Managing the front office of a veterinary clinic can quickly turn into a zoo (pun intended). You may have clients and patients waiting to check in, some waiting to be seen, and others wishing to check out after a checkup or procedure.
You may not know the total bill for a visit until the end of the appointment, which means clients have to wait in line to pay when they really should be focusing on their pets. With old-school credit card terminals, it’s impossible to accept payments during check-in, requiring you to do it at the end of the visit.
Luckily, there is a better way to process your veterinary payments that is convenient for all parties involved. After all, the comfort and health of each client’s pet is what’s most important. You can drive up your veterinary practice’s customer experience by implementing the following time-saving changes.
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Upgrade Your EMV Terminal
If your practice has upgraded to an EMV-certified terminal, congratulations! You’ve taken the right step toward protecting your business from fraud and bank-initiated chargebacks. That said, we’re all too familiar with the painstakingly slow EMV processing that plagues checkout lines.
Various factors contribute to slow EMV speeds. For one, the very nature of EMV cards requires unique authentication for every transaction, which takes more time than traditional magstripe processing. For another, most credit card terminals are natively installed. They connect to your network and have middleware, which slows down credit card processing speeds.
The technical stuff aside, any improvement in efficiency is appreciated at your front desk (and by your clients). You can speed up your checkout queue by upgrading to a fast EMV terminal.
Do those exist? Yes! By choosing a cloud-based terminal like the Smart Terminal, you can avoid middleware, reduce your PCI scope and liability, and speed up your EMV processing. The Smart Terminal, for instance, processes chip cards in just 3.61 seconds. Even if the average 11 second wait time doesn’t seem like a big deal, that time really adds up. Businesses that take 30 EMV chip transactions per day save up to 22 hours annually with PayJunction’s Smart Terminal!
Additionally, the time saved is greatly appreciated by your clients, who may be concerned about their pet’s health following their surgery or procedure. By showing this courtesy to them, you can leave a lasting impression that can turn a one-time client into a life-long customer.
Store Cards on File
Let’s take convenience one step further. What if we told you that you could save time on EMV processing and start accepting payments at the beginning of the appointment? The client already has to check in before their pet can be seen, so why not take the payment right then and there to reduce the touchpoints during a visit?
You might be thinking, “But I won’t know how much the service will cost up front.” The beauty of cards stored on file is that you don’t need to! You can take the card information securely up front and bill the amount after the appointment. This is possible with a Virtual Terminal that connects to your credit card reader and stores customer cards on file. To comply with PCI standards, you’ll want cardholder data to be tokenized, which is a superior security method that swaps out sensitive data for a random string of characters (known as a token) that has no value if breached. This method is preferable to encryption, which hides data that can be unmasked.
With tokenized cards on file, you can run the card at the beginning of the appointment and enter the final total after the client leaves. If the client is a repeat customer, you can simply process the payment without having to request the physical card. If you’re using PayJunction, cardholder data is securely stored for the lifetime of the account upon initial payment. This also means it’s stored under PCI Level 1 security standards — the highest security level available.
While they may appear small, time improvements like these can reduce bottlenecks at checkout, help decrease crowds in your front office, and save time for your front desk staff. That time could be better spent on delivering quality customer service, prepping for the next appointment or getting ahead on work.
Do you have any other efficiency tips to share with other vets? We’d love to hear from you!