Discounts and Courtesies
Some people may not be able to afford dental care because, for example, they may not have insurance or a discount plan. Dental treatments are crucial in bettering patients’ oral health. Clinics could offer discounts and courtesies to help and attract patients who could not afford to pay for their treatments and services. However, they affect the clinics’ finances and reputation.
Clinics could utilize a variety of discounts and courtesies to assist patients with their payments. While they may help convince patients to accept treatments, Rhonda Savage, “CEO for Linda L. Miles and Associates,” states that the dental clinic’s staff’s “verbal skills, [connection] with the patient, and excellent case presentation” still significantly affect patients’ decisions (2012). Even so, dental clinics could administer discounts in many ways. For instance, patients without insurance could pay “in full before treatment” in order to receive a discount (Alterton 2015). Regarding patients who pay for treatments over a time period, clinics could “[offer] a 5% pay-in-full discount, a 2% discount for a three-month payment term, and no discount for more than three to six months, [all of which] will motivate patients to put this debt at the top of their list to pay off” (Tenney 2017).
However, discounts have long-term effects on the clinics. While some dentists could give discounts to patients because they feel sympathetic towards them, they may have to give discounts to the other patients as well (Savage 2012). Also, when dentists reduce the prices of their treatments and services, they “must increase [their] volume of sales” in order to pay for costs such as “staff overhead” (Savage 2012). Instead of liberally applying discounts to treatments and services, dentists could offer reduced prices with caveats. For instance, dentists could give discounts to people who recommend their clinics to other people (Arulrajah 2017). They could offer discounts to new patients, who may or may not visit them regularly for appointments in the long run (Arulrajah 2017). In addition to concerns about overhead costs, discounts may affect the patients’ viewpoint of the clinic (Arulrajah 2017). For instance, dentists could give discounts for a limited time, but according to Naren Arulrajah, “president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing,” “If you frequently advertise the same procedures, people will associate them with your practice. This can be beneficial for building your reputation. It can also be detrimental if you’re advertising procedures that don’t reflect your brand” (2017). Some clinics could still prosper financially without discounts if their target market is “a demographic with substantial disposable income. In that situation, a reputation as a discount dentist would not be beneficial. However, patient incentives can be tailored to any practice and any target market” (Arulrajah 2017).
While discounts are not the only factor that affects patients’ decision for treatments, they still provide patients reduced costs on their bills. Clinics should determine how to apply discounts to their services, while considering their finances and reputation.