Beltone is the #1 retailer of hearing aids in the U.S., with over 1,500 locations nationwide. I recently had a chance to sit down with Beltone’s President, Mike Halloran, to get a sense of what’s on his mind as the world of hearing health continues to change.
Beltone is owned by G.N. Group and operates a network of audiology offices that use Beltone’s 82-year-old brand and GN products (the same technology as ReSound). Beltone helps its large network modernize through tech innovations and business systems that are tough for fully independent practices to access.
Under Mike’s leadership, the brand has increased its focus on customer satisfaction scores across the nationwide network and at each practice individually.
He and his leadership team believe that “what the brand measures, it will improve.”
So what is Beltone measuring?
Beltone sends out a survey to each new customer across the country to learn about their experience and catch issues early. The results are tallied to create a Net Promoter Score (basically a measure of how happy customers are).
Mike and his leadership team report these numbers to each of their 1,500 offices every month so Beltone can learn and grow from the bottom up (not the other way around).
One particularly challenging point in the hearing care process is the 1-3 month adjustment period for first-time wearers.
I shared with Mike that my first weeks wearing hearing aids were overwhelmingly loud and that I devised some tricks (like turning down the treble) that helped me adjust more comfortably.
My experience isn’t uncommon. Beltone recently launched a 30-day program called Great Start which sends customized video content to new hearing aid wearers throughout their first month.
After launching the program, the brand saw an immediate reduction in return rates by 20%. To Mike and his team, that means customers are actually getting the benefits of their new hearing aids. Mission accomplished.
Beltone’s vision isn’t about providing the cheapest hearing aids to DIY customers. Mike and his team believe that customer satisfaction comes with hands-on care. He shared that each of Beltone’s clinics is focused squarely on service and follow through.
Instead of trying to prevent follow-up visits, Beltone sees follow-up care as an essential part of the process. “We want you to come back in when you need support,” Mike shared.
The focus on hands-on care in an age of automation might be why Newsweek ranked Beltone the #1 hearing retailer in the U.S.
Mike hopes over-the-counter hearing aids will help the 37M Americans with hearing loss start their hearing journey earlier but added that if those hearing aid wearers need hands-on support, Beltone will be ready for them.