As the world continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that some things will simply never be the same again. Other things may return to what was previously considered normal, but it will take time. Social distancing of six feet is being enforced in stores, restaurants, offices, and other public places, and certain businesses are requiring temperature checks before admitting entrance as well.
While this means you may be able to return to your favorite restaurant soon (with new restrictions and guidelines in place), what does it mean for your hearing practice? Will everything go back to “normal”?
According to a survey conducted in April 2020, your practice may not go back to normal—but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The survey was conducted in Spain, with 782 persons from the Spanish audiology industry taking part. It was carried out during the height of the lockdown in Spain, from April 20-24, 2020.
First, the survey revealed that most practices had taken a big hit to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown restrictions. In hearing aid sales, 77 percent of practices claimed they saw a 100 percent reduction in turnover from device fittings. 52 percent reported a similar loss of business in accessory sales, and 45 percent said they had registered zero income from repairs during the time in question.
Because of the reduction in sales and income, many practices reported they had had to take measures in regards to their staff. 76 percent said they had taken measures that affected employees, and 40 percent planned on a reduction in their overall business budget. 26 percent reported that they expected to spend in order to announce the reopening of their practices.
However, the survey reported more than only the business losses suffered by these Spanish audiology practices. Almost half of the participants said they believed an upturn in sales would come in the fall, around September or October. 20 percent of respondents, on the other hand, believed they would have to wait until 2021 to see an increase.
As for returning to “normal” practices, 61 percent of participants reported that they expect their sales revenue to continue coming through traditional channels. In other words, they expect that they will continue to make income through in-office visits and in-person appointments. 34 percent of respondents, however, foresaw a “mixed model” of business, with both online and offline services.
Many hearing practices have adopted a service model that is focused more on online services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes virtual appointments, at which the hearing specialist and the patient meet online. As seen by the respondents to the survey in Spain, it is not expected that online services will cease once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Some patients may choose to continue virtual appointments, especially if they have health concerns and would prefer not to go to public spaces.
Because of this continuing shift to a mixture of online and offline services, it is essential that you are prepared to accommodate your clients, no matter how they prefer to meet with you. Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic are ready to help you easily make the shift to online hearing healthcare.
To learn more about the importance of offering online services at this time and how you can better meet the needs of your clients, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We are eager to help you grow your business.