A Surprising Way to Improve Dental Compliance

The Skinny: Informing clients about your clinic’s payment options at the same time you present their estimate positively impacts dental compliance and revenue.  


The team at Lake Road Animal Hospital in Horseheads, New York, has done just about everything over the years to encourage client compliance with their dental recommendations.

They’ve offered discounts, more discounts, and DEEP discounts. They promoted these initiatives during Pet Dental Health Month and pushed their messaging out on their social media channels, clinic website, and in client handouts.

But it seemed that no matter what incentives they offered clients, they just weren’t scheduling appointments, and Lake Road’s dental compliance numbers didn’t budge.

Which meant too many pets weren’t getting the dental care they so desperately needed.

Until the Lake Road team decided to try something they’d never done before. Practice Manager Carrie Bowgren calls it a “leap of faith.”

They decided that whenever they presented a dental estimate to a client, they would consistently pair the estimate with a brief verbal introduction to their available payment options.

To make this easier, one team member was tasked with developing a Dental Payment Options Chart that automatically printed from their practice management software whenever they created a dental estimate. The chart clearly showed clients how much their monthly payments would be with a payment plan of 3 or 6 months.

Here’s what happened according to Carrie:

“First we trained our team so they would be comfortable initiating financial discussions with clients. Then we decided to simultaneously present our Dental Payment Options Chart during the discussion.

“We opened the conversation with phrasing like, ‘we know it sometimes isn’t comfortable to pay in full for the important dental care we’re recommending for your pet. That’s why we have various payment options in place that allow you to spread the cost over time, making it easier to move forward with the dental care your pet needs.’

Without doing anything else differently – without offering discounts or any other incentives – Carrie and her team noticed a shift right away.

“Something exceptional happened between July and the end of the year after we implemented this strategy,” said Carrie. “Our dental appointments were FILLING, and we saw a 30% increase in dental revenue compared to the same time period the previous year.”

Even more surprising? The Lake Road team noted that clients didn’t necessarily opt into payment plans to pay for their pet’s dentals. Most ended up paying in full, while those who truly needed to spread out costs took advantage of a payment plan.

Apparently, the simple gesture of making clients aware of available payment options broke down psychological barriers around cost and provided the impetus to act on their veterinarian’s recommendation.

This turned out to be a triple win – for the pet, the client, AND for Lake Road Animal Hospital.

Carrie and her team would never have guessed that their “leap of faith” would yield such stellar results.

Click here to download a copy of Lake Road Animal Hospital’s Dental Payment Options Chart to use as a template for creating your own.

Click here to view a 4 minute video clip about this from VetBilling’s MasterClass.

Hot Practice Tip: You can also encourage clients to pay ahead for dental procedures by setting up a Pay-in-Advance Plan in the VetBilling® platform. Forward book the appointment to schedule the procedure 3 to 6 months in the future. Then set payments to begin immediately. Pay-in-Advance Plans work exactly like regular payment plans except that payments occur before services take place. The added advantage of forward booking is that it encourages clients to commit to following through with recommended care. Questions about this? Reach out to the VetBilling® team anytime at 800-766-1918 or email us at clientsupport@vetbilling.com.