Discussions of inflation and the economy continue to headline, and they are topics on most people’s minds, including your patients. To better understand consumer economic awareness, outlook, and spending behavior, every month Synchrony conducts a consumer sentiment survey. As one of Synchrony’s Heath & Wellness financing solutions, CareCredit is able to share this information with providers to give them insights that may help them adapt to meet the evolving needs of their patients.
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Unsurprisingly, people are stressed
In the survey, In Sync With Consumers, 61% of respondents indicated that they are very or extremely stressed about the economy. Recession concerns have about 42% extremely or very worried, and 78% overall are still concerned about inflation. In May, 67% of consumers were very careful about how they spent money, with inflation influencing their spending decisions.1
That’s a lot of data, and it seems to be not-so-good news. But those who have been in dentistry for some time know economic shifts are to be expected. The question is, how will the shift impact patients’ acceptance of dental care and for how long? And what can be done now to enable more patients to comfortably accept recommended dentistry? While there are no definitive answers to these questions, the data allows us to look at patient conversations from a point of understanding. It’s easy to understand that cost is often a barrier to care. What may be a solution, however, is payment options and how your team presents them to patients during an economic downturn. When patients come into your practice, they want to feel comfortable. Addressing cost concerns upfront instead of waiting until the fee discussion can be helpful. “Mrs. Jones, rest assured that we're doing everything we can to keep costs down. We have payment options including the CareCredit credit card with promotional financing to help fit within your family budget.” Mentioning early that you have a payment solution available should they prefer to pay over time with promotional financing on qualifying purchases may make some patients more at ease during the examination, treatment presentation, and fee discussion.
There’s good news, too!
So here’s a bit of good news: since the start of the year, recession concerns continue to trend downward from 47% overall in January to 42% in May. Anxiety about the overall economy is showing improvement as well, from 69% reporting feeling “anxious/fearful” to 61% in May. And consumers remain optimistic, with 66% of those surveyed indicating that they have a positive outlook for next year, an increase of 6% from May, 2022 and 3% from the month prior.1 It seems that people are more positive and less fearful. That's good news. None of us can control prices at the pump or the grocery store, and we certainly can’t control the economy. What we can do is consider how to better help patients financially so we can help them clinically.
Editor's note: CareCredit is a recent financial supporter of DentistryIQ.
- Synchrony In Sync With Consumers May 2023 survey. Published May 2023.
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