As a Specsavers audiology partner, you get to do the job you love while enjoying the flexibility and autonomy of managing your own business – all with the support of the Specsavers brand behind you. And it’s that support that makes all the difference.
Just ask Neil Soares.
As an Audiology Relationship Manager for Western Australia and South Australia, it’s Neil’s job to support our partners through every aspect of business ownership.
“It can be challenging and daunting for our audiology partners to run their own business, especially if they haven’t had that business experience before,” he says.
“I see my role as one of many hats – a mentor, coach, facilitator, and friend that can offer support and at times be constructively critical,” he says.
“Our partnership model means that our partners aren’t alone in their business journey – they are part of a true partnership. And as such it is critical that we build a relationship where we can have balanced, open and transparent conversations and work in collaboration for the betterment of each other, our customers, and the business.”
Neil joined Specsavers in January 2019, coming from a background in management consulting, developing franchise systems in the health care sector. “I could see the demand and the need for change in this area which excited me about joining Specsavers,” he says.
“I also experienced the journey from a customer lens, when my dad went through – a sometimes frustrating – journey to address his own hearing loss. I know how difficult the process can be from that customer perspective, so I was excited to bring that experience to Specsavers and learn more about what we’re doing to shake up the sector and bring accessibility to consumers and change their lives. Hearing the outcomes our partners are achieving for customers is truly inspiring and motivates me every day.”
Neil says the best part of being an Audiology Relationship Manager is the variety that each day brings; everything from engaging with optical partners to take them on the journey of introducing and incorporating audiology into their store, to meeting with prospective audiology partners when they express interest in joining Specsavers and then nurturing them through their induction and development as a partner.
“A large part of my role is about listening to our partners and helping them navigate and run a better business – whether it is through developing relationships in-store or reaching out and connecting with a colleague in our organisation who could support and deliver a win-win outcome.”
“If not visiting stores, I am often connecting with our partners over the phone to understand how their day is going, what’s coming up, and what support they need. I have a regular partner huddle so we can celebrate wins, discuss challenges, and develop a place for peer-to-peer learning. Understanding each partner’s strength and weakness is important to customize the approach I take with each partner and ensure no one gets left behind.”
Having worked with franchise businesses throughout his career, Neil says the Specsavers model is different from others he’s seen in the market.
“There are many franchise models that exist often on the premise of using other people’s time and money to grow a brand. But at Specsavers, we genuinely put partners front and centre of what we do. We have a common vested interest in supporting each other and ensuring each other’s success. This often starts at the recruitment stage where we look for partners who share and are aligned with our values and vision.
“There is a massive support structure to focus on how we can run a better business and how we look to make partners’ lives easier, so they can focus on delivering great customer outcomes. By ensuring the partners receive a salary we remove the pressure that often comes with owning a business and wondering how you pay bills and manage life; this essential component changes the dynamic of how people think and enables our partners to truly do what’s best for their customers rather than chasing a sale and not putting the customer first,” he says.