When patients enter your dental practice, they are warmly greeted by the person sitting at the front desk. As they check in the patient and make sure all their information has already been gathered, they say with a genuine smile the amount that is due for the appointment.
Does this mention of money sabotage your patient’s experience? Why is it common practice to have a patient pay upfront, and how can you make it easier or better for them? Get answers to these questions right here.
Reasons for Upfront Payment from Patients
Overall, dental practices tend to collect payment from the patient at the time of service. In some situations, the patient covers their portion of the cost for the procedure before it’s provided or immediately after. Meanwhile, insurance claims are filed after the fact. Why is this the norm?
Higher Patient Satisfaction
During the appointment, your patient receives your team’s total attention and care. Then and there, they are your focus and should feel special and satisfied with their treatment. As a result, in that moment, they are likely going to be more willing to pay than they would weeks later when they receive a bill in the mail. Plus, taking care of payment while they are already in your office lets them know you’re using their time wisely.
A basic principle of business is that a satisfied customer is a repeat customer, and this is certainly true in dentistry. If your patient is happy with their experience, they are more likely to return in the future and have any additional treatment at your practice, bringing in more revenue.
Problems with Upfront Payments
Unfortunately, when handled improperly, this method of collecting payment isn’t perfect and comes with certain issues. But you can do something about these problems and make even the payment portion of visits as pleasant as possible.
Have you ever paid for treatment in the office and then received a bill for the remaining portion in the mail afterward? It can be frustrating for patients to say the least. Accurately estimating the amount that insurance will pay is critical, or your practice must follow-up and wait for the remaining payment to be sent back from the patient.
Instead, work with dental professionals who are so familiar with how insurance works that they provide accurate estimates right away. As a result, your patient doesn’t have an unwanted surprise later.
Awkwardness When Talking about Payment
No one really enjoys asking for money, but it’s a necessary part of your front desk team’s job. Make sure that those who collect payment from patients feel comfortable and knowledgeable discussing financial matters with patients. They also need to be tactful and sensitive during these conversations. Getting your front desk staff trained in handling these situations can drastically help your patients have a better experience, bringing them back again and again.
When done well, getting payment upfront doesn’t have to be annoying or irritating for your patients, and it can definitely help your practice get paid on time by happy patients.
About Dental Support Specialties
Dental Support Specialties has served dental practices remotely since 2008. While they cannot greet patients or check them in for their appointments, we can handle all the behind-the-scenes work, including insurance verification and contacting patients for any outstanding bills. We can even answer incoming phone calls and schedule appointments on your practice’s software suite. To learn more about how we can help your practice thrive, contact our team today.