Orthodontic Practice. 8 branches. Most parents chose to pay monthly. They were sent a monthly coupon book.
Of course, many parents forgot or “overlooked” their payments so Fiona (Receptionist at Head Office) had to chase up any late payers. And there were many – every month. An onerous and unpleasant task. Many hours were spent each week doing this.
HOW DID WE FIX THIS?
We created a “New Patient Folder”. After the initial consultation, parents are now taken into a separate room by a “Treatment Co-Ordinator” (TC) where they’re given the paperwork in this folder – piece by piece.
It contains a
* “Welcome to the practice as a new patient” letter,
* “How to care for your teeth” leaflet,
* “About the practice” brochure,
* “How to claim Medical Benefits” handout,
* “Tax Implications” leaflet,
* “Preferred Payments Options” (PPO) form, and
* Direct Debit (DD) form. (we organised this through a Direct Debit Company for them)
THE NEW PATIENT PROCEDURE
When the TC gets to the PPO form, she asks the parent if they’d like to pay for the full treatment “up front” (they get a small discount if they do) or to pay monthly.
About 90% opt to pay monthly.
At that point she simply goes to the DD form, starts filling in the parents details and asks
“Would you like payments taken out of your bank account or a credit card?”.
A few don’t like the idea, so, they’re sent the old coupon books. (And they’re the ones Fiona’s probably chasing right now!!) But most DO select to pay either from their bank account or from a credit card. Why? Because that’s the way things are done here and some of their details have already been put on the form. AND, most people don’t like to rock the boat.
SO WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE TITLE OF THIS POST?
We introduced this new process in May one year. Six months later, in November, I took a call from John X, the owner of the practice. He wanted to complain about the new procedure, which, to the best of my knowledge was working brilliantly. I could prove that
1 bankings were up – for all 8 branches,
2 delinquencies were down,
3 Fiona was making less calls each month to chase those parents who still had coupons, and
4 there was much less administration time being spent on accounts.
So, why was John calling?
“Michael, every November we have a big push on debtors. We need to get in as much money as we can to cover for the slow Christmas period. This year, there’s nothing to collect, almost everyone’s paying on time!”