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Google Calendar Text Reminders

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Google Calendar logo Google is known for search but the tech giant is also a key player in the business software arena, including the popular Google Calendar app. Many organizations want to use Google Calendar to send reminders to clients. In this short tutorial we look at adding the ability to send appointment text reminders in Google Calendar (try it out).

About Google Calendar

Google Calendar as the basis for appointment reminder texting Like most scheduling software, what Google Calendar lacks in glamor it more than makes up for in simplicity and sheer usefulness. It also supports the iCalendar (iCal) standard making it possible to share calendars between different software (the iCalendar format, a.k.a. iCal or ICS, was originally developed by Apple and has since become the de facto standard in calendar sharing).

Launched back in 2006 some of Google Calendar's stand out features include:

  • Free to use (naturally you're shown tailored Ads but hey, that's how they make their money)
  • Multiple calendars (makes it easy to view numerous calendars at once)
  • Sharing (importing, displaying and sharing multiple calendars is a breeze)
  • Accessible (no software required and you can view it on almost any device with internet access)

Sending Text and Email Reminders for Appointments

You can get email and SMS reminders sent to yourself as part of Google Calendar's core functionality. This is ideal for personal calendars so you're not late for that job interview or meet up with your friends. But if you're a business using it to arrange client appointments there's no easy way to remind them about upcoming meetings, sessions, seminars or whatever else you have arranged. And text reminders and/or email reminders are a useful thing.

SMS Client Reminders fills that capability gap. If you run a business using Google Calendar to manage client meetings and need automated appointment reminder software, with emphasis on the automated, then look no further! Crucially you won't have to ditch Google Calendar and use bespoke appointment software with texting capability instead; you can carry on as normal whilst it runs seamlessly in the background .

It achieves this close integration by making use of Google Calendar's support of the iCalendar standard to share or export calendar events. Using the Share option you can generate a private web address which gives access to that calendar (but with an impossible to guess url for security). This ability allows SMS Client Reminders to scan your appointments for any clients that match your contact list and send out email and/or text reminders accordingly. Scan...match...send. Scan...match...send - that's all it does, day in, day out - but at least it means you don't have to.

Step by step - setting up Google Calendar text reminders for clients

These steps are based on the details provided for the Google Calendar system in the UK, local variations in other countries may apply and should be checked with Google.

  1. Create a free Google account (or if you already have one make sure you're logged in)
  2. Head over to Google Calendar
  3. Part A - Set up a calendar
    • Once Google Calendar has opened find the panel on the left, click the + button and select New Calendar
    • Give your calendar a suitable name and click CREATE CALENDAR
    • Now you have a calendar you can add appointments via the large red + button (bottom-right of calendar) or clicking on the calendar view itself
    • You need to give the appointment a title. If you're using Client Name mode it should include the name of the Client or Group (if your appointment is with numerous people you can also define client Groups and reference those in your appointments instead of individuals. Everyone in the group gets send a reminder). If you're using Direct Input mode enter the mobile phone number directly.
    • Define when the appointment is via the Start and End widgets
    • Importantly, if you have one than one calendar, select the relevant calendar from the drop-down list. If you only use a single calendar for all appointments it will default to that one
    • Hit Save
    • Thanks to its slick interface you can also drag and drop events and dynamically alter the appointment start and duration
    • Great - you've created your first appointment! Next up is how to link your calendar to SMS Client Reminders
  4. Part B - Link to your calendar
    • To do that hover over the new calendar in the My Calendars panel on the left, and click the Options button (three vertical dots)
    • Next, select Settings and sharing from the options menu that appears
    • Find the section called Integrate calendar
    • Find the Secret address in iCal format link (can't see the link?)
    • Copy the unique url. You will see a Security warning about not sharing the link with other people. Click OK (SMS Client Reminders needs access to the calendar to scan for appointments and the link is encrypted within our system for security)
    • In SMS Client Reminders go to Appointments > Link to calendar and paste this url in the relevant text box (you can also give it a reference name to help identify the calendar if importing multiple calendars)
    • Once linked, entering appointments will result in reminders being sent at appropriate times (you can define when via Settings)
    • If you ever reset the secret iCal address, you'll also need to update the link in SMS Client Reminders

G Suite

Google include the Calendar app as part of their business-oriented G Suite. G Suite used to be known as Google Apps for Work and provides the same software but with extras such as a SLA and dedicated support.

Missing Secret iCal link?

If the Secret address in iCal format is missing in your calendar settings it's because your G Suite Admin needs to enable this option (it is disabled by default).

  1. Go to the G Suite Admin Dashboard and login
  2. Click Apps
  3. Click G Suite
  4. Click Calendar
  5. Click Sharing Settings
  6. Go to External sharing options for primary calendars and select Share all information, but outsiders cannot change calendars

It can take up to 24 hours for the change to filter down to all calendars, but it's usually much quicker than that.

Importing other people's calendars

If your business operates in a team or shared environment the ability to view other people's schedules is often essential in terms of coordination. Adding a calendar to the main view is very simple:

  1. Open Google Calendar
  2. In the panel on the left, find the "Other calendars" section
  3. Enter the email address of the person whose calendar you want access to and submit the request
  4. They will then be asked to grant you permission and, assuming they agree, you'll then be able to see their info in your calendar view
  5. For visual clarity you can change the color of any calendar by clicking on the arrow next to its name and selecting Settings

There are other sharing options (including making calendars public so anyone can view them) but the above method is arguably best when working in a group.

Sending appointment reminders from multiple calendars

SMS Client Reminders also makes light work of handling multiple calendars, and has been designed with teams in mind. Assuming each team member has their own calendar:

  1. Log in to SMS Client Reminders and go to Appointments
  2. Click on 'Link to calendar'
  3. Enter the calendar link into the text box, plus an optional reference name
  4. Click 'Save'

You can add as many calendars as required. Each one will be scanned for new appointments and find matches against your client list. The calendar reference name can be useful to help distinguish which calendar a particular appointment originated from, as the reference name is displayed with the appointment/reminder info.

Once the calendars have been set up you can sit back and let it do its thing. Every fifteen minutes the latest version of the calendar (in iCalendar format) is retrieved and scanned for appointments. You can also do a manual refresh via the Link to calendar dialog.

Although it's possible to add appointments manually we wouldn't recommend this as they won't appear on your calendar (the link is one-way), which could be confusing.

A useful add-on

Google Calendar provides all the basic functionality a business needs in terms of time management and scheduling. One thing it doesn't do is provide reminder messages for clients, but SMS Client Reminders seamlessly plugs that gap.

If you're looking for Google Calendar appointment reminders and want to give it a go, our free trial or guide are good places to start. Although it integrates with a range of apps including iCloud and the service-formerly-known-as-Hotmail, we reckon Google's offering is the best of the bunch.

Watch a video of how to link with your Google Calendar

© 2024 SMS Client Reminders. Version 2.6