By Compassionate Finance on Feb 22, 2018 5:30:00 PM
You shake your head as you review the X-rays. In the past, this patient has had some difficulty affording other dental work and now she needs a treatment that may be well beyond her budget.
Before, you would have seen this nice woman leave your office with a dental problem well within your expertise to treat but that she couldn’t manage financially. You would have missed an opportunity to both help a patient and increase your practice’s revenue.
Let’s face it, money is a sensitive subject that many find embarrassing and even humiliating, especially when the topic is an issue that they may perceive as a personal failure. What if you had the power to give your patients more control over their dental health and optimism for getting the work done they so desperately need.
The problem is, how do you have “The Talk”? How can you broach what can be such a sensitive issue like the cost of the treatment with dignity and professionalism?
Here are 8 steps to help you have the conversation that will make all the difference to your valued patient:
1. YOU MUST HAVE "THE TALK"
You probably have an associate or team member prepare your dental financing paperwork, but this conversation needs YOU. You must approach this as a trusted expert discussing options with an esteemed patient. It helps to have the dental chair in the upright position and sit eye to eye. Also, if you have any material or applications from financing companies, be sure and have that handy.
2. BE NATURAL, CONFIDENT AND RELAXED
For many dentists, this can be a difficult discussion to have. After all, they don’t teach “talking to your patients about how to pay for dental treatments” in dental school. Best way to approach this is to just be relaxed, which makes the patient relaxed and comfortable.
3. DISCUSS PAYMENT OPTIONS EARLY ON
Review the options, this time including the cost. If you offer Compassionate Finance, explain to them with confidence that you work with a company that will not only get them financial approval, but will allow them to choose the monthly payments that work best for them. You can then hand them your tablet or iPad all ready for them to apply.
4. OFFER YOUR PATIENTS MULTIPLE PAYMENT OPTIONS
There are many financing options available to your patients, but many require the patient to have good to excellent credit to be approved. They also hit the patients with exorbitant fees in the form of accrued interest rates if the loan isn’t paid off or if payments are late. Compassionate Finance allows patients to choose the monthly payment plan that works for them and has one of the highest approval ratings in the business. This makes it much easier to have the cost conversation with confidence.
5. TELL THE PATIENT THAT HE OR SHE IS IN CONTROL
Ultimately, the patient is in control. Their past credit history won’t prevent them from getting necessary dental treatment. They can determine their own monthly budget and choose the plan that works for them. This increases the likelihood of them choosing to pursue the most appropriate treatment plan, allowing you to do more of what you do best.
6. ENSURE PATIENT UNDERSTANDS THE RISK OF NOT HAVING TREATMENT DONE
For many dental issues, the cost of not taking action can be far more expensive than dealing with the problem immediately. For example, by not having an implant, the patient will experience bone loss in the future, as well as weakening the neighboring teeth. Again, point out the benefits of the less expensive option. You don’t want to sound as though you are trying to scare the patient, only be realistic.
7. GIVE THE PATIENT TIME
After discussing treatment and financing options, you could leave the patient alone to think about the treatment you’ve presented. If you are offering Compassionate Finance, you will leave the patient with the tablet that they will apply and receive approval on. At this time, you could have another team member sit with the patient to answer question Your patient may feel more comfortable discussing concerns without you in the room.
8. IF THE PATIENT STILL DECIDES TO PUT OFF TREATMENT, BE POSITIVE
“I understand. It’s your decision, just know that I’m always here for you” is a good response. Point out that the program is always available and insist that the patient take home a patient brochure. You could have the team member write his or her name and direct line on the brochure, inviting the patient to call with any questions. Follow up with emails and phone calls in the following weeks to check in with the patient and share your concern and empathy that they have to suffer with their current "dental state".