It goes without saying that appointment reminders should say the right time or else you risk hurting your business as opposed to helping. Sometimes getting the time right can actually be tricky. This typically applies if you hold appointments with clients in multiple time zones.

This blog post will outline the steps you should take if your business holds appointments with clients in different time zones.

Step 1) Include the time zone in your messages

The first step is to add the time zone to your messages. This ensures that even if the time that is announced to your client is not in their time zone, they might notice the time zone is different and respond appropriately.

You can do this by including the {{ event.time_zone }} field in your Apptoto messages.

We recommend you add the time zone immediately after the time in the body of the SMS and the call messages. In Apptoto you can do this by clicking on the “Auto Messages” tab and then editing your SMS and call messages. Here is how the message should look after you’ve added the time zone field.

For automatic email messages, you will want to include the time zone in the subject and the body of the message like so:

Step 2) Change the Appointment Page to use “Browser Time”

The “Appointment Page” is the page that client’s see when they click on the link that Apptoto includes in your SMS or Email message (via the {{ reminder.link }} field). You can customize the time that appears on that page on the “Settings” > “Appointment Page” tab in Apptoto.

You can take advantage of the fact that the browser knows what time zone the client is currently in by using {{ event.start_time | browser_date_and_time }} or {{event.start_time | browser_time }} in the appointment page settings.

Here is what the appointment page then looks like for the client when they click on the link:

Step 3) Tell Apptoto which time zone your client is in

If your client’s time zone is different than your time zone then you need to tell Apptoto which time zone your client is in. There are 4 ways you can do that:

3.a) Segment your client’s time zones by calendar

In other words, have one calendar for each time zone that you have clients in and put the appointments on the correct calendar when you schedule them. While this sounds strange, sometimes it’s the easiest approach. Especially if you already have different calendars for each sales region or for each regional office.

3.b) Or, change the event’s time zone

Some of the calendaring systems that Apptoto integrates with (e.g. Google, Office 365, and Outlook) allow you to specify the time zone for each event. For example in Google, you can change the time zone for an event by clicking “Time zone” to the right of the time on the “Edit Event” screen. Here is a screenshot:

If the time zone of the event is different than the time zone of the calendar then Apptoto shows a dotted-line under the time in Apptoto and if you hover over the time, Apptoto will tell you what time the appointment is in for you and your client.

3.c) Or, include the time zone or zip code in the event’s body or content

You can set the time zone by prefacing the time zone with “Time zone:” in the body of the appointment.

For example, you can put the following in the body of the appointment and Apptoto will use Eastern time when sending the message.

  • time zone: EDT

This works great if you’re using a system like YouCanBook.me or Acuity Scheduling to book your appointments. Those systems can be configured to add the client’s detected time zone into the body of the appointment.

Apptoto will recognize all standard time zone names and abbreviations.

Alternatively, you can put the zip code in the appointment (US Only). For example:

  • zip: 10001

NOTE: Be sure to turn on the “Use time zone found in event body” option if you want to use this approach.

The time zone abbreviations we support include:

Abbreviation Timezone Nickname
PT Pacific Time (US & Canada)
PST Pacific Time (US & Canada)
PDT Pacific Time (US & Canada)
MT Mountain Time (US & Canada)
MDT Mountain Time (US & Canada)
MST Mountain Time (US & Canada)
CT Central Time (US & Canada)
CDT Central Time (US & Canada)
CST Central Time (US & Canada)
ET Eastern Time (US & Canada)
EDT Eastern Time (US & Canada)
EST Eastern Time (US & Canada)
HT Hawaii
HDT Hawaii
HST Hawaii
AZ Arizona

We also support any of the following nicknames or official names:

Nickname Official Name
International Date Line West Pacific/Midway
Midway Island Pacific/Midway
American Samoa Pacific/Pago_Pago
Hawaii Pacific/Honolulu
Alaska America/Juneau
Pacific Time (US & Canada) America/Los_Angeles
Tijuana America/Tijuana
Mountain Time (US & Canada) America/Denver
Arizona America/Phoenix
Chihuahua America/Chihuahua
Mazatlan America/Mazatlan
Central Time (US & Canada) America/Chicago
Saskatchewan America/Regina
Guadalajara America/Mexico_City
Mexico City America/Mexico_City
Monterrey America/Monterrey
Central America America/Guatemala
Eastern Time (US & Canada) America/New_York
Indiana (East) America/Indiana/Indianapolis
Bogota America/Bogota
Lima America/Lima
Quito America/Lima
Atlantic Time (Canada) America/Halifax
Caracas America/Caracas
La Paz America/La_Paz
Santiago America/Santiago
Newfoundland America/St_Johns
Brasilia America/Sao_Paulo
Buenos Aires America/Argentina/Buenos_Aires
Montevideo America/Montevideo
Georgetown America/Guyana
Greenland America/Godthab
Mid-Atlantic Atlantic/South_Georgia
Azores Atlantic/Azores
Cape Verde Is. Atlantic/Cape_Verde
Dublin Europe/Dublin
Edinburgh Europe/London
Lisbon Europe/Lisbon
London Europe/London
Casablanca Africa/Casablanca
Monrovia Africa/Monrovia
UTC Etc/UTC
Belgrade Europe/Belgrade
Bratislava Europe/Bratislava
Budapest Europe/Budapest
Ljubljana Europe/Ljubljana
Prague Europe/Prague
Sarajevo Europe/Sarajevo
Skopje Europe/Skopje
Warsaw Europe/Warsaw
Zagreb Europe/Zagreb
Brussels Europe/Brussels
Copenhagen Europe/Copenhagen
Madrid Europe/Madrid
Paris Europe/Paris
Amsterdam Europe/Amsterdam
Berlin Europe/Berlin
Bern Europe/Zurich
Zurich Europe/Zurich
Rome Europe/Rome
Stockholm Europe/Stockholm
Vienna Europe/Vienna
West Central Africa Africa/Algiers
Bucharest Europe/Bucharest
Cairo Africa/Cairo
Helsinki Europe/Helsinki
Kyiv Europe/Kiev
Riga Europe/Riga
Sofia Europe/Sofia
Tallinn Europe/Tallinn
Vilnius Europe/Vilnius
Athens Europe/Athens
Istanbul Europe/Istanbul
Minsk Europe/Minsk
Jerusalem Asia/Jerusalem
Harare Africa/Harare
Pretoria Africa/Johannesburg
Kaliningrad Europe/Kaliningrad
Moscow Europe/Moscow
St. Petersburg Europe/Moscow
Volgograd Europe/Volgograd
Samara Europe/Samara
Kuwait Asia/Kuwait
Riyadh Asia/Riyadh
Nairobi Africa/Nairobi
Baghdad Asia/Baghdad
Tehran Asia/Tehran
Abu Dhabi Asia/Muscat
Muscat Asia/Muscat
Baku Asia/Baku
Tbilisi Asia/Tbilisi
Yerevan Asia/Yerevan
Kabul Asia/Kabul
Ekaterinburg Asia/Yekaterinburg
Islamabad Asia/Karachi
Karachi Asia/Karachi
Tashkent Asia/Tashkent
Chennai Asia/Kolkata
Kolkata Asia/Kolkata
Mumbai Asia/Kolkata
New Delhi Asia/Kolkata
Kathmandu Asia/Kathmandu
Astana Asia/Dhaka
Dhaka Asia/Dhaka
Sri Jayawardenepura Asia/Colombo
Almaty Asia/Almaty
Novosibirsk Asia/Novosibirsk
Rangoon Asia/Rangoon
Bangkok Asia/Bangkok
Hanoi Asia/Bangkok
Jakarta Asia/Jakarta
Krasnoyarsk Asia/Krasnoyarsk
Beijing Asia/Shanghai
Chongqing Asia/Chongqing
Hong Kong Asia/Hong_Kong
Urumqi Asia/Urumqi
Kuala Lumpur Asia/Kuala_Lumpur
Singapore Asia/Singapore
Taipei Asia/Taipei
Perth Australia/Perth
Irkutsk Asia/Irkutsk
Ulaanbaatar Asia/Ulaanbaatar
Seoul Asia/Seoul
Osaka Asia/Tokyo
Sapporo Asia/Tokyo
Tokyo Asia/Tokyo
Yakutsk Asia/Yakutsk
Darwin Australia/Darwin
Adelaide Australia/Adelaide
Canberra Australia/Melbourne
Melbourne Australia/Melbourne
Sydney Australia/Sydney
Brisbane Australia/Brisbane
Hobart Australia/Hobart
Vladivostok Asia/Vladivostok
Guam Pacific/Guam
Port Moresby Pacific/Port_Moresby
Magadan Asia/Magadan
Srednekolymsk Asia/Srednekolymsk
Solomon Is. Pacific/Guadalcanal
New Caledonia Pacific/Noumea
Fiji Pacific/Fiji
Kamchatka Asia/Kamchatka
Marshall Is. Pacific/Majuro
Auckland Pacific/Auckland
Wellington Pacific/Auckland
Nuku’alofa Pacific/Tongatapu
Tokelau Is. Pacific/Fakaofo
Chatham Is. Pacific/Chatham
Samoa Pacific/Apia

3.d) By setting your contact’s zip code (US Only)

Lastly, if you’re using Apptoto’s contact matching feature, then Apptoto can detect the client’s time zone by using the zip code listed in the contact record.

Our Salesforce users love this approach because typically the contact or lead record in Salesforce will have zip code properly recorded.

You can also set the zip code for each contact in Apptoto on the “Contacts” tab.

NOTE: Be sure to turn on the “Use time zone based on contact zip code (US Only)” feature if you want to use this approach.

- See more at: http://blog.apptoto.com/2015/10/getting-the-time-right-dealing-with-multiple-time-zones/#sthash.XUxSMjJC.dpuf

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