So 2021 wasn't quite the return to normality people had hoped for with some huge challenges globally, nationally, corporately and individually. But here we are again on the verge of another one - so a very Happy New Year to you all!
Here at SMS Client Reminders we wish you the very best and hope it is a Prosperous New Year! And of course a big thank you to all our customers.
As a result of recent changes to the Application-to-Person (A2P) telecom regulations we will be moving our automated SMS messaging services to a new range of sending phone numbers between now and 1st October 2021. This will allow us to continue to provide the most effective and low-cost SMS appointment reminder service for all our clients across the US and Canada.
The new sending phone numbers will be allocated automatically to each account using the system and will replace the existing sending number currently used to send your text reminders. This changeover does not require any action on your part and clients will continue to receive their reminder messages from you in the same way from the new number.
Google have recently announced that they are updating their secret calendar links to improve security and any links shared with other applications will be automatically reset by Google by 1st July 2021. When these secret calendar links have been reset, clients using Google Calendar and G Suite Calendar will need to update our system (and any other shared applications) with these new links to ensure that reminders continue to be generated correctly for their calendar appointments.
For further information about this change see the Google support page at https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/37648?hl=en
To help our clients manage this change, we have added a warning message to the SMS Client Reminders account homepage which will be displayed if any secret calendar links are no longer working correctly. The calendar links which have been reset by Google and no longer working will be highlighted on screen, allowing them to be quickly removed and updated with the new secret calendar links by following the instructions in the Google calendar tutorial at https://www.smsclientreminders.com/google_calendar_text_reminders.
The Covid-19/coronavirus pandemic continues to be a huge challenge across the world and we recognize that it has been a very difficult time for many of our clients. We have worked hard to continue providing our reminder services 24/7 throughout recent months and introduced the new Pay As You Go scheme for clients that currently have an intermittent or lower volume requirement due to the virus, which has proved to be very popular. We have also been very pleased to see that the system has been used extensively by many clients to communicate important Covid related information to their staff and customers, providing an important safety measure to help the spread of the virus.
SMS Client Reminders is a very effective way to send urgent time-sensitive messages whenever required, ensuring that text messages will be read quickly when emails are often overlooked. If your business needs to communicate vital information about your Covid precautions, virus testing, service restrictions or anything else during these difficult times, then take a Free Trial now of our low-cost and professional reminder services. Free Trial
We've added the ability for account owners to receive admin notifications as a text message (for things like low credits alert). You can also set up text message alerts whenever someone responds to a reminder text (for example confirming an appointment, or replying with a message).
The new functions are available in the Account Management section, available by clicking on your username in the top-right of the screen.
For some clients a regular monthly subscription is not an ideal solution for their appointment reminder service. This new Pay As You Go service is ideal for small organizations that have an occasional or intermittent requirement to send text and email reminder messages, but don't want to commit to a regular monthly payment.
You can now buy SMS credits in blocks of 50 or more and use them whenever they are needed at anytime in the future. Take a Free Trial today and see how SMS Client Reminders can help improve your business.
SMS Client Reminders has always ignored all day calendar events, as it was originally designed with specific timed appointments in mind.
As it has grown in popularity an increasing number of users have requested the option to generate reminders for all day events, and we've just added this feature.
If you go to Settings > Advanced you'll see a new option that allows you to generate reminders for all day events, so they are treated just like any other appointment. All day reminders are turned off by default, so if you want to try them out you will need to turn them on first. We hope you find this new option useful!
If you have multiple calendars it's now possible to define a default template for each one.
A new option is available in each template (accessed via Settings) where you can enter a calendar reference (or multiple calendar references if desired). The system will then use that template as the default for all reminders generated by the specified calendar(s). You can still override the template used for individual appointments by entering a template name, just like before, so the system gives you a lot of flexibility.
Note that this function is not available for the Default templates, and will only appear if you have two or more calendars linked.
During the past 12 months we have been steadily increasing the number of countries where our clients can send text and email reminders as the demand for automated reminder services continues to develop around the world. The system supports the use of local character sets where required so that reminder messages can always be created in the required language.
The full list of countries where SMS Client Reminders is currently available is below and we will continue to add more countries as demand develops further. If you have a requirement for a professional, secure and low-cost reminder service and your country is not currently supported, then do get in touch with us.
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA.
We've expanded the options for how your clients respond to text reminders. Previously they could confirm the appointment or opt out of receiving reminders.
They can now also request the appointment is rescheduled or cancelled. To set up either or both of these options go to Settings > SMS > Responses from clients and switch on the relevant option.
If a client replies with 'R' you'll get an email asking for the appointment to be rescheduled. If a client replies with 'C' you'll get an email asking for the appointment to be cancelled. You will neeed to liaise with the client and adjust the calendar accordingly (appointments won't be automatically cancelled or rescheduled).
We have recently developed an innovative time zone solution for the North American market. This allows you to automatically send your SMS and email reminders to any client across all US/Canadian time zones, displaying each reminder with the correct time and time zone for every location. For large US and Canadian organizations operating across North America, this allows you to improve your customer service and more effectively communicate with your clients with event/appointment reminders displayed in their own time and time zone.
Google has announced that it is ending its own Calendar SMS notification service on January 7th, 2019. It is important that we make all Google Calendar users aware that our SMS Client Reminders service is not affected in any way by this change and our SMS notification service will continue to work with Google Calendar and all other major calendar providers.
For any Google Calendar users now looking for a new SMS notification service, we would encourage them to take our Free Trial and follow these simple instructions to connect their calendars to our system.
This release includes various refinements as well as the following new features:
We have launched a new Referrals scheme which allows you to refer a friend or colleague to our service and enjoy free top-up credits on your account when they subscribe. If you value SMS Client Reminders and think other businesses you know could benefit from the service, then let them know and send them your unique referral link. When they subscribe both of you will now earn the welcome bonus available on the price plan they select.
Just click the Referrals link on your account homepage to access your unique referral URL and start earning free credits now!
France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and Mauritius have been added to the SMS Client Reminders service in response to customer demand in these countries. Clients in these markets can now take the free trial and subscribe to the full service by simply choosing the relevant country from the drop-down selection at the top right hand corner of the website.
If you would like to use this service in another country not yet listed, please contact us and provide your business details and requirements so that we can confirm if this is possible.
With the increasing use of SMS messaging to communicate important and time sensitive information, we have added a new Direct Messages feature to the SMS Client Reminders home page. You can now send immediate or pre-scheduled text messages to your clients and prospects for any business purpose such as your next sales, marketing or customer service announcements.
The system has been designed as an easy-to-use and low-cost SMS messaging service with the ability to upload your contacts and message content directly from your own CSV spreadsheet or database files. You can even store your own pre-defined message templates for quick and simple regular communications.
Direct Messaging is available on verified accounts via the new Direct Messaging link on the dashboard. There is also a tutorial available.
As a result of a growing level of interest in SMS Client Reminders from potential customers in countries where we previously didn't offer the service, we have now developed a new process for quickly adding additional countries on-demand. The first new countries to be added are Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Greece and Germany - in addition to our original markets of the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
We can now offer both our free trial and full service to any organisation in these markets by simply choosing the relevant country from the drop-down selection at the top right hand corner of the website. If you would like to use this service in another country not yet listed, please contact us and provide your business details and requirements so that we can confirm if this is possible
We've added the popular group calendar solutions Teamup and Teamweek to our calendar sharing and integration guide. The good news is that both make it very easy to integrate with other apps such as SMS Client Reminders.
A new command [LOCATION] is now available when defining your message templates.
As its name suggests it can be used to embed the Location field from your appointment inside a reminder message. This is in addition to the current [TITLE] and [DESCRIPTION] commands which work in a similar way.
You should also be aware of your own responsibilites as the designated data controllers for your own client data.
You can now define a follow up message that gets sent after an appointment has occured.
You can define the content of the message and how many days after the appointment to wait before it goes out to the client (between 1 and 14 days).
Follow up messages can be turned on in Settings > Advanced, with the message edited in the SMS templates section.
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.
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.