Despite the decline of high street in towns and cities across the UK, some businesses are bucking the trend, offering customers something different, to thrive in a brave new world.
And while many shops have already succumbed to the rise of internet shopping and ever-increasing rents, leaving empty shells in their place, there are a number of businesses that provide unrivalled, personalised customer service and are becoming a destination of choice and convenience.
Specsavers audiology operations director Carina Hummel says Specsavers is one of the companies taking up the mantle, with a vision to make audiology services more accessible and at the same time break the stigma of hearing loss.
She says Specsavers’ unique ownership structure with its store-based audiology partners, helps put the company right at the heart of the community.
‘We provide fantastic service and provide real care for our customers,’ she says. ‘Audiology is at the heart of our multi-category business and we are passionate about looking after our customers eyes and ears. Our ambition is to change perceptions of audiology, making it more accessible to the public and increasing awareness of hearing loss, ear conditions and diseases such as impacted earwax, tinnitus and Meniere’s disease.’
Carina explains that Specsavers’ audiology partners help to lead this mission from the front foot, driving the highest standards of clinical care, embracing new technology and taking on new challenges in an ever-evolving industry and market conditions.
Recent developments in store have seen Specsavers introduce a wax removal service to patients and Audiopad to assist with triage when a clinician is not available.
‘We are always looking at new ways to use technology to improve customer experience’, says Carina. ‘With developments in Bluetooth and wireless connectivity in hearing aids, we’re creating amazing opportunities to enhance the lives of our customers and allow them to hear well. Whether they’re using their phone, tablet, TV or apps, their hearing device can connect wirelessly to provide the best hearing experience possible, and when customers need it. This is transforming lives and we’re proud to bring our customers the best products at the best prices. But this is only the start of the communication revolution. As technology develops for hearing devices, the chance to transform audiology on the high street has never sounded so appealing.’
Training and development at the heart of Specsavers Audiology
As a business which is leading the way in Audiology services, Specsavers pride itself in growing its own clinicians.
As a company Specsavers is founded on the principle that it supports its staff and recognises their ability, whether they are from an optical background and want to branch into audiology, or students keen to train and develop.
‘We are more than happy to help our clinicians grow and offer them the choice of three different universities to complete their Foundation Degree in Hearing Aid Audiology’, explains Carina. ‘All clinicians also have access to a Regional Training Manager who will help and support them throughout their training journey and even once they have qualified. Clinicians are also invited to attend courses and conferences that will help strengthen their clinical knowledge and skillset. We are always looking at ways in which we can develop our clinicians and so our HADs and Audiologists can also train to become a Joint Venture Partner, meaning they can own a share of their own Specsavers business. Ultimately as a company we are dedicated in helping our clinicians develop so they can provide our patients with the best possible care and service’.