Media - Sonova News Room
Making the customer experience even more positive
To ensure that Australian hearing care professionals and their customers can make the most of what Unitron solutions have to offer, Sonova’s Unitron brand runs workshops for audiologists – and experience shows that sales figures rise after participation in such events.
Manoly Khamphuong is excited. The audiologist has made the trip from the suburbs to Unitron’s Australian headquarters in Sydney; as she reports, she has already recommended Unitron’s Flex system to many customers but she is keen to see the number of users grow. She is hoping to discover more about the technological advantages and additional features of the Flex system for users and audiologists at a workshop, and also intends to find out the best way of passing this knowledge on to the customer – and thus ultimately of boosting sales figures.
In my experience, people who are trying out a hearing aid for the first time are particularly enthusiastic about the system. They can take away a test device right after their very first visit without having to make a commitment straight away.”
Manoly Khamphuong, audiologist
Khampuhong takes a seat with three other audiologists in Unitron’s bright and airy conference room. The scent of freshly brewed coffee fills the air and the AC whirs gently as images of Unitron’s hearing systems are projected onto a screen. Workshop leader Catherine Brown, Unitron Sales & Audiology Support Representative, first asks the participants how they have found working with Flex:trial. Khampuhong explains that it breaks down barriers during the sales process and makes wearing hearing systems easier: “In my experience, people who are trying out a hearing aid for the first time are particularly enthusiastic about the system. They can take away a test device right after their very first visit without having to make a commitment straight away.”
Australia is one of Unitron’s core markets; the Sonova brand is strongly positioned there and has enjoyed many years of success. Here too, audiologists are able to offer their customers an opportunity to test out a device before deciding on a purchase – Flex:trial has been successfully presented to hearing care professionals at workshops right across the country since 2012. These were initially half-day courses dealing exclusively with Flex:trial, Flex:ugrade and Log It All, but interest among audiologists was so great that the remit was expanded; sessions on marketing and consultation advice now feature in the program and the workshops have extended to a full day. Their success has proved Unitron right – after the workshops, the number of devices sold in attendees’ shops has risen by an average of 17.6%.
“The aim of the workshop is to work with the audiologists to establish how they can make best use of what Unitron has to offer,” says trainer Catherine Brown, who has a degree in speech therapy and audiology from South Africa. “Our key message is that we are not simply selling a product, we are providing hearing solutions!”. Participants are shown how Unitron’s Flex™ solutions, Log It All, its software, can specifically be used to address any misgivings, build trust, support the sales process and reinforce long-term commercial success.
Our key message is that we are not simply selling a product, we are providing hearing solutions!
Catherine Brown, Unitron Sales & Audiology Support Representative
The course also seeks to enhance audiologists’ (and hence users’) knowledge of the various options available under the Flex system, such as the Log It All function, which logs all the customer’s day-to-day hearing experience. Data about each acoustic environment and hearing aid settings is recorded, delivering a comprehensive, contextual picture. The lifestyle and user behavior information supplied by Log It All is extremely useful when it comes to selecting the appropriate performance level. “Log It All is an excellent aid, but there’s one thing it cannot be allowed to replace: listening to the customer!” says Brown, and the course participants nod in agreement. The advisory role played by hearing care professionals is becoming all the more important in an era when consumers’ preferences and wishes are evolving quickly, she continues. “At the same time, many customers want to be more involved in decision-making processes,” explains Brown.
This is precisely where the uControl app supplied by Unitron comes into its own; it enables customers to get involved in the advisory and optimization process. Using smiley emoticons on their smartphone, they can rate their hearing experience in various acoustic environments and situations. The customer’s personal impressions of their hearing is thus linked with the data recorded by Log It All using the app. “This means that the customers and audiologists can work together to evaluate in which situation and with which settings the customer was happy,” explains Brown; screenshots of the app functions are projected onto the screen behind her. Khamphuong remarks that she had heard of the uControl app before the workshop, but she hopes to use it more in the future. “It’s very helpful to get a refresher on the app’s features.”
Even after the fitting phase, customers can take advantage of the Flex:upgrade program to improve the performance of a hearing aid they have bought by taking it back to the audiologist for reprogramming – thus allowing them to explore a new performance level without having to get used to a new device. “So how can I convince a user to invest in an upgrade?” ponders Brown, before suggesting an option herself: “What about an open day, a Flex:upgrade day?” Unitron has already got the invitations ready, the trainer tells the course attendees: “All you have to do is put them in the envelopes!”
Manoly Khamphong is pleased with what she has learned by the end of the day: “I shall be taking lots of new ideas home with me – especially tips on how I can make the customer experience even more positive.” As Brown points out, the Unitron team will stay in contact with course participants after the workshop to provide support: “It’s just the beginning of an even closer working relationship.”