Customer Friendly Billing Tips
Provide A Positive Patient Experience!
When it comes to providing a positive patient experience, most dentists only think about the actual care that is provided when the patient visits their clinic. But what about after the patient has been treated, and it’s time for them to pay? Just as you aim for providing a superior, patient-friendly experience during treatment, you need to also focus on providing a smooth and trouble-free experience during the bill pay process as well. Many dentists lose valuable clients during the patient payment process as a result of poor billing management or insensitivity on the front office’s part when handling a struggling or slow-paying patient.
So what can dentists and dental office managers do to maintain (or even enhance!) patient relationships during the billing and collections process – all while still getting paid in a timely manner? Here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Be Diligent About Billing
If you expect to get paid in timely manner, then you need to bill in a timely manner. Simple right? Immediately after providing care, mail a billing statement to your patient’s current mailing address with all the necessary information for paying off their account. This includes the date of service, the services provided, the amount (if any) covered by the patient’s insurance, and the remaining balance due on the account. The goal is to make the payment process as quick and easy as possible for your patients, so do your part and make your billing statements as straightforward and helpful as possible.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Pick Up the Phone
While collection calls can sometimes be awkward, they are far more effective than simply sending a delinquent patient another bill. Just remember the goal of the call is to first understand why the patient failed to pay after receiving their bill, and then to agree upon a reasonable payment solution that settles the account in a manner that works for both you and the patient. Always use a friendly, pleasant tone when having these conversations and ask open-ended questions that allow you to ease into the subject and get a better understanding of the patient’s financial situation. Then after you have a better understanding for why he or she failed to pay, move onto discussing their available payment options. By taking the time to listen and agree upon a mutually beneficial payment plan, you will be strengthening that patient relationship and increasing the likelihood of a long-term, loyal client.
Tip #3: Call in the Experts
Many dentists are hesitant to hire an outside collection agency because they are afraid the patient-provider relationship will be damaged by the use of a 3rd party debt collector. But the reality is, today’s dental debt collection agencies (at least the good ones!) understand how important repeat visitors are to your practice and are careful to treat every patient just as you would. Collection agencies no longer simply target the highest possible recovery rates, but aim to provide a positive patient experience during the bill pay process in the interest of patient retention. So if your accounts receivable is starting to get out of hand, don’t be afraid to outsource some of your delinquent accounts to a proven, compliant collection agency that specializes in dental collections. Not only will doing so let you get back to doing what you do best (providing patient care), but will also go a long way in improving your bottom line.