Pre-Qualifying Prospects in Audiology

Pre-Qualifying and Optimising Chair Time

In my last article, I tried to challenge people to consider the status quo including the processes and journey we employ. I think by now we all understand the concept of disruptive innovation and how consumer demands drive change. However, over and above those pressures our industry, how we think about ourselves, and the services we offer are ripe for innovation. As I have said, almost everything about our business and the way we supply services is based on outdated concepts and a business model that was designed for the last century and very different customers.

I spoke about optimising our chair time, by that I meant ways that we could streamline many things within our day to day Practice to ensure that the people sitting in our chair really need our input, knowledge and services. If we do so, we can cut overheads and maximise our time. Something that Independent business people really need to do to stay profitable.

Let’s Talk Tech

I spoke last time about the screening of prospects in order that they don’t meet you unless they have to. I firmly believe that this approach is what is best for you and for the modern customer. The idea of offering a screening service in order that their time is not wasted, in order that they can get quick answers, works well for the modern consumer. It also ensures that your time is not wasted either, that has to be viewed as a good thing. So how will we achieve this state of near nirvana? Through readily available technology, so let’s talk tech.

Shoe What?

shoebox_logo_newblue2The name is SHOEBOX, SHOEBOX Audiometry is the first clinically validated portable iPad audiometer. It is exceptionally portable and it provides diagnostic threshold accuracy. The device has been clinically validated by peer reviewed literature and extensive trial studies. It has been found to perform as well, or better than, traditional audiometry equipment. So without question, this device will deliver good results that can be trusted.

The device comes with two different levels, standard, which offers AC and AC masking which is ideal for the purposes of screening and the professional, which is full on audiometry including bone masking. The standard setup is automated and the screening process is gamified. It has options for both adult and child screening. The professional set up has a both the automated system and a traditional manual system.

The standard mode is ideal for in-office screening of prospects, your receptionist can easily manage the process with anyone who comes in. However, you may not have to, the setup also has a kiosk mode. What’s a kiosk mode, Geoff? I hear you say, well funny you asked that I was just getting to it. In the kiosk mode, patients test themselves while playing an interactive game on the iPad. The game can be easily supervised by non-hearing health professionals, and that opens other opportunities.

Kiosk Mode

As I said, the kiosk mode is ideal for your Practice waiting area, but its ease of use makes it ideal for other places and purposes as well. For instance, in the offices or waiting rooms of one of your partners or associated businesses. The system is easy to use and pretty much self-explanatory. If you set it up and ask your associate to tend it, it can deliver real value for you and them.


I worked with Pharmacists in the past, they regularly dealt with customers who talked about hearing loss or hearing problems. Usually in connection with earwax remedies. The company I worked with put in place a similar device concept. At the time, it didn’t work exceptionally well, to be honest, what was missing was internet connectivity. An easy way for us to gather data. This was long before broadband and high-speed cellular data was widespread. The Kiosk mode uses the full benefits that access to the internet provide.

Screener and Lead Generator?

The possibility of this device being utilised as both a screener and a lead generation tool needs to be investigated. I have made some queries with the manufacturer and I will report back and update this post when I have the answers. Devices like this will allow us to optimise chair time, in fact, they may even increase the amount of times that chair is warm.

Update: I spoke to the Shoebox team and they are at present designing an update that includes data capture facilities that will allow the professional to receive details of the people taking the tests. This will allow the system to be a lead generation system.

What About The Rest of The Process?

There is plenty of room for us to innovate around the rest of the process especially in service work. If you have a problem with your glasses, by that I mean a physical issue, do you see an Optometrist? No, you see a technician and he or she resolves it, why should it be any different within Audiology? Why can’t your front of house staff not be trained to clean receivers, replace wax guards, and generally look after those small but irksome service issues? If you aren’t already doing this, you probably should be.

Clinicians and Closers, Tech Weenies and Luddites

In response to the last article, there was a great comment about the way one Practice utilises all of the different skills of the people that work there. It is a concept that I have seen at work elsewhere. In essence, they have people who are highly skilled at building rapport and getting the yes. They have others who are outstanding at choosing and fitting hearing aids.

They have introduced a process that allows their staff to excel at what they do and deliver an outstanding service to their customers. Is a model like this worth considering for you and your Practice? Innovation like this helps both you and the customer, it also allows your staff to excel at what they do. I would imagine that the staff in that Practice are happy and engaged. Simply because they are doing what they love to do.

Having looked a pre-qualification, I would like to delve deeper into other areas of the process. Next time I would like to speak about product offerings, over the counter sales and delivery of services. As always, feel free to chime in, even if only to insult me.



About Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling is an Irish hearing care blogger and the author of The Little Book of Hearing Aids and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World. He has been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession since 2007 when he qualified as a hearing aid audiologist. He has worked in private practice and for a major hearing aid manufacturer. He has become recognised as an authority within the field of hearing care and hearing aids.

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