Having worked as an audiology assistant before sitting for her Florida hearing aid Board exam, she draws upon both a clinical and dispensing point of view. As such Christine provides a nice balance of education, and practical know how, products and tools, that can help any dispensing practice better serve their patients.
But, somehow the extended hassles, and extra administrative work, of dealing with the old Siemens bureaucracy, and their rigid, top down management style, have to date, out weighed the potential of any kind of partnership.
While I’ve enjoyed very much the service, support, and great products I get from their subsidiary Rexton, the opposite has been true anytime I’ve tried to deal with the ‘Mothership’.
It was as though, if you weren’t a multi-store chain, or big institutional buyer, with impeccable credit, Siemens didn’t want to be bothered, or actually insulted you.
When coupled with their eventual buyout, and current operation of the HearX/HearUSA chain, after that business’s long, drawn out death, under the old Siemens management, and Siemens hearing looked more like a competitor, than potential partner for my practice.
There just doesn’t seem to be much future to dealing with the same company who’s competing in the same market for the same patients on a retail basis.
I mean, am I really to believe that my cost of goods are the same, as they are charging their own stores? Or, that the profits from the sale of products to my practice aren’t going right back into advertising for their store, that I compete with right down the street?
Like other large manufacturers in our industry, Siemens Hearing is, and has gone through a large number of changes in leadership. Each change brought that boss’s ideas about what was needed to gain that Holy Grail of Hearing Aid Manufacturers, critical market share.
Siemens Hearing, like others, have suffered from a lack of a clear vision about what role they really wanted to play in the hearing care delivery system.
Like so many others, they were lured somewhat into the idea of controlling the entire delivery system, from manufacturing through to consumer.
Sonova, is engaged in this very process now, with their Hearing Planet, and Pocket, Pirate Partners. It is what makes any Sonova company an unacceptable practice partner.
I’ve been assured by Ms. Ryan, and others within the Siemens hearing family, that there has been an understanding of their missteps, mistakes, and the errors of past management teams.
So, while they’ve got a great new rep, really cool products and some great people working for them, it remains to be seen whether there is a ‘New Siemens’ hearing, or, just another change in management within a company trying to come to grips with the changes within our consumers, our market, and just what their place in it is.
About four years ago, I got an invitation from Siemens, to fly up to their headquarters in New Jersey. There, they were each, and every one, incredible folks. They made me feel right at home, were incredibly hospitable, putting me up in a really nice Hotel, and as the old saying goes, wined and dined me.
There, one of the lecturers was one of their new acquires from Sonova, Dr. Ron Glietman, an amazing, and really cool guy. During his lecture, he repeatedly referred to certain reference materials, including one by Michael E Gerber, a business coach and inspirational speaker, and teacher.
In his million selling book, “The Emyth”, Gerber points out that the secret to any businesses success revolves around what he calls “the customer experience”.
In order to build any business you must provide your customers with an experience both of value, and one that’s pleasant, and that they want to repeat. Simple right?
If, you want to really grow your business, you’ll provide your customers with an experience that they will not only want to repeat, but tell their friends, neighbors, and associates about.
This is the very concept that we’ve built our practice around.
It is exactly what we mean by being Patient centered, and Results oriented.
It requires constant self analysis, and honest assessment of what kind of experience we are actually providing for those folks we’ve enticed to come to us.
Does that experience serve their goals? Is it one that they will enjoy repeating? Would they enjoy telling their friends about it?
Herein lies the problem for Siemens, Sonova, Starkey, Oticon, Widex, and every subsidiary, and hearing aid manufacturer; you each and every one, need to decide who your customers really are.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the end user of your products.
I’m talking about the folks who get your products to those end users.
If, Siemens, or any other company wants me to demonstrate their products to my patients, they have to first and foremost recognize that while their engineers may have built the coolest gear in the known universe, that unless they are going to sell direct to that consumer, that I am their customer, not that end consumer.
If, they have integrity, they will be willing to look honestly at the customer experience that they have been and, are actually providing.
If, they’ve got a clue, they’ll use their own teaching tools, and apply the same criteria:
Does the experience provided achieve their customer's goals?
Is it one that their customer would enjoy repeating?
Is it an experience that their customer would want to tell their friends and associates about?
What can I (Siemens, Pooptone, or Lemonaid) do to make that customer experience a better, more profitable one for everyone?
So, again, I thank Siemens for sending Christine by. She’s a great gal, and real asset to Siemens Hearing, or any practice for that matter. It however, remains to be seen what the “New Siemens” customer experience will actually be. I look forward to finding out.