In today’s shifting health marketplace, it’s difficult to know how many other out-of-pocket expenses your clients are dealing with when they walk into your office. Healthcare costs fluctuate on an ever-shifting balance sheet, at times, unpredictably. If your patient has other medical needs, hearing devices may fall into the category of “unnecessary expense.”
That’s where a financing option like CareCredit can help. As hearing care practitioners partnering with CareCredit, your patients will have the option to pay off their treatment plan in easy, monthly installments. Easing your patient’s financial stress will help strengthen your practice’s client base. But don’t take our word for it.
4MyHearingBiz went to the source to find out how CareCredit has benefited hearing care practitioners, as well as their patients.
This week we talked to Ronniere Robinson, owner of HearSay Services of Delaware, Inc. in Milford, Delaware, who runs the audiology practice with his wife, Pamela Robinson, AuD, FAAA. Pamela received her BS from Howard University, a MS from Columbia University, and her Doctor of Audiology from A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Sciences. A former manager of audiology at Bayhealth Medical Center, Pamela founded the practice in 2007. She has served two terms as president of the Delaware Board of Audiologists, Speech/Language Pathologists, and Hearing Aid Dispensers. She also served as president of the Delaware Speech-Language-Hearing Association (DSHA). On the national level, she was nominated as secretary of the Council of State Association Presidents (CSAP) while serving as DSHA President.
Customizing the Patient Experience
4MyHearingBiz: What do feel differentiates your business from your competitors?
Ronniere Robinson: We are health professionals with more than 50 years [combined] in the industry. Our practice offers friendly, patient-focused hearing care services; pricing options that make purchasing easier; are locally owned; and have a reputation for supporting the community. We are a full-service hearing health facility, not just a hearing aid distributor and we are also in a convenient location for our clients.
4MyHearing Biz: Have you adapted or changed any of your tactics or strategies in the last 5-10 years in response to the competitive landscape (eg, to better suit clientele, offerings, pricing, marketing, etc…)?
Robinson: We stress to our clientele that hearing health goes beyond walking out the door with a new hearing aid. We have made our office hours more accommodating by offering later evening or earlier morning appointment times, including Saturdays and Sundays. HearSay Services has adopted a scheduling method that allows for walk-ins and same-day appointments. Our pricing is competitive while still providing suitable solutions. We have a “try before you buy” policy with no cost/obligation prior to hearing instrument purchase.
4MyHearing Biz: How do you view patient financing as a tool/service in a hearing care practice?
Robinson: As the economy dims, the use of other payment options has been an ideal solution for many patients. The ability to offer fair financing with repayment options has increased our hearing aid sales.
4MyHearingBiz: When and how do you let your patients know about payment options? Where do you find it best to insert the payment option message?
Robinson: While discussing the purchase our first suggestion is CareCredit. Prior to the day of consultation, patients receive a hearing aid information packet. Inside the packet is a pamphlet about CareCredit along with an application. We have also utilized the pamphlets to mail to patients identified as needing a hearing aid. There is a statement included on our website that we accept CareCredit. We also conduct on-site, online applications which expedite the approval process as well.
4MyHearingBiz: Do you ever insert patient financing into marketing or have your receptionist mention it to people when they call in?
Robinson: Office assistants offer CareCredit as a payment option when fielding calls about cost as well as when clients visit our office in person. CareCredit is also offered to walk-in patients that are considering hearing instruments. Brochures and stand-up table signs from CareCredit are in every room of our facility.
CareCredit in Practice
4MyHearingBiz: Who are the most likely patients to use financing? Can you give any examples of typical and atypical users of CareCredit?
Robinson: People wanting premium hearing aids who may not have immediate cash flow; as an alternative to using existing credit cards or those not having a major credit card; a preference for spreading payments out; those having an immediate need; those interested in 12-18 month interest-free options; and individuals who want to track their medical spending.
4MyHearingBiz: What has patient financing done for your patients and your business?
Robinson: For patients, it has given them purchasing power and better choices that work better in the long run. In the practice, is has allowed us to reach a wider customer base and provide options not available at other sites. It also alleviates us from having in-house payment plans.
The Q&A was provided to the 4MyHearingBiz community by CareCredit, The Hearing Review, and contributors from the hearing healthcare industry who share their opinions and perspectives with our community.
Portions of this Q&A interview may have been edited for clarity or length.
Images: Courtesy of CareCredit, HearSay Services of Delaware