How Automated Reminders Work

Features and Set-Up of Automated Reminders
Reminders can be sent to your computer... Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Users have two options to set up automated reminders: either subscribe to an outside hosting service or buy the hardware to host the reminder service themselves.

With subscription-automated reminder services, users upload their contacts and groups using existing e-mail and calendar programs, such as Microsoft Outlook. A Web interface manages the messages, which are sent over outside servers and phone lines. Your options for the messages sent are endless: reminders, expirations, pay dates, renewals, and upgrades. The recipients themselves select how they wish to receive their messages -- e-mail, phone, SMS, or fax. However, you could even take it further. For instance, if a recipient is unavailable by phone, the system tries e-mail or text messages. Recipients then send confirmations and responses when they receive and acknowledge the message.

...or your cell phone.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

­If you choose to install the hardware yourself, many companies that sell it will work with you from set-up to support for a period of time to insure proper use of the product. Setting up automated reminder systems is simple and typically uses existing calendar management software, much like the subscription services. The difference is, once the set-up is complete, it's up to you and your office to make the calls. The system will pull all the customers that need to reminders of appointments and put those names in a queue. Staff will then pull up that queue and begin making phone calls.

The medical profession frequently uses automated reminders. Missed appointments cost money and tie up appointment times for other patients. Some doctors' offices charge a missed appointment fee, occasionally equal to the service cost.

Now let's read about some more useful applications of automated reminders.