“Never let them see you sweat…” That vintage advertising slogan was perhaps intended to encourage personal confidence.
For your team members confidence is key to having financial conversations with your dental patients. It could be the factor between a patient and improving their oral health and your dental practice’s revenue stream.
Money talks…but money-talk…that’s another thing!
For the most part, case presentations arrive at the same place – financials. That destination typically involves a variety of questions from a patient.
- “Will insurance cover the treatment?”
- “Why does my treatment cost so much?”
- “Are there other options that are less expensive?”
Patient perception about treatment value compared with cost value can be all over the map. You and your team have likely heard it all.
No doubt, money-talk is stressful. And yet your patient’s financial responsibility for treatment must be addressed.
There are effective talking-points you and your team can master that have the potential to reduce the doom-and-gloom of financial conversations.
An effective strategy revolves around:
- Self-awareness about patient expectations regarding fees for service
- Full and/or timely payment solutions
- Engaging your patients around their treatment experience
- Eliminating surprises with up-front, clear communication
Let’s build on these money-talk dynamics for a more confident and effective patient financial conversations.
How to have productive financial conversations (and keep your patients engaged)
Prep your patient’s “financial mindset” in advance
You educate your patients about dentistry. Why not include the value of investing in their oral health?
Financial conversations can be less of a shock if you pre-heat their expectations ahead of time. This helps produce a more authentic communication process when it’s time to discuss fees.
- Use your dental practice website, blog page, and social media as channels for sharing financial information.
- Create and publish content around financial themes, payment options for treatment, insurance, etc.
- Include a financing page on your dental practice website with FAQs about payments and insurance.
- Provide your patients a secure payment portal on your website where they can review payment solutions and make timely payments.
These intentional strategies will help keep financial matters front-of-mind and help prepare new and current patients for pending conversations around their treatment.
Train your team in the art of money-talk
It’s common for team members (and perhaps you) to feel uncomfortable discussing finances. Your team’s mindset (like your patient’s) requires advance preparation.
- Routinely clarify and be open to your team’s questions (or concerns) about your practice’s revenue stream, overhead, production goals, etc.
- Connect care value to fee structure. Treatment costs follow a variety of factors such as lab costs, chair-time, production value, etc.
- Dedicate a segment of your monthly or quarterly team meetings to training for financial conversations. Focus on conversational tone, key talking-points, and clinical to business team hand-offs.
Keep the lines of communication open with your patients
Be careful not to assume that a patient remembers discussing treatment costs and/or payment options. This is important when time gaps, postponement, or unscheduled treatment is relevant.
Communication is the key – as is eliminating surprises – when treatment costs are on the high end.
- Keep patients in the loop on their treatment plan, accepted treatment, and total (out of pocket) costs.
- Use email when possible to keep scheduled treatment and required fees in-front of patients.
- Anticipate questions from patients especially regarding costly treatment plans. Be prepared with insurance coverage data and clarification about payment solutions.
Align financial responsibility with your patient experience
Start by removing any tone relative to a hidden-agenda around fees for service. This has much to do with the attitude (mindset) you and your team project about treatment financials.
Improve your patient relationships and the patient experience with the following resources:
- Keep fees and the communication about them current and available.
- Encourage patients to ask questions regarding any financial arrangement, payment options, etc.
- Be clear (not vague) when answering or discussing payment for treatment. Your confidence helps patients attach value to your services and their financial responsibility.
Confident financial conversations and good patient relationships can be supported by data analytics
The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on-track with your goals as your dental practice and/or DSO grows and expands.
Experience Jarvis in action. Request a demo today!