…in a recent survey, 90 percent of consumers indicated that they would rather leave the store than pay more due to a credit card surcharge. A similar study in Canada found that the introduction of a 3 percent surcharge would encourage 95 percent of credit card shoppers to switch stores.
It is a simple fact that making it easy for people to pay you will make it more likely that they will in fact pay you. That is, to buy something from you, which in our case means good dentistry.
Making it easy for a patient to afford good dentistry is one of the reasons I am such a big fan of Care Credit. Care Credit has a fast and easy system to use the Internet to get a virtually instantaneous decision on patient financing. It is hard to overstate the importance of acting quickly when the patient is in the office and is motivated to move ahead with good dentistry.
For example if a patient has been missing # 30 for a few years you can show her how she can afford an implant and crown for just a few hundred dollars a month or you can send her home and just tell her it will cost $3,000. If she believes she must come up with $3,000 right now it will be easy for her to put it off. After all it isn’t bothering her.
Numerous studies have shown that offering Care Credit patient financing increases case acceptance by as much as 200%.
That all seems so obvious and yet I often run into dentists who like the small businesses discussed in the linked article, take exception to the cost of financing and either do not offer it or charge extra for it. That is just foolish; the fact is that in our modern economy the cost of providing credit is simply a cost of doing business and should be built into your fees.
Any way you provide credit will have costs. All credit companies including credit cards charge a fee. Even if you carry the balance yourself you have the expense of billing and collections not to mention the occasional default. Or you may offer a cash discount. However you do it there is a cost to getting paid.
I understand how some dentists just look at their balance sheet and see that they paid out 3% or so to Care Credit and figure they can keep that money by either charging the patient a credit fee or not offering financing. (By the way it may be a lot less than 3% depending on the amount and the plan.) What the research tells us is that when patients are faced with either an extra fee or no financing option they will either go elsewhere or simply not get the treatment done.
Yes there is a cost to provide credit but it is clearly worth it. After all 97% of something is always better than 100% of nothing.