Going curbside was a major change for the veterinary industry due to the pandemic.
While some practices made the switch with little to no issues, others still struggle to get the process right. This is largely due to the fact that many vet clinics still use old-school payment systems that make taking remote payments inefficient and time consuming. Client expectations have forever changed, and without the ability to properly offer safe interactions, clients may look elsewhere for their pet care.
I think clients have been given a taste of what curbside feels like, and some practices are going to be challenged to implement that option. If they don’t, clients may start looking for practices that are offering [curbside] and potentially change for that reason.
Services at veterinary practices are also expanding and evolving to meet demand. Curbside isn’t the only new, remote servicing option. Veterinary telemedicine has also proven to be convenient and popular for certain types of care. Either way, your practice should be suited for any scenario, as 2020 has helped us realize. Below, we cover four efficient ways to implement remote payments to complement your vet practice’s remote servicing.
4 Ways to Implement Efficient and Secure Remote Payments
- Use Invoices to Collect Remote Payments
The rise of curbside drop-off and pick-up is convenient (and adheres to social distancing) but it means that clients are not in the office to pay for services. One convenient and secure solution is to process payments by sending customers an invoice payment request for an amount due. This feature elevates the customer experience for vet practices, especially when the final amount due may not be determined until an initial examination is complete.
Use a Virtual Terminal to log in from anywhere and create an invoice by entering the amount due, associating it with a customer’s file, and emailing a request for approval and payment. Optional features allow you to include details such as a breakdown of procedures or medications and attach the actual invoice or supporting documentation.
Customers also appreciate the convenience of digital invoices, since they are faster and more secure than reading card numbers over the phone. A typical transaction goes like this: 1) the client receives an email with a request to pay the amount due; 2) they enter card and customer data into a simple form; 3) they press “pay” to send it along for processing.
- Set up Automated Recurring Payments
Securely capturing and storing payment information associated with customer records makes it easy to collect one-time, installment or recurring payments for services such as prescriptions, doggy daycare and wellness plans. With the ability to store clients’ cards on file, scheduling a veterinary payment plan takes just a few clicks.
Streamlining your recurring payments boosts your cash flow by lowering your accounts receivable. Payment schedules can be customized to bill daily, weekly, monthly or annually. Set an end date for short-term payment plans or leave it blank for indefinite services.
You’ve built a loyal clientele by being a trusted provider of veterinary services that keep furry family members healthy and happy. The last thing you want to do is put someone in a position to deny their beloved pet a much-needed surgery or treatment because they cannot afford to pay it all at once. Offering the option of payment installments to cover the surgery removes a stress barrier and becomes a lifeline. You can set up a payment plan to automatically process payments based on an agreed upon schedule.
- Collect Payments From Your Website
Turn your website into a convenient place for clients to pay for services from their desktop, phone or tablet. Hosted Checkout adds a simple “Pay Now” button to your website that directs customers to a secure billing page where they enter their payment information. You can give your clients the option to add items to a shopping cart or specify an amount to pay if they have outstanding balances.
Hosted Checkout is a great option for customers that either (1) electronically pay an invoice for prescriptions or appointments or (2) make online appointments for things like grooming or doggy day care packages. Best of all, Hosted Checkout doesn’t require any website development skills or the purchase of third-party software, and the data collected remains outside of PCI scope.
Always be sure to use a hosted checkout feature from a provider that is secured to the highest standard.
- Take Secure Phone Payments
One of the most efficient ways to process telephone payments is through a cloud-hosted Virtual Terminal. You simply connect to a secure portal via your web browser, enter login credentials, and type in card data. After the transaction is run, a receipt is emailed to the client to sign on their computer by mouse or smartphone with a finger. The signature is captured and automatically logged with client history in the Virtual Terminal, which allows you to quickly locate a transaction if a customer calls in questioning a charge.
Be sure to enable Address Verification Service (AVS), a fraud-fighting measure supported by the card brands. While it’s likely that Fluffy’s mom is not a fraudster — and she certainly wouldn’t risk the relationship of her trusted vet — running AVS lowers your credit card processing rates, and the savings can really add up (especially for expensive surgeries and treatments).
Alternatively, you can use Secure Manual Key Entry if you have a Smart Terminal with that capability. This reduces PCI scope, which translates to a much simpler PCI validation process for you.
Having the right solutions and processes in place to support these new business models results in a better customer experience, faster cash flow, time and labor savings, and reduced fraud.
Improve Your Vet Practice’s Remote Payments Today.
What has been the biggest strain on your vet practice when it comes to remote payments? Tell us in the comments below.