During our conversation, this lady’s frustrations in finding someone she felt comfortable with became palpable. After all, they had invested close to ten thousand dollars on two sets of what they were told were high quality hearing aids, only to not enjoy the experience. She explained that she had had her reservations regarding the recommended instruments from the start, and while mom, and dad had made multiple trips for adjustment and fine tuning they had never proved satisfactory and now the place was closed and out of business.
When the conversation got around to how she found me, she gave the credit to Google, where she had found our site, and tenatively liked my message enough to call and find out more. After chatting for close to twenty minutes answering her questions best I could, I was told to expect a call from her brother, who lived close by and was taking more and more interest in Mom and Dad’s care.
That call came, and we scheduled an initial interview and exam. During the history, it became clear that this patient’s previous fitting, and hearing aid experiences weren’t something many of us would want repeated. She explained that she and her husband had responded to a full page color advertisement in the local paper that advertised some very impressive gear, at incredibly low prices.
Once there though, she felt that they had been “sold” something that she’d never quite wanted, and made clear had never worked, only to be coaxed past her return period with promises that things would get better if she just wore the aids provided.
This patient explained how these instruments had never performed as she expected, had always been uncomfortable on several fronts, including a feeling of being constantly ‘plugged up’, and even multiple trips for adjustment, had left her with nothing but sore ears, and a set of hearing aids that worked out of her ears, and never worked as hoped for.
Now, they were faced with either getting service for, or replacing something they felt they’d never gotten their value out of.
Just winning this consumer's trust back enough to convince them that we weren’t like where they had been before, consumed close to forty-five minutes worth of the hour I’d set aside for the initial fitting interview. And, this was just with her son, and her fitting.
They had also brought along her husband’s aids.
They were in the overnight clamshell case provided with each fitting. When I opened the case, there lay the shattered remains of two CIC hearing aids.
It seems, while in rehab for a recent fall, his hearing aids had been taken out for some reason and ended up on in the wash, then dryer, then somehow got stepped on. So half of this family had a Humpty Dumpty situation and the other had a set that I was advised was now only half working, as they’d left Mom’s set with the local Miracle Ear store for repair, prior to contacting me.
With the most obvious obstacle to serving this patient being overcoming the experience provided by my out of business colleague, I knew that trust was going to be the first thing we had to address.
These consumers had taken a major hit from our industry, and never been happy with the results, or the experience that came with what they felt was the inappropriate equipment that they felt they had been sold and coerced into keeping.
After spending lots of time answering questions about our practice, my experience and such, we got around to what they were hoping to accomplish from their visit with us.
The goal was to provide Mom with a comfortably fitting set of hearing aids that were big enough for her to handle easily, worked automatically, and that provided her with the ability to hear in her church and bible study groups as well as enjoying the conversation around the table with her girl friends.
Further questioning on my part revealed that contrary to first appearances, this lady did not live a quiet life, but was actually quite active, and was expecting her equipment to provided benefits across a wide and sometimes very complex range of sound environments.
I explained that I felt mom could really benefit from the advanced speech recognition algorithms available from Unitron, with their Moxi Pro line. As, her son is an engineer, my recommendation drew some of the most penetrating questions I’ve ever had to answer about beamforming, signal to noise improvement and their wide field communications capabilities.
Given their previous, less than enjoyable experience, I offered to fit mom on the spot, with a pair and let her wear them, in the environment that mom expected them to perform in, before paying for them on a trial basis.
Even with the offer of a free, no obligation trial, they had to think about it, and asked if they could go for tea, talk it over and return later. The only appropriate answer on my part was sure, and as this interview had already stretched half an hour beyond scheduling, I saw them out, and began working on the backlog of patients that had started to back up in our waiting room.
They returned about an hour later, just as I was finishing up with a patient in for minor service. While still wary, they had come back with an actual three option written plan they had sketched out on a sheet of paper over tea, honestly. (Only from an Engineer, God love em!) Their options included me repairing, and refitting both mom and dad’s CICs, fixing Dads, refitting Moms, Fitting Mom with new and Dad with refit.
The chart was amazing. It looked like the way an engineer would approach a problem, options and scenarios boxed, numbered and cross linked . We proceeded to discuss the pros and cons of each of the options and after another thirty minutes of discussion they agreed to at least try a pair of Moxi Pros.
Then we stumbled on the price. A pair of new Pros, was just a little less than they had paid for the four aids they’d bought not two years ago, that they’d never liked. Even though, they had never been fully satisfied, they felt they had to get the value out of those CIC’s somehow.
Then I remembered the Pros I was wearing. My demos. What the heck, with promise of their new Flex line next month, and lots of other stock I could refit to myself anytime, I went for it. I offered to take the hearing aids off of my own ears, put a new pair of receivers on them, and let them try them at no cost whatsoever.
If, mom liked them, I’d sell them with a like new warranty, for the price of the new six channel Moxi’s, which were in the range of what they had paid for their CIC’s. But, which I was uncomfortable with recommending, due to Mom’s greater expectations of performance in more complex environments. I knew the twenty channel Pros could handle any environment I’d put them through. The six channel system, while great for less active patients, lacked the advanced noise control algorithms and speech zone beamforming that I knew would do the job in the Pros.
The actual fitting took less than twenty minutes. Using Unitron’s on board, In situ audiometry suite, we had mom’s instruments custom fit and calibrated to her canal resonance in no time.
I disconnected the programming cables, put fresh batteries in and closed the door. Mom smiled, as the startup chime announced the aids coming on.
First thing out of her mouth was, “Wow, I hardly know I’ve got them on.” A quick series of questions assured we had the intital programs set within tolerances, and that mom was comfortable, as well as hearing like she hadn’t in years.
Before taking their money, I asked that they take a few more minutes to walk around outside, in the traffic and noise of old Downtown Melbourne and see how they performed for mom in noise.
I promised to have their paperwork done when they got back, which turned out to be a bit longer than I expected. But, when they came back in, it was clear that the experience we were providing was more in line with what they were looking for. We finished the paperwork and scheduled both mom’s next visit, and delivery of her Udiret 2 Bluetooth Dongle, that I’d included, just as a little extra way of giving them more than they were expecting, or paying for.
I explained that there were so many features, programs and benefits included within their Moxi Pros, that trying to go over them all, like their ability to connect with the TV and cell phone, would just be too much for Mom to digest on one visit.
Now, opening up and learning about those extra benefits in the new system is something they are both looking forward to on their next visit.
I called the next morning, just to see how Mom was doing. She loves her new Moxi fitting and reported that she’d worn them the rest of the entire day and didn’t take them off until going to bed, yet hardly felt they were there, except of course that she was hearing what she wanted to when she’d purchased hearing aids to start with.
We’re expecting to see Dad, as soon as his therapy is up so he too can experience the Wow, provided by well fit Moxi Pros.