In the business world in general, many businesses are struggling to stand out. It seems like many businesses offer the same thing, which makes it difficult to convince customers why they should shop at one business over another. With OTC hearing aids hitting the market, hearing professionals are also feeling pressure to stand out. Here is why differentiation in marketing is so important, plus a couple of tips on how to stand out.
The Importance of Differentiation
Differentiation is how you stand out from the crowd of competitors in your field. This is what drives customer loyalty, as well as sales. If customers see your hearing practice as no different from any other in town—and see no added value over buying OTC hearing aids—they will not give you their business. Differentiation is key to succeeding in business, especially when online options often tout greater convenience and lower prices.
How to Stand Out (In a Good Way)
With OTC hearing aids becoming available, you are no longer only competing with other hearing professionals in your area. You are now also competing with pharmacies, big box stores, and online retailers who will all offer OTC hearing aids. Add in the fact that OTC hearing aids are designed to offer a lower price point, and you have the makings of some stiff new competition in the hearing space.
Of course, audiologists will always hold a place in the medical field. The key point is to show customers why you are still necessary, how you bring added value, how you will improve their life, and why they should shop with you. Here are a few ways to stand out:
- Focus on personalization. Online retailers and big box stores cannot offer the same personalized experience that you can. Ensure that your patient’s experience is as personalized as possible from start to finish. This includes after they leave your office. Marketing emails, messages, and other communication from your practice should feel personalized. This requires deep knowledge of your patients.
- Help your customers understand their problem and how you will solve it. OTC hearing aids are only approved to treat perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, and they do not require an exam or a professional fitting. When patients see you for a hearing test and diagnosis, help them understand their problem better than any online test could. Give them specific information about their hearing and how you can serve them. Highlight the benefits of your services, including the ways that prescription hearing aids offer greater results than OTC devices.
- Offer a greater range of products that solve more problems. As noted above, prescription hearing aids offer many more features and can address many more issues than OTC hearing aids. Make sure your patients are aware of this. Show them how good their life could be with prescription hearing aids that are fitted by a professional like you.
- Know what your customers want. What your customers want is very personal. Each person will have unique desires. For example, two people with the same hearing loss may have vastly different preferences when it comes to the style of hearing aid they want or how technologically advanced they’d like their device to be. Find out what your customers want—and give them exactly that.
- Listen to your customers. Really listen, and then respond to what you have heard with care, compassion, and skill. If you listen, people will tell you what they want.
- Make it easier for customers to purchase from you. Simplify the process, such as offering products online when possible and offering telehealth appointments. Make sure that your team is responsive to all inquiries from patients, from phone calls to emails to social media messages. Where you can, offer financing options that make it easy for patients to say “yes” to the hearing aids you recommend.
At the end of the day, OTC hearing aids can never offer the services that you can. This is the simple truth – you need to communicate to patients to win their business. To learn more about how to stand out, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus.