I came across Lexie Hearing a while ago, I was late to the party. They had come across my radar in 2020, but I didn’t consider them that much. Recently, that has changed, their model piqued my interest and I got to speak to people behind it recently. I even got to use their hearing aids and get a view of their system. The more I learned about them, the more I thought someone has been reading my mind. I think they will be one of the most successful direct to consumer hearing aid providers ever, and there are real learnings for hearing care professionals from what they do.
Intricon & The Failure of HI Initiative
A colleague reminded me recently of an article I wrote in 2013 about Intricon (who manufacture the instruments for Lexie Hearing) and what amounted to a failed initiative. I said back then “I think it is worth our while to consider why, why was this distribution model a failure? More importantly, what can we learn about the motivation of prospective Patients? The model itself seemed sound, distribution of lower-priced hearing instruments via a modern mail-order model. What is not to like? Cheaper than normal hearing instruments, reduced amounts of hassle to acquire them.”
Even though all those elements were aligned, the initiative just didn’t take off in the manner that many expected. There were lessons to be learned from that, and I think
Service & Strategic Communications
They have gamified their app to encourage people to learn about their hearing aids, become au-fait with their clean and care and finally wear them consistently. That is ingenious thinking on their part. It means that more people will go through their onboarding process, which means fewer problems and more wear time.
A Subscription Model
The subscription also includes regular care kits, batteries and accessories, to keep your hearing aids in tip-top shape and ongoing loss and damage insurance. They provide ongoing video call support and new hearing aids every two years if you stick with the program.
Strategic communication is close to my heart, and I have been ruminating upon it for quite some time. It is obvious that hearX have been as well. They believe in pre-emptive and consumer experience messaging to drive a customer through the very best journey. They use the real estate on the user’s mobile phone to its fullest, offering notifications and app interaction that makes sense for the user, and the business.
An Omnichannel Approach
The Learnings For Us
As I said earlier, Lexie Hearing has learnings for the wider profession here. Firstly, a subscription model is attractive to consumers for affordability. To make that model attractive, it needs to be structured in a way that they feel brings benefit.
Onboarding people well delivers results for them and the business, hearX sees a low return rate and it is dropping as they learn more from their experience. I think that is the strongest argument for good post-sale communications. We should be employing strategic communications with our customers that pre-empt issues, encourage wear time and finally validate the purchase decision.
If we consider this sort of option, we need to utilise a strong omnichannel approach with those consumers. I think the final lesson for us is that