The latest version of SMS Client Reminders, 2.4, is now live. New features and enhancements include:
2. GMail contacts import. Import contacts directly from Google Contacts/Gmail.
3. Improved 'Groups' function. Various enhancements for defining groups of clients that need to receive the same reminders.
4. Phone number verification. Check your client phone numbers are valid before sending reminders (available on Silver plan and above).
5. Appointment title template command. You can now include an appointment's title in a reminder using the [TITLE] keyword in the message template. Note that any Client names or Template names are removed from the title, if present.
6. Appointment description template command. You can also include an appointment's description in a reminder using the [DESCRIPTION] keyword.
7. Client group import. When importing a set of contacts you can create a new group for them or add them to an existing group.
First, let us wish you a very Happy New Year as we enter whatever 2018 has in store! 2017 was a good year for us and we increased our subscriber base by over 400%, so thank you to everyone behind those stats.
We have now released version 2.3, which includes the following enhancements:
1. Up to 3 different reminder messages for each appointment. You can now send one, two or three reminders for each appointment, with different content for each reminder (if required).
2. Multiple SMS warning. If you have set SMS length to be limited to 160 characters and a reminder message exceeds that (causing the message to be truncated) a warning is now displayed in the dashboard. If this occurs we advise you go to Settings and set the option to allow longer reminder messages, or to shorten your message template.
3. [Calendar] template command. You can now include the calendar name/reference in a reminder by using the [CALENDAR] command.
4. Top-up credits. Top-up credits can now be purchased to add additional credits on top of your monthly allocation at any time.
5. Managing Opt Out clients for Direct Input mode. If you've set the option to allow clients to opt out of text reminders you can now manage this via the dashboard (for example you can reinstate reminders if the client change their mind in the future).
6. Cancelled trigger word. If required you can define a trigger word to indicate an appointment is cancelled (even though it still exists in the calendar).
Different timings based on Template. You can now control when reminders are sent on a per template basis. For example if you have two templates, reminders using the first template could be sent 24 hours prior to the appointment, whereas for the second template it could be sent one week prior followed by 12 hours prior. The timing options are now under the Settings > SMS > Template section.
Opt-out option. There's a new option available (in Settings > SMS) where the client can reply with an O if they want to opt-out of receiving reminders.
Sortable columns. You can now sort tables by clicking on the column heading. The reminder table now also indicates the template used and group name (if applicable).
Alphanumeric Sender IDs. In certain countries you can now set the "From" number in reminders to an Alphanumeric Sender ID (usually your company name). It does NOT allow users to reply though, and is not available in US or Canada due to carrier regulations.
Email confirmations. You can now get sent an email whenever someone confirms their appointment by clicking on a confirmation link in the reminder email.
Top-up credits. We've introduced top-up credits for the situation where you're running low on monthly credits but don't have the requirement to upgrade to the next plan. You can purchase as many top-up credits as you like using your PayPal account and any unused top-up credits carry over to the following month. You can purchase top-up credits via a link on the dashboard.
Message templates. If you opt to send reminder updates when an appointment time changes you can now edit the message template (in Settings). Likewise if you have turned on appointment cancellation messages you can edit the message template for that. Previously these message templates were hard-coded so this new function provides extra flexibility.
Trigger word. In addition if you're concerned about unintended appointments reminders being created (if the system finds client names or phone numbers/email addresses but they're not for an appointment) you can now specify a special trigger word. Only calendar events containing that trigger word will be checked for matches. If you have a separate calendar for appointments (which we recommend) this won't be an issue but if your calendar contains other info and notes this feature could come in handy.
For extra security the site now only uses HTTPS (not HTTP). This ensures your password and data is encrypted when being sent over the web.
Until now you've had to import your client contact details (so when an appointment contains a name, the system knows where to send the reminder).
There's now an alternative approach! Instead of having a client list you can enter a mobile phone number and/or email direct in the appointment text which the system will detect and set up a reminder. For example if you set up an event in your calendar with the text "Session 2 with Anne (605) 555-3546" it will send a reminder to that phone number. This is ideal for when you have one-off appointments rather than multiple meetings with the same clients.
You can turn the Direct input mode on/off in Settings > Advanced.
We've added the ability to define different reminder templates, meaning you can send a range of messages. When entering appointments manually you can choose which template to use (if you don't specify it will use the default template). Or, if using a calendar, you can include the template name in an appointment and that message will be used for the reminder.
To add a new SMS template go to Settings > SMS and click on the "Create new SMS template" button. To add a new email template go to Settings > Email and click on the "Create new Email template" button.
If one of your clients replies to a text message reminder then we can email the message to you. Replies to the email will go straight to the client. Accounts created after 5th October 2016 have this feature turned on by default (those created before have it turned off by default).
The option can be turned on or off at any time via Settings > SMS.
Text reminders are great for businesses who deal with individual clients, but what about those that have lots of clients per appointment (for example a tutorial or gym class)? Sure, you could enter the name of every client in your appointment but that's pretty cumbersome for anything more than a few people.
To address that we've introduced Groups. Very simply, you can create a Group with a unique name and then input the clients from your contact list that are members. When adding an appointment in your calendar you then enter the group name in the event title. This gets recognized and appointment reminders are sent out to everyone in the group. Easy!
It might be hard to believe but the iCal standard (the data format allowing the exchange of calendar information between different software) is a complicated beast. Part of this complication arises from the notion of recurring appointments, those that repeat periodically and where you don't want to create a new appointment every time. A typical example would be a weekly session that occurs every Monday for the next ten weeks. Which is fine, but what happens if the session in week five needs to be cancelled, and the one in week nine gets pushed back an hour? Keeping track of all these changes and updates can be tricky.
We're pleased to say the SMS Client Reminders now supports recurring calendar appointments. So if you define a repeating event in Google Calendar (or whatever calendar you use) then reminders will get sent for each of those events. If you'd prefer not to send reminders for recurring appointments you can turn them off in Settings > Advanced.
PayPal is the world's largest online payment company but for various reasons some companies don't want to set up a PayPal account.
To accommodate this we've introduced an alternative processor called Stripe. You possibly heard of it already and it's expanding rapidly and available in many countries now. When setting up a monthly plan in SMS Client Reminders you can choose between PayPal or Stripe - with the latter you just enter your credit card details with no need to create an account as such.
Some of the best ideas come from our clients and a few were asking for ability to send two text messages per appointment (one a few days prior, the other the day before). We've now implemented that feature - you can set it up via the Settings page.