What do you want to be?
Recently It has become clear that many within our profession are worried about commoditisation of our profession. In essence it is not the skills of our profession which is commoditised but the products we are inextricably linked with.
I would agree that this has occurred and I think it is an ongoing threat to our profession. However, we have brought ourselves to this point with our historical actions. The consumer and their thought processes are guided by the marketing we undertake.
The consumer has reached the conclusion that hearing well is all about purchasing a set of hearing instruments. We have encouraged that conclusion. We need to ensure that this situation changes. Not just for the future of our profession but also for the well being of Patients.
Because I believe that the ongoing well being of Patients is best served by our continued inclusion in the process. I think that a change in the emphasis of marketing strategies will assist us. However that alone will not suffice in the task ahead. Changes will occur within the provision of hearing instruments in the next five to ten years.
Whilst we do not need to take them as they come, we can and should look to accept them on our terms. I tend to try and look at most events, good or bad, adverse or opportune, as opportunities. I believe that whatever technology and consumer driven change throws at us, there will always be opportunity.
It is up to us as a profession to assess where that opportunity lies. These things are for the future, although I think not that far ahead. For now, we need to battle this sense of commoditisation that appears prevalent.
Paternalistic strategies will not work, the consumer is way too savvy for that type of strategy. They will balk at and rail against being told what to do. We will have to convince them that we can assist in this process. That we can deliver to them solutions that address their needs better than anyone else. That we can in fact offer them professional service and services.
Someone recently said that it is difficult to commoditise service. He was right, service and standard of service is a difficult thing to fully commoditise. The differentiation that all Practice owners seek lies in service levels. It lies in physical processes that are undertaken within a Practice. These are difficult thing to give sizzle to in advertising, but I believe wholeheartedly that we must try.
A focus on process and services is what will drive the perception that we are looking for. This focus will assist on the goal of portraying ourselves as medical professionals at the centre of hearing well. The question we individually have to answer is, what do we want to be? So what do you want to be?