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AudioNova: focusing on the customer experience

Advising a customer in AudioNova’s São Paulo store

As part of its global rebranding, AudioNova, Sonova’s network of dedicated audiological stores, has set out to establish a uniform consulting and customer experience and to adapt the visual appearance of its stores. Brazil exemplifies some of the successes achieved. 

The reception area in AudioNova’s stores provides the first surprise. Leaving the noise of the street behind them, customers enter the peace and quiet of the store and are shown to a comfortable armchair where they can relax until it’s their turn to be served; with the quiet hum of the coffee machine and a shelf full of magazines, it’s reminiscent of a spa waiting-room.

The walls are hung with large-format posters featuring customers talking about their personal experiences; AudioNova’s professional advice and how individual solutions have helped them to reconnect to life. Lisa, for example, is now reintegrated into her family: “I can hear my family again and I am so glad that I didn’t give up.” The posters are part of an international campaign and are based on the successful slogan “better hearing starts with a story”. AudioNova has also been featuring local customers on the posters in Brazil since July 2014, a practice used in its other markets.


Visible success

The innovative, client-oriented approach being applied in a range of markets as part of AudioNova’s global rebranding is showing visible success. Implementing the new store concept in pilot branches in the cities of Santos and São Paulo saw new customer numbers rise by almost 40% in the first six months – even though there is no display window for passers-by to see into the store from the sidewalk. This may of course be the reason: Brazilians want to be able to hear well, but don’t like anyone to see that they need help to do so.


The spacious consulting rooms in AudioNova stores are decorated in cheerful colors, with plenty of white and green. There is a smooth-cornered wooden table and the consulting audiologist takes a seat beside the customer, rather than opposite – this is a conversation between equals. The rooms are so well sound-proofed that there is no longer any need for the restrictive hearing test booths into which customers normally have to squeeze themselves for hearing assessments. Every step in the fitting procedure takes place in the same room. AudioNova is the only provider in Brazil to offer this approach.

The customer is always right, and the audiologists have been specially trained to make sure this core value is second nature to them. This means that before they do anything else, they listen, listen, and listen some more – and only then will they recommend a product to suit the customer’s individual needs. The audiologist always inquires when the hearing problems first started and will ask which situations the customer needs help in; it’s all about dispelling fear and creating trust. All the cables and wires are hidden away under the table and customers are not preoccupied by any technical distractions; they are free to concentrate fully on their hearing test. Ongoing customer support, the third stage of the sales process, is also crucial, even after the sale has been made. This may include hearing workshops, for example.

With this rebranding, AudioNova is establishing a uniform global appearance, a coordinated consulting and sales experience, and a global communications style.


 


“Being passionate about understanding our customers’ needs, going the extra mile for individual service, and showing professional dedication to providing a comprehensive solution, not just a product, are the central values of the brand and are at the heart of AudioNova,” explains David Resch, Vice President Retail Marketing of AudioNova. Surveys in the Brazilian stores show that customers are highly satisfied with this approach. When asked about the refitted shops, they particularly praised the friendly atmosphere and the reception area.

Miguel Lotito also felt completely at ease on his first visit. The 76-year-old came to AudioNova on the recommendation of an audiologist who sings in the same choir as him and who suggested he drop in. A retired industrial engineer, he is also a lover of Vivaldi, Mozart, and Schubert: “I was looking for good sound quality, intensity, and pitch.” He has been wearing his first hearing aid on the left side for six months and is extremely satisfied. Good hearing is vitally important for him as he plays violin in a chamber orchestra. “But apart from that, I also have to be able to hear my wife,” says Lotito with a twinkle, “otherwise I’ll be getting into trouble at home!”


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