At 100% Optical 2018 the new addition of a dedicated audiology hub with 16 suppliers and a 3 day seminar and educational programme was an acknowledgement of the desire from opticians to partner more with this sector.
Today we speak to Bloom Hearing Specialists who are exhibiting for the first time at 100% Optical 2019. Their answers give us a detailed explanation on how independent opticians can get audiology into their practices and how it works operationally. We also learn more about the ethos of the company and why such a partnership can increase customer footfall whilst retaining existing customers who are under threat of being influenced by the multiples.
1. Who are Bloom Hearing Specialists?
We are a small, national provider of hearing care which we deliver through bloom branches, opticians and a domiciliary network. Our parent company, Widex, is one of the largest hearing aid manufactures in the world and provide us with the latest and best technology.
What makes us special is that we value the time, support and service needed to help someone in their hearing care journey and we live this through the bloomWay. Our customers receive personal, one-to-one, unlimited service from a qualified Hearing Aid Audiologist. We want to make sure what we sell is the right product for the customer, this takes time and is a big decision so we include a free 2-week trial and a 60-day money back guarantee.
2. There seems to be an ever increasing link between the optical and audiology industries. Can you explain in detail why this is?
Partnering Optical and Audiology provides a total healthcare solution all under one roof. This is a proven model that is enjoying success, we ourselves have been partnering with Opticians for over 10 years. For customers it means they can have their healthcare needs met locally by a partner they already trust. Customers understand the similarities between the delivery of Optical and Audiology healthcare. They feel at ease receiving a hearing care service in an Opticians environment, it feels natural and they fit together.
3. How will working with Bloom Hearing Specialists benefit an optical practice?
There are many benefits for both the customers and the Practice. The addition of hearing care is an extra service which means a richer service offering for customers resulting in additional footfall and visits. It reduces the risk of losing customers to the multiples and bloom hearing specialists are responsible for all the audiology needs. For the Practice this is a risk free partnership that brings in additional revenue.
4. Can you describe in more detail the type of practices you are currently working with?.
We work with over 80 Independent Opticians of all shapes and sizes across the country. Some of our Opticians are small chains with multiple shops and others are independent family run businesses. The success relies on the energy and engagement for hearing care from Optical staff rather than the size or prestige of the practice.
5. How does the partnership work operationally? For example is it a short or fixed term contract and is there a specific criteria you require from the practice to make it work?
Mostly we are looking for engagement from the Practice and a chance to talk to their customers. Being able to embrace audiology as part of the optical journey is paramount to the success of the partnership. We have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) contract that both parties sign before the partnership begins and there is a built in notice period.
6. Does Bloom Hearing offer anything different than other audiology solution companies?
With bloom hearing specialists you get the friendly team and a bespoke marketing plan tailored to your Practice. We have an Independent feel to how we operate our business and we offer free home visits if your Customer’s lifestyle changes and they need this service.
7. You are exhibiting within the Audiology hub at 100% Optical 2019 in January. Who are you looking to meet, what are your main objectives and what are you bringing to the show?
This will be our first time at 100% Optical and you will find us on our stand embracing anyone who wants to have a chat and hear more about how an Audiology partnership could benefit them and their customers. We will conduct hearing screening tests to show how quickly you can assess if someone needs a full hearing assessment in your Practice for some fun, we’ll have goodie bags and literature to giveaway and most likely some fizz too. We will be looking to come away with contact details of interested Opticians that we can arrange to follow-up with.
8. If an optical practice wants to contact you or find out more information on your service before 100% Optical what is the best contact for them to do so?
The first step is to make contact with the bloom Regional Sales Managers who come and visit your Practice to have a chat about what you are looking for and how it works; South and Wales is firstname.lastname@example.org and Midlands and North is email@example.com