The COVID-19 health crisis has forced dental practices to examine and implement procedures that provide for safe and healthy interactions between staff and patients. According to a recent survey from Visa, nearly 80% of consumers worldwide have changed how they pay in order to reduce contact and are rewarding businesses that take COVID-19 safety measures seriously.
The pandemic has fueled an exponential growth in both in-person and remote payment methods that promote healthy interactions. Office managers should take notice: nearly half of the respondents in Visa’s study stated that they would not patronize a business that only offers payment methods that require contact.
Healthy Payments, Happy Patients
Patients are interested in fast, germ-free ways to pay their dental bill and, as a result, many dental practices are upgrading their checkout process to reflect a safer, healthier payment experience. There are three primary ways to reduce staff and patient interactions when it comes to in-person payments:
- Eliminate passing cards: Customer-facing devices like ZeroTouch Terminals can be safely placed on the patient’s side of the counter so that staff do not have to handle credit cards.
- Eliminate keypad touches: Contactless payments allow customers to quickly pay with the wave of a card, smartphone or wearable device.
- Eliminate receipts: The card brands no longer require signatures and receipts for most in-person payments. Disabling signatures and receipts speeds up the checkout process and keeps germs off paper and pens.
A recent survey of our customers concluded that business owners are pleased with solutions that eliminate touch points and create a healthy checkout process. Most plan to continue using contactless payment features even after the current pandemic recedes.
Socially Distant Remote Payments
Forward-thinking office managers are supplementing in-person payments with safe and easy remote payment methods that help improve cash flow by replacing traditional paper-based invoicing with on-demand remittance. Let’s drill into the details of a few easy methods to obtain payments remotely.
- Telephone Payments The card brands consider payments taken over the phone to be riskier than those processed in person. Make sure you follow security best practices, including Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV), that help reduce fraud for keyed credit card transactions. Additionally, if a portion of your trusted clientele prefer to pay by check, you can extend them the convenience of ACH phone payments. Consider using a Smart Terminal to key in payment information, as it is more secure than using a computer keyboard. The terminals feature advanced security technology that encrypt the data before routing it for approval.
- Remote Invoice Payment Requests Mailing invoices and waiting for payments to come in is inconvenient for customers and inefficient for your business. Creating and sending a request for remote payment via email is efficient, especially when a balance is due following insurance reimbursement. The customer simply opens the email, taps on the “pay now” button and enters card details into a secure form.
- Hosted Payment Pages Add a simple “Pay Now” button to your website that directs customers to a secure billing page where they enter the payment amount and sensitive card information. It doesn’t require any website development skills or the purchase of third-party software.
- Flexible Payment Plans You’ve built a loyal clientele by being a trusted provider of essential services in times of need. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting many families, friends and businesses in the communities you serve. Denying service to long-term patients who are financially struggling can further put them in harm’s way and result in a loss of their business in the future. Solutions that allow valued customers to pay over time are a lifeline in times like these. Set up recurring payments to securely store patient and card or bank account details so you can automatically process payments based on an agreed upon schedule.