When it comes to financial literacy, nearly two thirds of Americans lack a strong understanding of basic money matters like saving, investing and borrowing. Furthermore, this unsettling trend impacts more than just the end consumer. Many dental practices and networks struggle with staff members’ willingness to initiate in-depth patient financing conversations. Explaining loan terms, how and when interest is applied, and the consequences of falling out of a finance promotion can seem daunting.
To nurture staff confidence and drive valuable patient dialogue, it’s important to simplify financing offerings and leverage educational tools. Here are three steps to improve in-office patient financing dialogue.
Step One: Focus on Financial Goals
Each patient has unique budgetary needs and goals; therefore, a financial product that may work for one person may not be feasible for another. Instead of focusing on the complicated details of the financing products, simply begin by discussing their financial goals. Then suggest the available solutions that best align with their personal needs.
|Borrowed Amount||Patient Goals||Potential Financing Solution|
||Fixed APR Product
Allows patients to secure a low APR and select a term that yields an affordable monthly payment.
||Low Monthly Payment Product
Offers low monthly payment options to align with patients’ budget.
Patients able to pay off by the end of the promotional period can avoid paying interest on what they borrowed.
Step Two: Provide Real-Life Examples
Situational stories can help illustrate the benefits of dental care financing products. Layering financing solutions into real-life scenarios helps make the information more digestible and relatable to the patient.
Jim is on a fixed retirement budget and needs dental work. To more easily plan for each month, Jim chose a fixed monthly payment that won’t increase or decrease during the term of his loan.
Kristen doesn’t have the lump sum available today but anticipates having it within the year. With this knowledge in mind, she opted for a no-interest product that allows her to pay off in 12 months with no interest.
Sarah has two children requiring dental care. She likes that, with a revolving account, she can easily add on additional transactions when needed and manage the payments together.
Step Three: Leverage Simple Tools and Resources
Visuals can also effectively educate patients on financing solutions. To facilitate a productive discussion with patients, equip your staff with a toolkit of resources to help explain payment options.
- An online loan calculator is a quick and effective way to determine monthly payments based on the length and type of plan. As a lump sum, dental work can overwhelm patients, but when converted into digestible monthly payments, the cost can become more manageable.
- Printed materials, such as brochures and infographics, provide supplementary information that patients can take with them. Materials with easy-to-understand graphics and language summarize and distinguish your finance products.
Implementing these three steps will help build staff confidence while cultivating patient trust and understanding. At HCS, we work with dental practices and networks to enhance their patient financing programs through staff training, continuing education and an array of patient tools – in turn, helping to simplify the complexities of financing.