Send a notification to your client's mobile device about an upcoming appointment.

Send automated SMS text message reminders to keep your appointments top-of-mind for your clients and reduce your no-show rate. You can send one text message reminder per appointment.

This guide is about text message reminders for your clients. To learn about text notifications for yourself and your staff, visit Sending internal appointment notifications and agendas with Acuity Scheduling.

Note: Please ensure you've provided notice and obtained all legally required consent before enabling text message notifications.
Text message notifications are available in the Growing and Powerhouse plans.

Rates

There are no additional fees for sending text notifications. Phone carriers’ text messaging rates may apply to message recipients.

Tip: We recommend that you explain these potential costs to your clients.

Replies

If clients respond to a text message, they'll get an automated reply telling them that the messages are from an automated service and suggesting they contact you by other means.

Opting out

Clients can opt out of all Acuity text message reminders by replying STOP to a text message reminder. After stopping text message reminders, they can re-enable them by replying START to the same message.

Default vs. customized text message reminders

You can send default text message reminders as soon as you upgrade to a paid Growing or Powerhouse plan.

The default text message reminder is: “You have an upcoming appointment with [Business Name] on [Date time]. Sent via Acuity.”

After you verify your business information and phone number, you can customize your text message reminders.

Start sending default text message reminders

These reminders are sent a set number of hours or days before your clients’ appointments.

Text messages are sent from an automatically assigned phone number, not your phone number.

Confirmation messages, which are sent as soon as your clients book, are sent as emails, not text messages.

To send one text message reminder for each of your appointments:

  1. In Acuity, click Client SMS.
  2. Switch on the Enable SMS reminders toggle.
  3. Use the Send for field to choose which appointment types should trigger this text message reminder.
  4. Use the Send reminder drop-down menu to choose how far in advance your appointment reminders are sent. You can choose times ranging from 15 minutes to 14 days before the appointment.
  5. Use the Date & Time format drop-down menu to select a format for your text messages.
  6. Use the Send a reminder to admins toggle to decide if you want copies of your text message reminders for yourself or your staff.
  7. Use the preview pane to review your text message reminders.
Note: Acuity uses Twilio to send text messages. All messages must comply with Twilio's content requirements.

Get verified to start sending customized text message reminders

Verification helps fight spam. It’s required to send customized text message reminders.

The phone number you use to verify isn't shown to clients, and doesn't need to be a business number. 

The business information you provide helps us categorize your messages appropriately within our partnered telecommunication systems. The time required for verification to be processed can vary.

To verify your information:

  1. Enable default text message reminders.
  2. Click Verify number.
  3. Follow the prompts to enter information about your business and text message needs.
    • You may be asked several questions about where you expect to send text messages, how your business is set up, and where it operates.
    • You may be asked to enter your Employer Identification Number if you have one. If you don't have an EIN, you can still set up text message reminders. If you do have an EIN, the business name you enter while setting up text message reminders needs to match the business name associated with your EIN. 
  4. Use the drop-down menu to select your country, enter your phone number, and click Send verification code.
  5. Enter the code you receive via text message, then click Submit.
  6. Enter your nameaddress, and business name in the fields provided, then click Save.

Start sending customized text message reminders

After you’ve verified your information, you can customize your default template or add new templates. You can now make the following customizations:

  • Use the toggles in the Show section to choose which details to include in your reminder text message, including appointment type name, calendar name, and location.
  • If you’ve switched on the Phone number toggle, use the Phone number section to add your country and phone number. Text messages are sent from an automatically assigned phone number, not your number. Consider adding your business name and phone number to your messages to prevent confusion.
  • Add a customized message in the Custom message field. You can use tags to pull in details about the client and their appointment by clicking the insert tags icon beside the Custom message field.
Note: Acuity uses Twilio to send text messages. All messages must comply with Twilio's content requirements.

Stop sending text message reminders

To stop sending text message reminders:

  1. In Acuity, click Client SMS.
  2. Switch off the Enable SMS reminders toggle.

Stop sending text message reminders for specific appointment types

To stop sending text message reminders for specific appointment types:

  1. In Acuity, click Client SMS
  2. In the Send For field in the SMS template settings, click Select.
  3. Uncheck ‌appointment types you don't want to send reminders for, then click Select in the top-right. 
  4. Click Save

Use templates to customize your reminders

If you're verified, you can use templates fully:

  • Customize your reminder message.
  • Customize when clients get a text message reminder for each appointment type.
  • Decide if any of your reminders are also sent to staff.

If you’re not verified, it's not possible to customize your message content, but you can:

  • Customize when clients get a text message reminder for each appointment type.
  • Decide if any of your reminders are also sent to staff.

To create multiple templates:

  1. Create a first text message reminder using the steps above.
  2. Click Add template.
  3. Choose the appointment types you want to use the new template for, then click Select.
  4. Use the fields to set up your template, as you did for your first text message reminder.
  5. After you're done, switch on the Enable SMS reminders toggle. This sets your template to active, and it will start sending.

After creating your new template, you can add or remove appointment types using the Send for field. Each appointment type can only trigger one template. When you assign an appointment type to a template, it's removed from any other template it's already on.

Tip: Text message reminders only send if your template has at least one appointment type assigned and the Enable SMS reminders toggle switched on. The left menu shows where appointment types are assigned and which templates are active.

Have clients opt in to text messages

By default, Acuity sends the automatic text message reminder for each appointment to the phone number listed in the appointment details. You can change this setting to prompt your clients to opt in or out of receiving text messages.

Clients opt in by checking a box during booking. If you’re booking on their behalf through the Calendar panel or editing an existing appointment, you can verify that they’ve given permission for text message reminders by checking a box in the appointment details.

Clients opt in or out of text message reminders for each appointment separately. There isn't a way for clients to opt in or out of text message reminders for all their appointments at the same time.

If the text message you’re sending attempts to promote a product, convince someone to buy something, or advocate for a social cause, you must enable opt-in.

Note: Beginning on Sept. 11, 2023, having clients opt-in to messages will be mandatory for New Zealand-based businesses. The opt-in box will appear automatically on your scheduler if text message reminders are enabled.

Enable opt-in

To enable opt-in for text messages:

  1. In Acuity, click Client SMS.
  2. Switch on the Require SMS opt-in from clients toggle.
Note: After you enable opt-in, Acuity only sends text message reminders for appointments that are marked as opted in. Appointments that were booked before you enabled opt-in aren’t marked as opted in. To mark them as opted in, edit the appointment details to confirm that the clients have given permission for text message reminders.

How clients opt in

When clients book online, they can check I would like to receive an SMS reminder before my appointment.

How to opt clients in

When you book appointments for clients in Acuity, check the box for I’ve received permission from this client to opt them in to receive an SMS reminder message before their appointment to opt them into text messages. Leaving the box unchecked for a new appointment disables text message reminders for that appointment.

How to change the status of an existing appointment

To change the opt-in status of existing appointments:

  1. In Acuity, click Calendar, then click the appointment to open the appointment details.
  2. Click Edit, then check or uncheck the box for I’ve received permission from this client to opt them in to receive an SMS reminder message before their appointment.
  3. Click Confirm changes.

Character limit

Your text message reminder can include up to 300 characters if you use only plain text. The 300-character limit includes any fields you toggle on for the message, such as your business name and the appointment type name. Special characters (such as é, û, or ±) count as more than one character. You can use tags to include information about your appointment or client. When calculating the character limit, Acuity counts the content a tag pulls into your message, not the characters in the tag itself.

Keep in mind:

  • If you use special characters or tags, and exceed the character limit, your message will be cut off.
  • Your text message might be split into two sections depending on the number of characters. However, most devices display split messages as a single message.

Send text reminders about one appointment to multiple people

To send a text message reminder for an appointment to multiple people, edit the appointment details to include multiple phone numbers separated by commas.

Send text notifications in the United States and Canada

Text notifications are automatically formatted to work in the United States and Canada. When manually adding new clients or appointments, or importing client contact information, use one of the following phone number formats:

  • 123-456-7890
  • 1234567890
  • (123) 456-7890

Send text notifications outside the United States and Canada

To send text messages to phone numbers outside the United States and Canada, you may need to add a country code to a client's phone number.

If you selected a time zone in Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, clients can enter their phone numbers without adding a country code. Enter a zero, then enter the rest of the number, like 0417827142.

Otherwise, for phone numbers outside the United States and Canada, enter +, then the country code, then the rest of the number, like +97312345678.

Note: Our SMS provider supports international SMS to over 200 destinations, but we can’t guarantee deliverability. Each country has its own individual regulations and guidelines that may apply based on sender type, use case, or legal regulations.

Verify clients received text messages

To view the messages sent for an appointment, click the appointment to open appointment details, then click View all changes & notifications sent. The changelog shows all sent email and text messages for the appointment. To learn more about the changelog, visit Tracking appointment changes in Acuity.

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