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How dentists can improve their payment processes

How dentists can improve their payment processes

6 min read

From booking appointments online to QR codes at reception, dentists have been quick to embrace the tech revolution. But in the rush to make your patients’ lives easier, it’s important to remember that efficient payment processes can play a big role in optimising your customers' experience.

There’s no doubt about it: a trip to the dentist is stressful for a lot of people. What may seem like a routine procedure to you as a dental professional, may be a daunting prospect for many of your patients – in fact, 36% of adults say they get anxious just about going for a check-up. So anything you can do to ease their visit is likely to be much appreciated. And that’s where innovative payment solutions come in.

Offering simple and varied payment options can provide some peace of mind for your patients on what they might see as a traumatic (and pricey) occasion. A good payment system can also boost the efficiency of your practice.

Read on to explore the different ways to improve your payment processes – for the good of both your business and your patients.

Find out how Tyl by NatWest can help your dental practice.

Improving the way you take payments

While cash remains a popular choice, contactless cards and mobile transactions have resulted in big changes to the way people pay. As a modern business, it’s important you go with the flow. Here are some of the top ways to keep up with the digital age.

Choosing the right card and payment machines

Think there’s only one type of payment machine? Think again. Whether you run an independent dental practice or a national chain, there are plenty of flexible options to suit the needs of your customers and your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the card and payment machines that are available.

Point-of-sale (POS) systems

POS systems are a handy way to take different types of payment. They can handle everything from cash to debit and credit cards to Apple Pay and Google Pay. But there’s much more to modern POS systems than that. They use software that helps manage your customer information – including payments and visits – and even set employee access/use permissions.

Learn more about our POS system

Countertop card machines

Want to take all your payments in one location, such as a reception desk? A countertop card machine could be the answer. These gadgets process card and mobile payments securely and give your patients the choice of whether to make a contactless payment or use CHIP and PIN. Just remember that these plug-in machines need to stay in the same place.

Explore our countertop card machine

Portable card machines

Useful for larger practices with lots of rooms and waiting areas, portable machines take payments on the go. Bringing the machine direct to your patients can prevent long queues forming at your reception desk and gives your customers the option to pay without having to hang around after their appointment has ended.

Find out more about our portable card machine

Pocket card machines

A pocket card machine could come in handy if you work across multiple practices or visit patients at home. They’re compatible with a host of payment types while fitting neatly in your pocket like a smartphone.

See what our pocket card machine offers

Helping your customers to choose where to pay

Transactions don’t necessarily begin and end with physical machines – they’re just one part of a wider payment experience. Here are some things to consider about providing your customers with different payment options.

In the consultation room

A portable or pocket card machine can accept payments without the need for a visit to reception. Depending on the device, it’s easy to set up with 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. And your patients can simply tap or insert their cards when their treatment is complete so they can quickly get back to whatever they need to do.

At the reception desk

Despite your best efforts to create a welcoming environment, it’s understandable if patients feel a bit nervous before or even after their dental work. That’s where a friendly face and a simple payment process at reception can be a big help, and even speed up the process for you and the patient.

Alternatively, if you just want a basic card machine that centralises payments at reception, a plug-in countertop device could be a good option.

Over the phone

Phone payments are a convenient option if your patients need to hurry back to work or head to another appointment after they’ve seen you. You can take a payment after their treatment or even in advance of their visit.

Many card machines can be customised to handle phone payments where the card isn’t physically present. Alternatively, you could use something called a virtual terminal, which is an online tool that you access using a smartphone, tablet or computer. Simply tap in your patient’s card details to make the payment.

Learn more about virtual terminals

Moving payments online

Are you looking to take your online presence to the next level? If so, it’s easy to set up secure payment pages on your website. Patients just need to fill in their details and your website takes care of the rest.

If your practice’s website needs a bit of work, providing payment links might be worth exploring instead. This involves sending customised links to your patients by email, instant message or text. When they click on the link, they’re sent to a payment page.

Find out more about paying by link

Being transparent and open about prices

From crowns and fillings to root canal procedures, dental treatments play a vital role in ensuring people’s day-to-day wellbeing. But these specialist services come at a cost. And with more than 43,000 dentists registered in the UK, competition is fierce.

For these reasons, it’s vital to be transparent about your pricing. Being clear about costs before treatment can prevent any confusion and even reduce stress for patients who might be anticipating an expensive bill. It can also minimise the risk of payments being missed.

Online invoicing systems enable you to let your patients know about potential fees in advance. Many POS systems also include invoicing features and can help you take deposits.

Offering payment plans and invoicing

Fixing people’s teeth is a serious business and getting the right care doesn’t always come cheap – many people find paying for their treatment in one go difficult. With that in mind, giving your patients the option to spread the cost of their treatment is another way to improve the service you provide. It can make their treatments more affordable, helping them avoid a financial crunch in the short term.

With the right payment system in place, it’s easy for your business to keep track of when every instalment is due and keep on top of the outstanding balance. Regular invoices keep people in the loop and act as helpful reminders. Meanwhile, phone and online payments can make everyone’s lives easier – patients don’t need to visit your practice to pay each instalment in person.

Making payments work for you

There’s more to payment processes than simply asking your patients for their money. Building payments into your wider customer journey can reduce friction and speed up your processes. It can also help you forge lasting relationships with your patients.

Want to know more about different payment solutions? Compare Tyl card machines and check out our pricing today.

If you’d like further information, we’re always happy to chat. Just give us a call on 0345 901 0001.

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