Text Message Reminders to Clients

Did you know that you can send text message reminders to your clients’ mobile phones prior to their appointments? Text messages are a great way to reach clients while they are on the go or without access to email. Text reminders can help to reduce your no-show rate and ensure more clients are on time for their appointments.  There is no additional charge for this feature — it’s included in your Full Slate subscription.

To set up text message reminders, go to Messages > Automatic Messages, click ‘Add message’ and select ‘Appointment reminder’ and then select the ‘SMS (Text Message)’ template. You can even customize the language in the text message and include placeholders to dynamically change the message.

Here’s an example of what a text message reminder to your client might look like:


We recommend setting the text message reminder for one day prior to each appointment, and an email reminder two or more days prior.

Unlike email reminders, clients must opt in to receive text message reminders during the booking process.  Alternatively, if they’ve given permission offline, you can check off that you have received written consent in Clients > Details. For additional information on the feature, please take a look at our help article.

This is the first post of a series focused on how you can get the most benefit for your business from Full Slate – more to come!

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New Number for SMS Alerts & Reminders

Just a heads-up – text message alerts to staff and reminders to clients are now sent from a different number.  In the U.S., automated SMS messages now come from “36070;” this is a short code that is approved by all wirelss carriers.  Outside the U.S., texts are sent from (317) 662-2222.

We had several reports yesterday that Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile were not delivering messages from our previous number, so some clients and staff may not have received the text alerts or reminders that we sent. We apologize for the disruption; the third-party we use (and pay) to send SMS assures us that should not be an issue going forward.

Oh, almost forgot – SMS reminders now show up in the sidebar under Message History on Client > Details!  And if anyone attempts to reply or call the short code, we let them know it’s a robot and that they should contact you instead.  🙂


Some providers treat short codes differently than regular numbers, so here are measures you can take if you’re on one of the following and not receiving alerts (or your clients can take if they’re not receiving SMS reminders):

T-Mobile — By default, T-Mobile does not enable receipt of SMS’s from short codes, so contact T-Mobile and ask them to enable the receipt of SMS’s from short codes.

Sprint — Sprint will sometimes block short codes, so text “allow 36070” to the number “9999”. You should then receive a response indicating you can now receive SMS’s from our short code.

Google Voice — Google Voice does not support the receipt of SMS’s from short codes, so you’ll need to use your actual mobile number for alerts from Full Slate. Please update your number under Account > My Profile and Setup > Staff.

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Online Scheduling in a Therapy & Marriage Counseling Practice

Colleen Crafton of Murfreesboro Counseling Services

Colleen Crafton, a licensed therapist, has embraced technology to keep her counseling practice growing and running smoothly.  She predicts that more and more mental health professionals will overcome their fears this year and start using online tools.

More Convenient & Discrete

Colleen started using Full Slate’s appointment scheduling software when she opened her private practice almost two years ago.  She put a button to schedule an appointment at the top of her website.  Many of her clients work during the day and appreciate this discrete alternative to calling for an appointment.

According to Colleen, the response from clients has been very positive.  “About 80 percent make appointments online on their own,” she says. “A good many find my website and use the online scheduler without me even telling them.”

Booked Solid

Her schedule fills up fast, so Colleen blocks out some time to ensure there is room for people who call in need of an urgent appointment. That way she can still fit in clients having a crisis and last-minute referrals from insurance companies.

She encourages current clients to setup a treatment schedule in advance. “At the end of a session, I whip out my iPad, bring up Full Slate, and say, ‘Let’s schedule your next session right now.’ I’ve got clients who are already booked three months out,” Colleen says.  “They think, ‘Good heavens, I need to plan ahead or there won’t be any slots left.’”

And she doesn’t have many missed appointments anymore.  Colleen added a paragraph at the bottom of the email reminder that’s sent automatically before each appointment.  It reinforces her cancellation policy and puts the client on notice that there is a $60 fee for failing to appear. As a result, she’s “decreased no-shows to almost nothing.”  On the rare occasion when someone doesn’t show, a flag in the client’s appointment history gives her a heads-ups.

Color-Coded Calendar

Full Slate’s appointment scheduling software has helped Colleen streamline billing, too.  She color-codes appointments based on intake and billing status.  “My favorite color is purple – then I know everything is done; the paperwork’s complete, I’ve been paid.”

Just by glancing at her calendar, Colleen can tell if it’s a patient’s first visit and the necessary forms are complete.  She can see right on her schedule when a client has made a co-pay through PayPal, and uses the notes field on appointments to keep track of insurance claims and payments.  When she emails a client about a co-pay or the balance due, it’s logged in Full Slate’s message history.

Safe & Sound

Although the software has become integral to her practice management, Colleen acknowledges “it’s a new thing for people to see therapists using technology.  We have not, as a group, used any kind of online tools.”  She thinks fears about hacking and concerns over confidentiality are to blame.

Despite widespread misconceptions, the reality is mental health professionals can use online tools to facilitate health care operations and be HIPAA compliant.  There are helpful FAQs posted on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s website clarifying the patient Privacy Rule as it relates to appointment scheduling and reminders.  Full Slate has also published a statement to allay concerns about online HIPAA compliance and online scheduling.

Perhaps 2012 will be the year therapists reconcile with technology. Colleen thinks so: “Having online tools like Full Slate easily accessible, more of us will grab hold.”

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