Please Note: This guide is only relevant for Online Booking version 5. Please contact the PPS Support team if you are unsure of which version you should be using.
When appointments are made via PPS Online Appointment Booking v5 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 and you will need to set up Online Booking-specific templates to send as confirmations and reminders for appointments booked online.
Section 1 - 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 v5 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 through the automatic process. 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 2 - Client 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. View more information on PPS Merge Fields here.
Some of these merge fields are client-related; meaning they pull directly from the information stored in the client details screen for the client that 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 system will run checks on the default template set up in PPS and, if this template contains any client-related merge fields, the system will then attempt to locate a template specifically called "Online Booking Confirmation" (for confirmations) or "Online Booking Reminder" (for reminders).
You can continue to use merge fields that do not relate to the client such as those relating to the appointment that they have booked, for example <<THISAPPTDATE>>, <<THISAPPTTIME>>, <<THISAPPTPRACTITIONER>>, <<THISAPPTLOCATION>>, etc.
Section 3 - Setting up your 'Online Booking' Activity Templates
Due to the merge field restrictions for the online booking activity templates, we suggest that you set up new, online booking-specific activity templates without the use of client-related merge fields.
In your PPS system navigate to Tools > Activity Templates > Add.
You will need to add 2 templates with the specific template names shown in the images below.
When creating the templates, ensure that the 'Template Category' is set to Appointment Booking Confirmation or Appointment Reminder correctly.
Section 4 - 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 v5.
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.