Creating the Future in Uncertain Times

Author: Brian Taylor, Au.D.

Every time we watch the news or read the newspaper, we are reminded that we are living in a time of great economic uncertainty. Although we cannot predict the future, we can be certain that disruptive technology, like over-the-counter hearing aids, will continue to contribute to this uncertainty. We can also be fairly sure that alternative distribution models, which eliminate the audiologist from the transaction, will continue to exist despite our best efforts to get rid of them.

The key to overcoming the uncertainty of disruptive technology and alternative distribution models is through differentiation of your practice. One way to be different is to make the patient’s interaction with your practice so memorable and enjoyable that individuals flock to your door seeking a transformative, life-changing event delivered by you. By enhancing the patient’s interaction with your practice at these six critical areas of interaction (see Figure 1) you can begin to unlock the secrets of a truly transformative experience for your patient, while commanding a higher average selling price.

Figure 1. The six interaction stations of a patient’s experience in your practice. Based on the work of Shareef Mahdavi of the Premium Experience Network

Here’s how you can get started. For each of the six interaction stations in Figure 1 ask the question, “How can I make this “touch point” more memorable and meaningful for the patient?” Answering this question is likely to take you outside your comfort zone and should get you thinking about these experience-driven ideas:
  • How can I theme my reception area, so that people actually like spending some time there?
  • What tests can I use that are more meaningful to the patient, while also accurate and reliable? (e.g., Quick SIN and other tests that provide a higher level of patient engagement)
  • How can I make the process of spending money less painful for my patient?
  • How can I make the follow up appointment more engaging to my patient?
  • How do I demonstrate results in a way that is meaningful to the patient?
Audiologists cannot take a business as usual approach. As business management pioneer Peter Drucker said, “The best – perhaps the only – way to predict the future is to create it.” Now is the time for audiologists to do just that. Apple says, Think Different. Audiologists must interact different with their patients to excel in these uncertain times.