Here are three solid ideas to make your billing more efficient in your practice with dental payment requests via text.
This article was authored by Dr. Gina Dorfman, a practicing dentist and the Co-founder and CEO of YAPI Inc.
Every dentist’s career has been upended—for better or worse—by the pandemic. What was once a relatively predictable dental practice workflow has become a race to transform our daily operations. Paperless forms, online scheduling, and mobile payments are no longer optional because patients and circumstances demand them.
Yet according to SmallBizTrends, there is a vast gap between the behavior of businesses and the expectations of consumers. For instance, only 11% of companies send their customers text messages, while over half of their audience wants them. This expectation is likely even greater for essential communications such as appointment reminders, treatment plans, and dental payment requests by text.
What is easier for patients tends to be easier and more profitable for a dental practice. Patients who always know where they stand and trust their dentist are more open to accepting treatment and paying their bills. Below you’ll find the ins and outs of how to make your billing more consistent, transform your relationship with patients, and take your profits to the next level with dental payment requests by text.
Improve The Cash Flow Of Your Dental Office
It’s common to collect a patient’s estimated share of cost at the time of treatment and follow up with a paper statement to collect the remaining balance once the insurance payment is received. Another common practice is to bill patients on a thirty-day cycle. In either case, a handful of patients send payment right away. Most patients wait until the due date, knowing they have a thirty-day deadline to submit the payment. And a few patients will miss the due date or ignore your payment request completely and even claim to have not received the bill.
One study found that 93% of businesses encounter late payments.
But in a dental practice, this problem is especially acute as patients are not always eager to pay for dental care, and our teams are too busy to devote significant time toward collecting unpaid balances.
Don’t accept this behavior. For the sake of your finances and the mutual trust you share with patients, make it simple for them to pay on time. Don’t send any information via snail mail. These days, letters can be lost or delayed unexpectedly. Not to mention it takes longer for them to get to the point where they pull out a check or credit card. The younger generation may not even open their apartment’s mailbox more than once or twice a month. Bills should reach patients as soon as insurance payment is posted, and reminders should be sent quickly.
A 2021 report estimated that around 80% of consumers in the US had taken advantage of contactless payments.
That means your audience is already comfortable with a system that can increase how consistently you receive payments. Plus, it means your dental scheduling coordinator can spend less time reaching out to patients.
So, help your patients help you by implementing dental payment requests by text. Your employees will save time chasing after patients, you will reduce expenses on paper bills, and the cherry on top is that you will make money by getting your money faster.
Keep Patients Coming Back With Smooth Practice Visits
The dental scheduling coordinator is the locus of efficiency in the office. Yet, delays and mistakes usually add up whenever they are interrupted, which is quite often. The bottleneck at the front means that patients are in the waiting room longer, the dentist’s valuable time ticks away, the hygienist is hovering at the front desk to see if the patients are ready to be seated, and everyone’s stress increases. What gets lost in the hustle and bustle? Money. Patients don’t come back or lose trust in your practice, you end up paying your employees overtime, and the value of your time drops. Making payments more convenient frees up the scheduling coordinator. And, that, in turn, makes everyone’s life easier.
One element that is important to consider is the clarity surrounding treatment costs. Though many people do not understand the value of dentistry, they are more likely to follow through without complaint if they consistently know where they stand. Of course, fees may change as the treatment changes, and insurance payment may not match the estimate, making patients feel slighted if the number at the end is higher than expected.
The dental payment requests by text feature allows you to send the treatment plan and insurance estimate to patients in advance so they know what to expect. Your patients can pay ahead of time or call the office for clarification instead of showing up for an appointment unaware of an existing balance or having to pay anything at the time of treatment.
Pre-payment ensures patients will show up and gives you a sense of their willingness to complete treatment. Transparency eliminates surprises for everyone.
Start Doing More Same-Day Dentistry
Unexpected procedures can result in greater profits than you anticipated. Same-day dentistry allows you to fill cancellations ASAP, handle emergencies, and prevent patients from having to return unnecessarily. But it can be tricky when payments enter the picture. Your treatment coordinator may have to be pulled away from the front desk to explain the cost and collect a payment, or the patient may need to make a second stop on the way out to make a payment. By offering easy dental payment by text, your practice will no longer have to do extra work to get paid for same-day dentistry.
YAPI PAY is available with any YAPI plan. This dental billing feature integrates with practice management software by sending patients a payment request by text along with a treatment plan or any other document. For same-day treatments, this can be nearly instantaneous. Patients waiting in the operatory can check their phones and pay instantly. And when it comes to collecting balances and pre-payments, your patients will get the request immediately—no thirty-day billing cycles, no more “unreceived” statements, and no more “I didn’t know I had to pay today.”
Contactless text payment notifications are the solution to numerous dental practice woes. Patients are more likely to show up for appointments and pay on time, but most importantly, they are more likely to have confidence in you and your team. Confusion evaporates when you embrace the world’s obsession with smartphones and the seamless experiences they can provide.