Advising clients of appointment cancellations due to COVID-19

If you need to cancel any appointments as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you can set up an automated appointment communication that will be sent to clients when their appointments are cancelled. 

Before you get started, this method of sending an automated message to a client relies on the change of an appointment status within the appointment screen.  You might also want to set up a specific status to allow you to easily identify the cancellations that result from the current situation, which you can do by following the steps here.  You can then also use a status change to that particular status to send your clients an automated message: 
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To set up an automatic cancellation message:

  1. Head to Main Menu -> Settings -> Scheduling -> Appointment Communication:
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  2. Click on Create New Communication Trigger:
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  3. Choose your delivery type, either SMS or Email:
    Screenshot_2020-03-20_at_16.14.00.png
    NOTE - If you want to set up both an SMS and an email message, just follow the steps below for one delivery type, then repeat with the other!
  4. Using Email in this example, click on Manage Templates:
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  5. Click on +Add Template:
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  6. Compose your message template, perhaps to advise your clients why their appointment is cancelled and what your contingency plans are or if you are hoping to start holding video consultations in the interim period. You'll need to include the variables ##DATE## and ##TIME## to capture the cancelled appointment details, as shown in the example below:
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  7. Once you're happy with the content, Save Template to be taken back to your list of active templates where you can go Back to Message:
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  8. From here, you'll need to create your message trigger:
    • Delivery method - Email or SMS? I've chosen Email here as this is the template we've just created
    • Message template - Choose your newly created template 
    • Trigger event -  Change appointment status
    • Change status to - Identify which status indicates an appointment you have cancelled due to COVID-19. In this example, mine is Cancelled - COVID-19.
    • When - Immediate (cannot be changed)
      Image_2020-03-20_at_4.40.55_pm.png
  9. The new communication trigger will be added to the list:
    Image_2020-03-23_at_10.20.31_am.png

Once this is set up, when you change the status of an appointment to your COVID-19 cancellation status, the information you added to the template regarding the cancellation will be sent to patients opted in via either the SMS or email channels:
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