Finance without fear: communicating the options
Ruth Findlay shares her insights on how to communicate finance options clearly with patients for successful treatment uptake.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that multiple sources of revenue helps to support practices in times of crisis.
One source of revenue that’s receiving ever-growing demand is patient finance. This is due to the fact that interest in cosmetic dentistry has remained strong despite the restrictions of the pandemic.
Talking about money can be a sticking point for many team members. They may see talking about patient finance as ‘salesy’. To help, I’ve pulled together my top tips for overcoming this obstacle.
Recognise your worth
It’s surprisingly common to be nervous about presenting the cost of treatment plans. The good thing is that you don’t need to be.
If your pricing is calculated correctly to cover the running costs of your business and to provide you with your desired income and profit, then you should be confident that you are worth it!
Ensure patients fully understand the itemised treatments you’ll provide for them and the associated costs, including any lab bills and up-front costs you may incur.
Most patients won’t fully understand the nature of the work required and the length of time you’ll spend fulfilling their treatment needs. However, when explained well, most patients won’t object to the cost if they feel they’re getting value for money, especially if they can spread the cost using patient finance.
Keep up to date
Ensure you and your staff are fully up to date with training in all things associated with offering patient finance.
Understanding and feeling comfortable about your obligations comes from being confident in your knowledge and practising.
Aim to reach a point where you do not fear any questions from a patient about the finance. Know how to offer finance in a compliant manner and what it means to treat customers fairly. Knowing the details well will ensure that you gain confidence in communicating finance.
Working in the world of COVID-19, it is beneficial to choose a finance provider that can offer you support virtually with e-learning and via remote training sessions. This would allow you to take training into your own hands at times that suit you. It will help to ensure that you and your team are delivering the messages about patient finance in a confident, consistent and compliant manner.
Remember the benefits
If you have patient finance facilities at the practice, patients will welcome the opportunity to pay for their private treatment plans in easy-to-manage, bite-sized repayments. This is beneficial because it makes their treatment more affordable. This benefits you in terms of cash flow and improved treatment uptake.
Remembering these benefits makes talking about treatment costs and patient finance even easier for you and your team. It removes some of the obstacles that can cause people to shy away from discussing money.
If you offer patient finance, make sure you know what is available. For example, are you offering both interest-free credit and interest-bearing credit facilities at the practice?
Keep in mind which terms are available to patients. For example, how many months you offer on an interest-free basis and how many on an interest-bearing basis. Also, what annual percentage rate (APR) is applied to patients’ interest-bearing loans.
The type of application process you follow will determine the level of conversation you need to have with a patient.
With some providers, you are required to have a conversation with the patient to agree the finance product and term they will apply for without leading or influencing them.
This can be an obstacle for some team members due to the pressure of needing to say the right thing.
Other providers’ systems, such as the Medenta application system, don’t require you to have this conversation. Instead, you can email the options to the patient. They can review them at home and take away some of that fear for your team. Nonetheless, it is of course important that you have a thorough understanding of the patient finance facilities that you offer. This enables you to answer patients’ questions.
Giving patients choice and relevant information will enable them to choose a solution that suits them best. This results in higher levels of treatment uptake for the practice.
Medenta offers some of the lowest subsidy rates in the market. It is one of the few providers of finance solutions to also offer a comprehensive support service. This includes an online patient application portal and an e-learning suite. For more information call 01691 684175 or visit www.medenta.com.