The age of social distancing, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, has incentivized businesses to discover new ways to minimize the amount of human contact that goes on in their offices. These ways include having employees work from home, reducing the number of clients on site at a given time, and implementing curbside waiting rooms and wellness forms.

As businesses have attempted to set up proper social distancing, they’ve also had to maintain effective communication with customers. Consolidated lines of communication make it easier to call, text, and email clients in spite of social distancing protocol. It’s also important that businesses keep a personal touch in their communication by utilizing customer insights and scheduling software.

Social distancing after appointments is just as crucial as before and during client visits to your office. Much of the post-appointment conversation between administrative staff and customers involves handling payments. Depending on how your office deals with payments, you can simultaneously protect customers and staff from COVID-19 threats and optimize your existing payment platform.

In fact, optimizing your payments in the age of social distancing is synonymous with protecting people with contactless payment options. This blog post discusses how adding contactless payments, prioritizing them over credit cards, and using analytics are some of the best ways to improve your office’s payment processing in the new normal.

The statistics included in this article come from an independent survey commissioned by Weave this year to understand the payment preferences of 750 different healthcare providers and patients.

1. Adding Contactless Payments

The first step for accepting payments in the age of social distancing is adding a contactless payment. What is a contactless payment? A contactless payment is a payment method that doesn’t involve a physical exchange, such as traditional methods like cash, checks, and the swiping of credit cards.

Contactless payments can involve mobile wallets, which are offered through companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung. They can also take place with a simple text message. At Weave, we refer to our text payment feature as Text to Pay.

The respondents in the survey recently commissioned by Weave had a lot to say about contactless payments. Let’s take a look at why both providers and patients want to use contactless payments.

Employees and Contactless Payments

Healthcare practices are finding that contactless payments are necessary if they want to set themselves apart on the market. 70% of the healthcare employees interviewed said contactless payments are now a competitive advantage. Those practices hoping to remain viable in the present and thrive in the future need Text to Pay.

High-growth practices are significantly more interested in contactless payments than low-growth practices. In the survey commissioned by Weave, high-growth practices were 40% more likely to say Text to Pay improves the patient experience. High-growth practices understand that contactless payments protect their customers and make their service more satisfactory.

The overwhelming majority of practices recognize how contactless payments are uniquely capable of promoting good social distancing. 73% of the healthcare providers in the survey said contactless payments support social distancing. Because social distancing has become standard practice in the healthcare industry almost overnight, it’s crucial that offices build social distancing into their payment processing.

The demand for contactless payments stems directly from the COVID-19 crisis. According to 71% of the healthcare employees in the study, coronavirus has increased patient interest in contactless payment options. Taking action by offering Text to Pay is a great way to meet this increased demand.

Right now, only 19% of practices feel like they’re using texting to its fullest potential. The younger generation of clients prefers text options in their communication with healthcare providers, and this communication shouldn’t be limited to scheduling appointments and answering patient questions. Text payments increase employee productivity and protect everyone in your office through social distancing.

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Patients and Contactless Payments

Employees aren’t the only ones who recognize the value of contactless payments. Of the healthcare patients interviewed in the study, 64% of them said they feel safer using contactless payments compared to traditional payment methods. This response makes sense; cash, checks, and cards inherently risk the transfer of germs and viruses.

Just the idea of touching a payment portal, whether it’s swiping, tapping, or scanning, is problematic for many patients. 43% of the patients surveyed said touching a payment portal is risky business. Practices that allow their customers to forego this risk increase the likelihood of a pleasant customer experience.

Contactless payments are no longer a thing of the future. 68% of healthcare patients prefer contactless payments according to the study commissioned by Weave. If healthcare providers aim to attract more customers and keep their current clientele happy, they should strongly consider adding Text to Pay.

Weave’s Text to Pay

Weave created its Text to Pay feature to integrate contactless payments into the other communication tools it already offers businesses. The age of social distancing has revealed to us how using a text payment option allows businesses to keep their waiting room clear of improper social distancing while increasing the rate of collections.

Once your practice has patient credit card information on record, your administrative team can simply send a payment request to customers by text following appointments. These text requests are able to be customized and include a link to a site for submitting payments. Patients can make payments from the parking lot or from home without sacrificing social distancing measures.

2. Prioritizing Contactless Payments over Cards

Healthcare practices aren’t going to switch to exclusively contactless payments yet. Payment methods like Text to Pay are one option among many. However, pushing for patients to use contactless payments optimizes their experience by protecting them from the threat of COVID-19 with good social distancing.

When asked about their preference between contactless payments and credit cards, the majority of healthcare providers stated they prefer contactless payments. 67% of them said they want to see more payments transition from credit cards to Text to Pay. Clearly, the age of social distancing has demonstrated the value of contactless payments.

Patients manifested a similar preference for contactless payments over credit cards. 68% of the healthcare clients interviewed said they think Text to Pay is more hygienic than credit cards. Practices should not only be offering contactless payments to their customers; they should be actively letting their clients know about the need to transition to text payment options.

Weave Payments

The complete payment platform offered by Weave gives healthcare providers the flexibility to continue to collect traditional payments while prioritizing contactless payments. You know about Text to Pay from the previous section, but we didn’t discuss the other features of the Payments tool. This tool includes secure payment processing and a terminal for point-of-sale transactions.

Payment processing can be a complicated affair when accepting various payment methods. With Weave Payments, you don’t have to deal with upfront or monthly fees. There’s one flat rate for each payment that’s processed. Along with Text to Pay, Weave Payments accepts major credit cards (Visa, AmericanExpress, Discover, and MasterCard), as well as HSA/FSA cards, prepaid cards, and mobile wallets.

3. Analyzing Your Payments and Communication

The business world has put a premium on collecting and analyzing data in recent decades. Gathering statistics on how your practice is functioning provides you with the opportunity to systematically approach the process of moving toward greater efficiency. Getting analytics on payments is as important as studying any other component of your business strategy.

Analytics are available through software that’s connected with your office communication and payments. Communication analytics look at phone calls and identify the times your office is busiest to help you get staffing optimized. Payment analytics show how customers are paying and when, letting you find better ways to collect payments and make your practice profitable.

Weave Analytics

The Analytics tool in Weave’s suite allows businesses to gather the data necessary to make better business decisions. It shows you to study call times and traffic. For dental practices, Practice Analytics identifies unscheduled patients and unscheduled treatments, letting you take immediate action by calling or texting. Recall Analytics helps you recapture customers you haven’t seen in a while by identifying those customers and easily messaging them.

Payments Analytics gives you the ability to understand how customers in your specific organization want to pay for services. While the general market trend is toward contactless payments over credit cards, you need to have the tools to make sure this is the right move for your patients.

Weave Payments in the Age of Social Distancing

There are three steps for businesses and healthcare practices hoping to optimize their payment processing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, add a contactless payment method like Text to Pay in order to protect employees and customers from community spread. Second, prioritize contactless payments over traditional payments like credit cards. And third, use Analytics to understand the best payment methods for your specific practice.

If you’d like to get a better idea of how Weave Payments works in the age of social distancing, contact our team today for a free demo.