Getting the interior right has everything to do with branding.
“The brand must be crucial, mustn’t it?” says Mark Mallindine. “It is an important tool, when it comes to communicating consistency. It’s not only about the logo; it’s about everything that’s here in the clinic. The better you’re able to express the brand here, in the clinic, the more likely it is that the brand stays with even potential clients, who just happen to stroll by.”
Conventional retailers are experts in this, having invested so much time and money in getting it right, and tracking their customers’ reactions to even the tiniest changes in the retail spaces. And yet a hearing aid clinic is something else. You can buy an expensive product for sure, but everything else bears a closer resemblance to visiting your doctor.
Trust is the key
So your clinic should be comfortable, yes certainly, and professional too, and striking the right balance between the two can be hard enough. But how posh should you be? The products are expensive and sophisticated and clients spend a lot of money at the clinic. But surely it isn’t a Gucci store we’re struggling to imitate?
“Clients do spend a lot of money here, you shouldn’t forget that,” says Mark Mallindine. “Don’t park your Porsche out front, if that’s what you drive, but if you aspire to positioning yourself somewhat high in the market, that’s what your clinic should reflect. Tasteful furniture of high quality and as little visual clutter as possible. Details like whether accessories and supplies are openly displayed or kept in closed cupboards indicate a level of exclusivity as well.”
Beyond this though, is the importance of trust, which cannot be overestimated.
“When people enter the clinic, at least on that first, tremendously important visit, they are insecure, hesitant and uncertain about what to expect,” says Mark Mallindine.
“I think many hearing aid clinics could benefit from seeking inspiration in other industries, where this issue has been prominent for decades. It might be that audiologists are ambitious and focused on their core competencies to an extent where they sometimes underestimate the importance of getting other, less essential, things right. Like having a clinic decorated in a way that radiates trust by applying every trick in the book,” Mark Mallindine says.
We would like to extend thanks to Robert Davies, owner of South East Hearing Centres, for graciously welcoming us into his Chichester clinic and sharing his experience with us.