Episode 497: 4 Steps to 98% Collections

Question: Is your practice making it hard for patients to pay you money?

The Dental A-Team is Team Online Statements over Team Paper Statements! This podcast episode is a sign your practice needs to get on the online statement train. Lots of practices struggle getting collections up because they’re doing it the old fashioned way!

Listen in for the four steps you should take to make it as easy as possible to collect payments from your patients!

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0:00:05.6 Kiera: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I had this crazy idea, that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective. Because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, where we have traveled to over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress, and create A-teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

0:00:52.3 Kiera: Hello, Dental A Team listeners, this is Kiera. You guys, happy day to you. I hope you're doing fantastic wherever you are, and I hope you are just enjoying life. I think I need this podcast more than you guys might need this podcast. I've got the COVID crank guys. I feel like I've just gotten angry and sick of not being able to hire people and frustrated with... Just feeling like I'm trapped. [chuckle] If any of you are feeling that way, hey, just shoot me an email, say, "Me too." You can text me. But I hope we can all remember. Today I... For me, when I'm in those modes I have to literally go to my journal and do gratitude, and I also listen to... I've got a podcast that I listen to over and over and over again.

0:01:38.9 Kiera: Yes, you guys know I'm obsessed with Tony Robbins. And this one is, the one... It says, "Change Your Life in 2021". And I will literally listen to that podcast over and over and over again and remind myself of how many great things there are in my life. I don't think it's important to say, my life could be so much worse 'cause while it can, that just negates your feelings of feeling yack.

0:02:00.6 Kiera: And right now for me I feel like I'm feeling very stagnant. But last night I had to remind myself that... Just like, the world has seasons, our life has seasons. And right now instead of maybe, being in massive growth in full bloom, it's not quite spring yet, so maybe being okay to hibernate, to slow down a little bit more, to get ready for that hustle and bustle of bloom seasons. I didn't feel like I really slowed down through the winter hibernation seasons and so, maybe just also allowing yourself and your practice to go through the seasons as well. That way you can have vibrant springs, you can have very flowing summers, you can have more harvest in the fall and then have that hibernation quiet time as well. But definitely give yourself that space and not mitigate the reality of what you're facing. So today guys, with that said, I'm here for you, if you wanna be here for me, I'll take it.

0:02:50.2 Kiera: So just email me guys... [email protected] I'd love to hear from you. I truly do. I enjoy hearing from you guys so thanks for being my pen pals. I never really had a great pen pal growing up. Did any of you guys have a good pen pal? 'Cause if you did, also tell me that. You guys, you don't understand... Your emails that are just like a "Hey Kiera, I'm a massive fan. I love the podcast. Yeah, I had a pen pal." Those ones are some of my favorite emails of the day. You guys, I average hundreds of emails every single day, and so to get those little sprinklings of fun ones, they just make my day. So thank you for those of you who have done that. And if you're thinking about it, do it.

0:03:27.4 Kiera: Also, I do love... And I travel a lot guys and I get bored a lot. I'm a very busy human. I appreciate when you guys leave us reviews on the podcast. You guys are helping. Shout out to this podcast, family guys, our downloads are cranking. So whatever you're doing, keep doing it. If you're sharing this, if you're leaving reviews, do it, do it again, have somebody else that you know do it as well. Because guys, we are on track to break that millionth download this year and you guys are the only way that we can do this.

0:03:55.3 Kiera: So, keep it up, we sky-rocketed in the month of January, February is on track as well, so guys, keep moving, keep moving. And the way you can help us out... I'll give you specifics. Number one, if you have not done so, go leave a five-star review on the podcast, whatever platform you're listening. That helps us 'cause it helps them rank us higher so other people can find us. Number two, download the podcast. I know it sounds so dumb but actually download it, not just listen, that helps it as well 'cause then more people will find us 'cause they're ranking us as a higher podcast. And number three share it on social platforms.

0:04:29.0 Kiera: So when you guys are listening, please guys, have a story about us, tag us in it, post if there's a great topic that you're loving... Post that podcast. 'Cause I know a lot of you guys are listening. You can even just take a quick selfie while you're in the car and tag Dental A Team podcast. You don't even have to list the episode. Those are three great ways you guys can help us radically increase our downloads and break that millionth download.

0:04:51.8 Kiera: Why do we care about one million downloads? I'll tell you. Because we're on a mission to positively impact the world of dentistry, in the greatest way possible. Well guess what? If you guys won't help us share the word, we can do the work all day long and create great content, but if you guys don't share, we're only going to be able to impact as many people as we have. Which is thousands guys. I can't believe how many people listen to this podcast. It's almost three years old guys. And guess what? You're helping to grow this into a legacy of helping other practices. So thank you guys, kudos to you, giving you a massive hug of appreciation. And with that, let's segue into a really great topic and that is on... Paper statements versus online payments.

0:05:29.3 Kiera: Oh, sexy, fun, everything more. Just shut the podcast off right now. I hate billing. I'm just kidding. I'm going to make it fun for you. So if your practice is sending out paper statements, rock on, I'm happy for you. If you have online payments, even better rock on. If you don't have online payments, get it done, because online payments are the way of the future. Let me just ask you guys, how many things do you pay online? Let's just quickly think of everything we pay online. I buy airline tickets online, hotels online, Amazon.

0:06:04.1 Kiera: I promise you, everybody here shops on Amazon. Amazon, I order Christmas presents on online, birthday presents, gift cards to favorite restaurants... 99% of everything we do is online. There's very few things that we actually still physically have to go to a location to do. So a lot of practices struggle getting their collections up because they're doing it a bit old-fashioned.

0:06:28.0 Kiera: That's okay, it's worked in the past, they're still a great thing for it. But paper statements, you guys, really I think are becoming a way of the past, and we need to make sure we have an easy way for our patients to do it... To make payments. I've thought about this; if I were to say, "Hey, could you please pay me, but I'm only available via check, which... Or you can call me during the hours that I'm available." I probably wouldn't get many people paying their payments, because odds are the hours that I'm available are the hours that they're actually at work making money to be able to pay those bills.

0:07:01.6 Kiera: Does it not feel a little backwards? If we really stop and think about what we've done. We're like, "You need to call us between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00." Like I have a company that's trying to get me to do a... Schedule an appointment. Oh, I wanna poke my eyes out. I'm not getting... I'm going on five months of trying to get this thing scheduled. Five. Count them up. One, two, three, four, five. The reason that it's a pain in the bootie is because they are asking us to go to this place from the hours of 10:00 to 3:00. I don't know if you guys know, but from the hours of 10:00 to 3:00, I don't take a lunch, my coaching calls go straight through. My husband is a pharmacist, and actually is a clinical pharmacist, so sees patients all day long in heart and vascular. So for us to get time to go to this appointment, what do we have to do? We have to take time off or do it on our lunch hours, but because my husband's in leadership and I run a company, so lunch hours really don't exist.

0:07:58.5 Kiera: Alright, doctors and teams, who's thirsty for more? Well, if you are that office who wants to just ramp up and you're thirsty for more knowledge and education and hot topics, well, guess what, guys? On the third Thursday of every month... That's right, third Thursday of every month, our team, Dental A Team, is putting on a free webinar for you guys.

0:08:20.5 Kiera: So it's from 5:30 to 6:30 PM Pacific Time. So that's 5:30 Pacific, 6:30 Mountain, 7:30 Central, 8:30 Eastern... Sorry, Easterners. But it's Thirsty Thursday, where we hit hot topics for you guys. It is free, come join us, go to our website, thedentalateam.com, register... Totally free, guys. We are there to answer questions, and it's always on hot topics. Can't wait to see you, the thirsty for more offices, joining us for Thirsty Thursdays. Let's raise a glass to that.

0:08:51.1 Kiera: And it's an appointment I don't really have a burning desire to go do. Hashtag paying payments is something people don't really wanna do, so how hard is it for them to actually get in your schedule and pay your bills? The answer is, we've made it very hard for them. I don't like to make it hard for people to pay me money. So how can you make it easier? Number one, the first and foremost easiest way to do it is you can actually contact your credit card processor and see if they could actually put that button on your website. Believe it or not, Dental A Team, our pages for payments, that the client surf there's like gold or silver or platinum, those are actually made by my credit card processing company. They made the web pages for my payment portal.

0:09:34.1 Kiera: So your credit card processing companies can do that. If you need a great credit card processor, give me a call. Email us [email protected] We've got some great ones that have great rates. Make sure you're... That's actually fun... Like just saving money for your practice is checking your credit card rates... But you can have them literally put a button on your website for you. So that's a great easy way to do it. Then you can update your software that says, make a payment online. How many of you when you're paying bills just go online to pay your bills? I will tell you I do it.

0:10:05.8 Kiera: The only time I call somebody is if my bill is different online than what it was on my paper statement. So there is a benefit of paper statements to let me know to pay it, but guess what. If we could go one step further and do a text to pay our statements, we're way more likely to actually text than to respond to paper. So for me, when it comes to online payments, first and foremost you gotta get it there.

0:10:27.5 Kiera: Secondly, Modento... And I do think... Don't quote me on this. I do think Dental Intel either has or is coming up with online payments. So those are probably my top two. Flex also does it for open dental. They only work with open dental. Modento works with all the major softwares. I know... Oh gosh, CareStack, they also have a built-in for online payments. But find a way to get online payments into your statements.

0:10:52.7 Kiera: I personally love to just text people their statement first. You can also email statements first. Think about how much money you're saving just on stamps and paper alone and printing by not mailing out these statements. Also they've proven you're much more likely to get a text message open rate than you are to have people actually respond to emails or mail. [chuckle] So that would be how I would suggest you set this up. Then if we are still mailing paper statements, totally fine. At the Dental A Team we actually love to send two statements, so that's 60 days worth of statements, if they haven't paid via a phone call or a text message. Okay? This is super important.

0:11:30.3 Kiera: A lot of people hear, "Oh, Kiera said I can still send two statements." That is true if you have already called them and texted them to try and get payment before we mail a statement. Okay, did you catch that? Only do you mail a paper statement if you've already called and texted to try and collect payment over the phone before we mail the statement. And that's both times we mail the statement. So for the 30-day statement and the 60-day statement.

0:11:56.0 Kiera: Then after that, on the 90-day statement we're gonna send our third statement on red paper. Again, this is assuming they have not responded to two phone calls, two text messages and two already normal letters. That means I've contacted them how many times? Two phone calls, two text messages, and two letters. That was two, four, six times I've reached out to this person. Okay? Then I'm gonna call them again, text them again.

0:12:23.9 Kiera: Now I'm up to eight times, I'm going to mail them a red letter. The red letter is going to be like a final statement. Okay... So you can see that red letter actually, Tiffany did it in a practice, drastically increased the collections because, guess what, they saw this red piece of paper through the little window that's going to probably tell them that they need to fix this quickly.

0:12:45.6 Kiera: So that's going to drastically help you guys out a ton. So make sure that third one you send on red paper. So those are some of the easiest ways, guys, to be able to get your AR down, get money into your practice faster and easier, and make it more convenient for your patients to pay you. But let's not forget the number one most proactive thing you can do, and that is make sure that we're collecting over the counter with correct estimates. I really can't tell you how much people are just like, "Well, we'll bill you," or, "We'll send you a statement." Guys, you can estimate a lot closer and more accurately.

0:13:21.2 Kiera: It's okay if there's a balance on the account, get smarter and adjust that for next time so you get more and more accurate. But please, please, please, please, please collect over the counter first rather than just sending statements, 'cause that's actually gonna cut down the need for online payments. The goal should be that we actually can reduce that exponentially.

0:13:38.5 Kiera: So just wanted to give you guys a quick like couple of ideas. I hope, if nothing else, number one, get a way to make payments online. I don't care if you use a software, I don't care if you call your credit card processor, but this quarter make it your goal that you will absolutely 100% have a way for your patients to pay online. Number two, call and text those patients, utilize those services. Again, like I said, Modento's great, Dental Intel is great, Flex is great. Find a way, that way you can text and email statements to your patients. Your software probably can do it, so check that first.

0:14:11.8 Kiera: Then the third thing is make sure we're calling and texting before we send those statements out. This way we can make sure that we're maximizing our time and helping our patients do it. Let's think of how is the easiest way for these patients to pay their bills? Well, number one, not to give them a bill, right? Number two, to have it convenient, 'cause most people are gonna pay bills after working hours when you're not in the practice. That's great, we wanna be collecting money when we're not working. And number three, how can we make sure that we have a solid follow-up process with them that makes it very easy and convenient; send out two white letters and send the third one out on red paper if they haven't paid.

0:14:49.6 Kiera: The goal is you should be sending out maybe one or two, maybe at the most 10 red letters a month, because we should have already been able to collect. So guys, I hope that was helpful for you. If you need help getting this set up, if you need us to help coach your billing team or your practice, just kind of helping review that, let us know. This is what we love to do. So email me, [email protected] This is literally my passion, my legacy, what I live to do.

0:15:15.4 Kiera: Yep, it's to geek out over dentistry. So call us, guys. There's nothing like having somebody coach you, guide you, mentor you, save you hours of time and make your life easier. And with that, thanks for listening. I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.


0:15:32.3 Kiera: And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.



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