Eleanor Young explores how capitalising on the increasing demand for patient finance could be the best thing for your practice in 2021..
From pessimism to optimism
It’s fair to say that many orthodontists and practice owners weren’t feeling too optimistic about the future during the months their business was closed.
But since reopening the doors in June following the first lockdown, practice after practice have told us how pleasantly surprised they were.
Many found that they had lots of new patient enquiries, and those who had been interested in treatment such as Invisalign® before lockdown were still keen, if not even more so, to go ahead.
There has also been a consistent theme from these practices that new patient enquiries are likely to convert into treatment uptake, and the majority also take up patient finance to fund their treatment.
The Zoom Boom
This so-called ‘Zoom Boom’ (as patients are said to be going ahead with treatments after becoming more aware of their appearance due to spending more time in video calls) in cosmetic treatments, and the fact that so many utilise finance to fund it, is something that’s hard to ignore when it comes to considering the future of your practice.
Especially as it could be here to stay. Indeed, in a conversation with the Head of Medenta, Richard Scarborough, late last year, Ash Parmar, from Smile Design by Ash, told us, ‘I think this boom period we’re seeing in cosmetic dentistry is for the long term. Looking good and feeling good – that’s what a lot of people want right now. Look at how eager people were to get back to the hairdressers after lockdown? It’s a similar situation with cosmetic dentistry.’
Maximising the opportunity
If you already offer Invisalign® and patient finance, are you actively promoting it to new and existing patients?
Your marketing may have taken a backseat during lockdown. Or perhaps you’ve fallen into the common trap of assuming everyone knows that you offer them. If so, now might be the perfect time to revive your marketing and proactively promote what you offer.
If you don’t currently offer these kinds of services, maybe 2021 would be the perfect time to introduce them. There is a clear demand for both cosmetic treatments and the finance to fund them; if you don’t offer them, you could risk falling behind as patients find other practices that can better meet their expectations.
And while we all hope that 2021 will be less challenging than last year, we can’t predict the future. Many practices told us that patient finance was a very welcome boost to their cash flow following the months of enforced closure.
Which means that not only is patient finance worth considering putting in place for the benefits it brings to patients, but also for how it can support your business.
Your goals for 2021
The start of the new year is the perfect time to think about what goals you want your practice to achieve this year and there are clearly opportunities out there when it comes to offering patient finance.
If your plans for 2021 include strengthening your business, supporting patients to say yes to treatment and enhancing your overall service package, then introducing patient finance could be the best way to start the year on a positive note.