Realtime Reception News

Card or Cash?

Card or cash?

Card or cash?

So you have given a treatment to a client and you ask them to pay. They haven’t got enough cash or a cheque book. Do you:

  • Tell them where the nearest ATM is?
  • Ask them to post you a cheque?
  • Take a payment by card?

News yesterday that that the UK might ditch the penny coin, swiftly followed by a kind of promise that we won’t.  But we kind of will won’t we, because we are using cash so much less, and contactless is so easy…..

I don’t keep pennies anymore, they all go straight into the charity tin next to the till. I can’t think of any other use for them, they are heavy, they don’t buy anything, why keep them. Well the charities will be sorry to see them go, but even for them the value in a full collecting tin is minimal.

For small businesses though the difficulty is to collect payment without the cost of card readers and merchant accounts. Nobody offers this free to business but there are a few suppliers of card readers that don’t need a merchant account. Square-up, Stripe, iZettle and Sumup charge between 1.4% to 1.7%. there don’t appear to be any other charges, but they hang on to your funds for a couple of days so presumably they make money from investing those funds.

Banks tend to charge  a flat monthly fee for current accounts for small businesses, ranging from £5 upwards, but they also charge for cash or cheque payments, with the exception of Santander which charges £20 fixed monthly

fee.  If you pay in £500 in cash you will pay anything from £1.50 to £5.00, and if you pay in 5 cheques you would be charged from £1.50 to £3.00. Using a card reader this would be around £7.50.


Beating the Beast From The East

Roughton in the snow

It’s beautiful but….

I guess we are all a little tired of hearing about the beast now but I must bring your attention to our heroic team, who made it here through thick and thicker.

Emma, Jackie, Michelle, Denise and Sue (who was actually on a day off!) made it here and manned the phones for all our clients on Wednesday and Thursday last week. Jean and Nicki worked from home, Jean was monitoring voicemail. It was impossible to get here by car bus or train so the rest of us just didn’t make it.

Many of you wrote in to show your appreciation of their effort and we really do thank you for that.

Is there a growing trend towards missed bookings?


missed bookings mean lost income

I’m wondering because I read a newspaper article on missed bookings in restaurants, and one of the points they made was that it only takes one table of five to not turn up and they have lost their profit margin. The implication of the article was that missed bookings are a trend and it’s not just bad manners, it really matters to small businesses.

I wonder if this is also happening in private healthcare services, such as the ones that our clients supply. A customer who fails to turn up for a booking means lost income, (and a waste of time, you generally wait a bit and then its too late to get on with anything before the next customer arrives). We don’t “see” at this end, whether customers turn up so we can’t tell if this a big problem. We always remind customers routinely that they should give at least 24 hours notice of a cancellation, and several clients get the customer to sign an acknowledgement of this. But its no good if this is the first appointment, (see my blog on young men time wasters).
So my question is – Is this an increasing problem? Are the public more inclined to book something and then drop it?

If you think this is a problem there are several solutions:

  • reminder texts and emails
  • reminder calls
  • prepayment by credit card. (At least you don’t lose income)

Several of our clients have mentioned it and requested we take a prepayment deposit or full fee. Contact us if you’d like further information on any of these.


Young men are wasting NHS time

missed appointment

Are young men too scared to keep their clinic appointments?

The number of missed appointments reported by the NHS has risen…….. and the main culprit is young men. This is no surprise to us, private practices find the same problem.

I used to have young male patients call to book an appointment for the same day and they would then fail to attend! Why? Personally, I think they are much more nervous about medical things than women. Older men are pretty poor at attendance too, they tend to avoid making an appointment, so at least they aren’t wasting your time.

Now I charge before the appointment, I don’t mind if they don’t turn up so much then. At Real Time Reception we can help you make a success of your practice by taking a deposit or prepayment for appointments.

But that still leaves the patient with a problem, how to reassure them that it won’t hurt, and we will cure them?

5 FAQs You Always Wanted to Ask about Virtual Reception Services

piggy bank

Virtual receptionist services – what are you paying for?

It is a bit brutal but there are questions that I am often asked about virtual reception services and they boil down to – what am I paying for?

Keep in mind that virtual receptionists are not robots or computers. They are people.

1. Why do I have to pay if I decide to take some time off work and answer calls myself?

Read more…

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