The hearing healthcare industry is experiencing some very powerful disruptive forces. These are not unfamiliar forces, though. In fact, we have all discussed them for years, but it wasn’t until recently that we saw a line clearly drawn in the sand between price and value. The line was drawn with Phonak’s decision to sell a premium hearing aid through Costco.
I am not going to complain about the decision because it was bound to happen. Instead, I want to pose a question to each of you reading this: Will you choose to compete on price, or will you choose to compete on value?
As consumers, we have been trained to believe that getting the best price is our primary goal, to the point that we unconsciously operate this way every day. So, it is easy to understand why, as hearing care providers, we feel we must focus on price when it comes to our hearing aids. However, price is only an issue for consumers in the absence of value.
We have a wonderful opportunity to create clear and tangible distinctions for our patients about the value that our experience and attentive service provide for their hearing. If there is no clear distinction between you and your competitors, price becomes that distinction. The critical question, therefore, is: Do you know which distinctions create the most value for a patient?
As providers of hearing healthcare, we transform lives every day. This transformation does not come just from testing, fitting, and counseling a patient; it comes from the experience that we create at every touchpoint with patients during their lifelong involvement with our practice.
It is through creating a remarkable experience for patients that we demonstrate the greatest value to them. To accomplish this, we must discover and implement best practices across all areas of our practice, such as office atmosphere, staff attitudes, and leadership, from answering the phones to counseling, fitting, and benchmarking. Once we find these best practices, we must commit to mastering them at every level in the practice. These are the aspects that create a valued experience for our patients.
The line in the sand has been drawn, and we must choose on which side we will stand — and with whom. I choose to stand on the side of value, and to align my practice with a management company of like-minded peers and manufacturers making the same choice. As independent practices, we can accomplish much on our own, but, as a collective team of aligned independents, we can accomplish anything.
The disruption in our industry is here to stay, and it will grow. We have tremendous power to help our patients, and with that power comes great responsibility. I believe that it is our responsibility to choose to stand on the side of value for our patients. What choice are you making?
Article also published in the August 2014 issue of The Hearing Journal.