Posted on September 21, 2020
After the summer pause, we’re delighted to restart featuring small business owners who fully understand that
the key thing we need for delivering outstanding customer service is a passion for helping people.
Neil Daniel, Founder of Beckenham Hearing is one of them.
Neil is a fully qualified Audiologist with a BSc honours degree in hearing science, he shares with us why he chose to complete a full degree in something he was very good at helping people with, and how he has approached the phases of leading a clinic, rebranding it and making it succeed offering great service, expertise and products with good old-fashioned values.
How long have you been in this business? And in other businesses?
I have been in the audiological sector for 25 years and I am in a unique position of knowing the process intimately, as I have made hearing aids, and also provided technical support to Audiologists when working for two of the best hearing aid manufactures within the NHS and the private sector.
Why did you choose it?
I fell into audiology after doing an electronics apprenticeship straight from school, where I originally made high-end stereo equipment, before going on to make hearing aids. When hearing aids went from analogue to digital, I found myself in technical support where I enjoyed helping Audiologists with complex hearing aid fittings. I naturally enjoy helping people and it was a natural progression for me to help people with something I am really good at, this gave me the impetus to complete a full degree in audiology.
How did you get started?
I went to University in Cambridge while working with one of the most respected independent hearing clinics in the country for three years. Fortunately, I was then approached with the opportunity of taking on an existing clinic that had been established for 20 years. When I acquired the clinic I re-branded it to Beckenham Hearing and updated all the processes and procedures to the gold standard as well as updating all of the diagnosis and fitting equipment and the rest is history.
How would you explain your business to someone who has no knowledge of it?
We are here to improve people’s hearing and diagnose the cause of any hearing loss. The hearing loss may only be excess ear wax in the ear canal. There are many different types of hearing loss and we will diagnose where the loss is and use our many years of experience to restore your hearing using the most discreet and up to date hearing aids available. Or simply remove the excess ear wax.
How do you attract your clients?
Our website is our shop window. However, patient referrals are the biggest attraction, as people value a good recommendation and that is why we pride ourselves on our service, as this is what our client’s true value.
Can you describe your customers?
Our customers value our excellent service and expertise. Most of our patients have tried the free NHS hearing aids or a cheaper alternative with a less comprehensive service and would never go back.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years?
I see Beckenham Hearing offering the same excellent service with another Audiologist in the team to allow us to grow without compromising our service.
Which things make you happy as a small business owner?
A great outcome for our patient and a fantastic review after we have restored their hearing is what makes us happy.
Which is your best-selling product or service and why do you think your clients love it so much?
Our best product is our friendly comprehensive service and expertise, as new hearing aids would just be a microphone, some wires and a speaker without the expertise and time to get the very best from hearing aids, based on the patient’s unique need.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
- Best service,
- Best expertise,
- Best products with good old-fashioned values.
Customer Retention: how do you keep your customers happy?
We give every patient 100% whether they have come to see us for a hearing test, wax removal, or hearing aid batteries.
Which challenges did and do you face, running your business?
For an independent Audiologist, you are a clinician, marketeer, accountant, and team manager. So, the biggest challenge is finding the right team members and letting them do what they do best without trying to do it all yourself.
Is there any business lesson you learnt through experience that you wish you knew about earlier in life?
Let your team help… You cannot do everything effectively on your own, so finding the right team balance and playing them all to their strengths is key.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
Having the right team allows me to take time out without impacting the clinic. I have a nurse who can cover for my wax removal clinics allowing me to have a day off. I always take time out with my wife and take our dog for a three-mile walk through our local woods every morning. As well as going to the gym every evening to help destress and relax.
Which is your best strategy for time management?
I have incorporated a customer relationship management system into our clinic with finely tuned appointment times which allows me enough time to perform a service and all the paperwork. This system also has a call-back system to allocate tasks to the team which works really well.