Our customers stand at the center of our business. Our business model is built on business-to-business (hearing care professionals, clinics, retailers) and business-to-consumer (end users, patients) customer relationships. Sonova establishes specific channels of engagement appropriate to the differing needs of each of these groups.
We ensure continuous dialog with our business-to-business customers through our sales representatives, brand tracker surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, advisory network, knowledge management and sharing, customer hotline and support, audiology conferences, online customer communities, and complaint management channels. We provide a broad range of professional training and courses that address the various specializations in the hearing care industry. We also organize e-learning seminars, road shows, face-to-face in-clinic training, and technical marketing material to help transfer our knowledge and train hearing care specialists.
We engage with end users and patients through satisfaction surveys and online consumer communities such as Hearing LikeMe.com and Advanced Bionics’ Bionic Ear Association (BEA™). HearingLikeMe.com brings together people whose lives have been touched by hearing loss. Up to 15,000 visitors worldwide – those with hearing loss, as well as parents, spouses, and hearing care professionals – benefit monthly from the site’s many educational and inspirational articles and videos. BEA™ aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss by providing valuable information, education, and awareness on cochlear implants. As a community of hearing health professionals and cochlear implant recipients, the BEA™ offers important support services to help recipients “Hear and Be Heard™”.
The Phonak Pediatric Advisory Board was founded in 1998 to help steer Phonak’s pediatric product development and establish and recommend industry-best practices to support the needs of children with hearing loss and ensure optimal outcomes for them. Among other activities in 2015, the Pediatric Advisory Board provided a guideline for using Receiver In Canal devices with children eight years and older. Anticipating innovative features and technologies to be introduced in 2016, a group of clinical experts on the advisory board recommended default settings for children of all ages, based on the Desired Sensation Level fitting philosophy.
Sonova’s employees are key to its success. We foster a spirit of innovation, shared engagement, and personal responsibility. Through our vision, we want to ensure that our employees experience their work as genuinely meaningful.
Sonova actively engages with its employees through regular employee satisfaction surveys and through its annual appraisal process. The employee appraisal meeting is an essential process to assess satisfaction, provide feedback, and define expectations for behavior and performance. It supports each employee’s personal and professional development and helps to build trusting relationships by providing a format for open dialog.
Sonova has 18,698 registered shareholders, who together own around 70% of the total shares. Shareholders’ interests are represented by the Board of Directors, which sets and oversees the general direction of the company.
We publish an Annual Report for shareholders and other stakeholders, and hold an annual General Shareholders’ Meeting, which provides a forum for discussion and debate as well as an opportunity to vote on compensation for management and the Board of Directors. Each share entered in the share register with a voting right entitles the holder to one vote in the General Shareholders’ Meeting.
Suppliers are an integral part of Sonova’s value chain. Our relationship with our suppliers is governed by Sonova’s Group Supplier Principles (SGSP), which are based on a range of international standards, customer requirements, and industry characteristics.
We assess all new suppliers on their management systems. We regularly audit and visit suppliers and inspect their management capabilities through employee interviews and on-site inspections.