Specsavers Audiology Support: in focus with Kathryn Launchbury, Professional Services Manager.
Much of the overt professional focus in our first year in the Australian audiology market has been on opening up our first business locations, talking to potential JVPs (Joint Venture Partners) and now, developing brand recognition for Specsavers Audiology with Australian consumers. In the background however, we have been just as focussed on building the support team to lead the development of our JVP business model – the result being a team that has an enormous amount of experience with the audiology profession in Australia, with Specsavers or with both.
Kathryn Launchbury, Professional Services Manager, is a case in point. Here we talk to Kathryn about her career to date, why she chose to join Specsavers in mid-2017 and what she believes are the key points of difference for audiology professionals to think about when considering setting up their own business with Specsavers.
Editor: Thinking about previous roles and years in the industry as a backdrop, what prompted you to join Specsavers?
KL: Having worked in clinical, sales and support roles in the audiology market for the past 11 years, I saw my role with Specsavers as a chance to work for a company with a fresh approach, progressive ideas and strong ethical values – I felt my role here would give me the chance to to use all the skills I have acquired over the years. Also, the potential at Specsavers for further learning and personal growth opportunities are endless.
Ed: Having joined, can you describe your thoughts about Specsavers Audiology and the role it will play in the industry?
KL: The Specsavers approach is to be 100% customer focussed and so I’m delighted at the passion the entire team has for putting together the best offer for customers, with a focus on the highest clinical standards. That approach provides a great opportunity for audiology professionals in our industry. We aim to ensure customers are fully aware of the range and types of products available to them, with full transparency on prices. That transparency leads to consumer trust – we believe our openness on pricing and value will rebuild trust between consumers and the audiology profession.
Ed: What is Specsavers Audiology approach to professionalism and clinical practice?
KL: Drawing on Specsavers overseas experience and incorporating Australian standards, we have set in place clinical standards for all processes and procedures. All of our stores are setup with a sound treated room, booth and the latest equipment to ensure that every client experiences the same quality treatment, wherever they may be in Australia. It is refreshing to be part of a growing business where the audiology professionals are involved as owners first and foremost – so we don’t have KPIs and sales targets – our partners’ focus is on the individual needs of individual clients; we know that by matching the highest clinical care with the best value, our partners will operate successfully in Australia and customers will have their expectations met and, we hope, exceeded.
Ed: What would you say to audiology professionals considering a JVP with Specsavers?
KL: We have a major rollout underway with more than 30 locations open (as at 1 April 2018) and many more set to open over the coming months. With so many audiology professionals either on board or talking to us about partnership, it looks like a great time to take on a joint venture partnership (JVP) role. A Specsavers Audiology JVP role allows ambitious audiology professionals to develop their skills as clinicians while adding new skills in business development and marketing. Each Specsavers Audiology business operates within a Specsavers optical store, offering a great environment to learn from existing optical store partners and their already established successful Specsavers businesses.
Ed: Why is a JVP with Specsavers a good model for audiology?
KL: The Joint Venture Partnership – or JVP for short – is the Specsavers owner-operator franchise model and provides a vehicle for audiology professionals to take back control of their industry. The JVP is the best of both worlds – you are the owner of a business but are fully supported to make the business work. So many audiologists would like to start their own business but with no background in marketing or finance struggle to understand how they would properly manage and grow the business. As a JVP with Specsavers Audiology, you are responsible for providing the highest clinical care to your customers, with the support of the optical store team, the audiology marketing team, and a host of Port Melbourne based support teams.