only sent during the day. You can specify the earlist and latest times for send text messages in Settings.

Can I stop any reminders being sent without my permission/confirmation?

Yes - in Settings you can turn manual verification of reminders on or off. This means that before any reminder is sent you have to review it and verify it's okay to be sent. If you don't verify a reminder before the send date/time it won't be sent, so make sure you regularly verify upcoming reminders.

Can I just use sms reminders and not email (and vice versa)?

SMS reminders are required, email is optional.

In Client Name mode, if you don't include any email addresses in the contacts list then no email messages will be sent. Note that a contact must have a mobile phone defined (and, optionally, an email address).

In Direct Input mode, you can enter a mobile number and, optionally, an email address. If you create an appointment with neither then no reminder will be created. You can also specify multiple phone numbers/emails in an appointment - a reminder will get sent to each one.

What happens if an SMS or email can't be delivered?

If, after a couple of attempts, the message can't be sent then the reminder is cancelled.

Is it possible to send voicemails?

No, only SMS and email. We considered spoken messages/voicemail but on balance decided it would be too intrusive and, well, annoying.

Can I change the formatting and style of the email reminder?

Yes. By default email messages are sent as plain-text. But you can send html reminder emails too as described in this html email tutorial.

Can I add my company logo to outgoing reminder emails?

Yes, using the magic of HTML (it's not hard, we promise). Find out how in this tutorial on text markup.

Can I send SMS reminders longer than 160 characters?

Yes - but not by default. Although a single SMS text message has a maximum of 160 characters it is possible to send longer messages (although it uses up two or more credits, depending on length, rather than one). For example a message with 250 characters would use up two credits.

To turn on longer messaging go to Settings > SMS and set 'Limit message length to 160 characters (single SMS)' to 'No'.




Monthly plans and Payments


How much does each plan cost?

Information is available at monthly plans.

What happens if I run out of credits on my monthly plan?

If you have no SMS credits then text message reminders won't be sent. You can upgrade plans at any time or purchase "top-up" credits.

Can I cancel at any time?

Yes, you easily cancel anytime online. See the question below on how to cancel.

How do I cancel my plan?

To cancel your plan you need to follow these instructions.

Why is the monthly cost different based on what country I'm in?

The cost for sending text messages varies based on what country you're in (as it depends on the particular carriers who operate there) - the monthly cost reflects this.

Do I need a PayPal account?

Yes. When you set up a monthly subscription via PayPal it does require you to have an account. PayPal accounts are easy to set up and also free.

How many text messages/emails is 1 credit worth?

For every appointment where a reminder is sent to a client, a credit is used.

Can I switch between plans (e.g. Bronze to Silver)?

Yes - just select the new plan and a new subscription will be created. NB: If you set up a new subscription make sure you cancel the old subscription in PayPal!

Why can't I change country when signed in?

The phone number format error checking and monthly plan costs are both based on specific countries, so can't be changed once contact data has been entered. It wouldn't make such sense anyway! So make sure you select the right country when you sign up.







© 2017 SMS Client Reminders. Version 2.2