Shirley Lai is Specsavers Audiology’s 45th partner, operating out of Belmont Forum and Yokine stores in WA. Shirley tells us how she’s finding Specsavers Audiology a year after her stores opened, how her customers have reacted to the product range and advice for anyone considering joining the business.
1. A year into your Specsavers journey, how are you finding the customer response to your business?
Overall the response has been very positive. Most of my customers have been coming to Specsavers for many years and are pleasantly surprised when they are also offered audiology services. The responses have ranged from happy customers who were previously unaware of wax impacting on their hearing, to existing hearing aid wearers shocked to see how affordable and extensive our range of devices are.
2. What have been some of the biggest highlights?
One of the biggest highlights for me recently was fitting a customer for the first time after many years of putting up with her hearing loss because of the stigma and cost of hearing aids. With the support and encouragement of her best friend, they came to see me for an appointment after seeing how affordable our prices were online. It was an emotional journey for my customer and I, but the end result was better than what we could have asked for. She was absolutely amazed how such a small hearing device could bring back so much joy in her life and only wished that she had seen us sooner!
3. What, if any, have been some key challenges you’ve faced?
The key challenge for me has been learning how to manage my time effectively as a clinician and JVP. My team and I have worked together over these past 12 months to ensure we continue to provide consistent and professional audiology services to our customers, especially during busy periods. Something that has really helped us is keeping an Audiology diary where they can leave me notes / questions to attend to when I have admin time.
4. What are the most noticeable differences you’ve noticed in the past year with Specsavers compared to previous years in the industry?
I feel Specsavers is really challenging the status quo of the hearing industry in Australia by openly displaying our prices online and in-store.
5. Why did you initially join Specsavers? Have your feelings changed a year into your journey?
I joined Specsavers because I wanted to have professional independence as a business owner and the resources to be able to offer my customers the best and most affordable hearing solutions. My feelings have not changed and I am proud to be able to provide this to my clients.
6. What would you say to audiology professionals considering a joint venture partnership (JVP) with Specsavers?
If you up for the challenge in running your own business and passionate about making a positive impact to the Australian hearing industry, then I would urge you to start a dialogue with Specsavers and see if a JVP is suitable for you.