Note: This guide and the functionality described is only applicable to Online Booking version 3 which was made available from 20/10/2016. If you acquired Online Booking before this time or have not been upgraded to v3 then you can set up Confirmations and Reminders for Online Bookings by following this guide: Booking Confirmations and Reminders
When appointments are made via PPS Online Appointment Booking v3 they are not initially linked to a client record on your PPS system. Until you have matched the appointment to a client (find more information on this here) the details of the attendee are only stored in the appointment itself. This means appointment booking confirmation and reminder templates that contain client-related merge fields cannot be sent to clients who book online.
View more information on PPS Merge Fields here.
As you are able to continue using client merge fields in booking confirmations and reminders for appointments added directly into your PPS diary, this guide will explain how to ensure that you have the appropriate activity templates set up to cover both scenarios.
Section One - Confirmations and Reminders
If you do not yet use confirmations and reminders in PPS generally then you may find it useful to look through this guide in order to familiarise yourself with the process. You can then continue with the steps below to learn how the setup differs for appointments booked online.
In order to use confirmations and reminders alongside PPS Online Appointment Booking v3 please ensure you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming the name and address that should appear on any emails sent to online booking clients. This can be your clinic name and the address you'd like any responses to be directed to. If you'll be sending SMS confirmations and/or reminders then you'll need to ensure you have set up your SMS account, details of which can be found here.
Section Two - Client Merge Fields
If you already use confirmations and reminders for your PPS Appointments then it may be that the template/s you use include merge fields. Merge fields are used in PPS to auto-populate relevant details that can then be sent out to the client without the need for you to write them out manually.
Some of these merge fields are client-related; meaning they pull directly from the information stored in the client details screen for the client the correspondence is being sent to. Examples of these merge fields include: <<TITLE>><<CLIENTNAME>><<ADDRESS>>
When an appointment is booked online a check will be performed to see if the template you use by default contains client-related merge fields. If so, as there is no client yet associated to the appointment these would not be able to send. To ensure the client still receives a confirmation and reminder there is a fallback procedure in place. Where the template used as default features client merge fields the following process will occur:
For confirmations the system will first check if the general template contains client merge fields. If it does not then it will be sent. If the template contains client merge fields then the system will attempt to locate a template called "Online Booking Confirmation". If this is found and does not contain client merge fields then this will send.
For reminders the system will first check if the general template contains merge fields. If it does not then it will be sent. If this template contains client merge fields then the system will attempt to locate a template called "Online Booking Reminder". If this is found and does not locate client merge fields then this will send.
Section Three - Setting up your 'Online Booking' Activity Templates
In your PPS system navigate to Tools > Activity Templates to add a new template with the names mentioned above or change the name of an existing template in order to establish it as one of the fallback options. When creating the templates, ensure that the Template Category is set to Appointment Booking Confirmation or Appointment Reminder correctly.
In your Online Booking templates you can continue to use merge fields that do not relate to the client such as those relating to the appointment, the practitioner and the location. See below for examples.
Section Four - Preferences and Settings
Any pre-existing client contact preferences stored in your PPS database will not be referenced when an appointment is made via online appointment booking v3.
Instead, the client will be contacted based on the details they enter at the time of booking and the templates available on your system.
If you create both an SMS and an E-Mail template for your Online Booking clients then both of these are available to send. If the client enters just a mobile number, or just an E-Mail address then they will receive the respective correspondence. If the client enters both details they will receive both an E-Mail and SMS confirmation and reminder.
You can still control the general reminder settings, such as when to trigger a reminder, via your main PPS system. Navigate to Tools > Options > Appointments Diary Options > Reminders to control when reminders are sent.
Tip: If you have a locally installed PPS system only and would like your appointment reminder settings to be the same for your online booking clients as those booked in over the phone or in the practice you will need to contact our support team via email@example.com to enable this for you. If you do not contact us regarding this, default settings will be applied.