It’s been just over a year since Marie Patikas joined Specsavers Audiology as a partner at Specsavers Roselands, NSW. We checked in with her to see how she has fared in her first year and her plans for the year ahead.
Why did you decide to become a Specsavers Audiology partner?
I inquired with Specsavers in early 2019 as I had heard a lot of positive feedback from previous colleagues who had moved on to JVP with Specsavers. From my initial phone interview, I felt that the core values of Specsavers lined up closely with my own. I loved how transparent the prices were and how seamless the customer journey was presented (the concept of a one-stop shop!). I also loved that their goal was to provide hearing screens at an earlier age to achieve early intervention and increase public awareness of hearing health, without the focus on hearing aids.
How would you describe your business journey to date? What have been some of the highlights?
Starting just a few months before COVID-19 hit, my journey as a business owner has been a challenging one. However, the business showed resilience to endure the financial and social impacts COVID-19 introduced. This has provided me the confidence that the business structure and support teams are able to provide the resources and solutions to overcome any obstacle. A highlight was fitting a customer just before his birthday and he was able to hear all his grandchildren sing happy birthday clearly, including ‘hip, hip, hooray”!
What do you love best about your store and customers?
I love the location of my store as it is a short drive from my home, but also in a community with which I am most familiar. The store is on the ground floor of Roselands Shopping Centre which is easy to access and surrounded by amazing family businesses and food stores.
How has becoming a Specsavers partner changed your career?
Becoming a partner has allowed me to contribute to the growing movement of early intervention and easy access to affordable, innovative hearing technology for those in need of hearing health. It has allowed me to work on my personal development through partner contributions to marketing and clinical processes, staff training, collaborating with my optical and retail partner as well as other Audiology partners. Being a partner allows me to perform important partner roles while maintaining a high–quality clinical standard with my customers.
How have you been supported by the Specsavers support office team during your tenure as a partner?
The training induction set-up could not be faulted. There was a range of sessions that covered all aspects of the role as a first business owner and it did not neglect or assume certain aspects were already known such as financial or government protocols. The support team does their very best to manage inquiries and provided monthly partner meetings with important updates regarding government funding regulations, product updates, and marketing innovations. They are always open to taking our feedback which has been shown through radio advertisements, and recent development on admin support roles in store.
How would you describe the relationship between yourself and your optical partners? How do you go about building and strengthening those relationships?
My optical partners and I value a healthy work/life balance, which is important in sustaining work efficiency and happiness for staff and partners. Although it has been a challenging year, my optical partners continue to support audiology and promote hearing screens for those who need them along all parts of the customer journey. We value positive feedback and ensure we are providing positive reinforcement to all team members, as well as updating each other on achievements with screening numbers and sales.
What are some of the aspects of being a partner that you have most enjoyed, and why?
Having autonomy over the business without the pressure of KPI’s or being micromanaged.
How has your opinion of the Specsavers business changed or evolved during your time as a partner?
My confidence as a business owner has grown since working through the pandemic and has proven that the business can recover from any drawbacks.
Why do you think Specsavers is a good investment opportunity for other audiologists looking to make a career move?
Investing in a trusted and well-known brand, with an existing large database and platform is a no brainer! Partnership with Specsavers has allowed me to grow a business without the headache of large start-up costs but yield positive financial returns and personal growth.
What does the future hold for your business in the next 2-3 years?
My goal is to have a well-trained team that can offer device repair and servicing support for customers. I aim to maximise my customer database including returning customers and those new to the brand, as well as provide consistent and effective screening rates to increase hearing health and early intervention.