One year on – Lalitha Mahendren

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Lalitha Mahendren is the audiology partner at Specsavers Berwick and Traralgon stores in Victoria. A year into her partnership journey, she tells us how she’s finding it, what support services have been available and the response from customers.

1. How are you finding the customer response to your business a year into your Specsavers journey?

Customers are responding very positively to Specsavers Audiology. Given it has only been a year since opening, it has been so great to see how quickly my business has grown.

I find that customers really appreciate the transparency of our services and prices. Many people who have been putting off having their hearing checked find us much more accessible. The fact that the optical store is open seven days a week allows patients to come in and see the staff for batteries and basic services / over the counter repairs at any time that suits them. Customers and their families often comment on how important this is to them. The customers really appreciate the fact that everyone in store takes the time to get to know them and truly care about their hearing needs.

2. What have been some of the biggest highlights?

The biggest highlight for me is to see the audiology business grow and to see how much we have achieved in only 12 months. Myself and the optical partners and staff feel so passionate about what we do and it’s great to see that our customers are responding to that.

I feel proud to see how the business has established itself and see the word of mouth referrals coming through. It’s so amazing to see how much customers appreciate our services and the impact we are having on people’s quality of life. It has also been exciting to see how passionate the optical staff are about now being able to deliver audiology services in our store and I know that customers are being looked after through every part of the journey. It’s so great to see that the optical staff and optical partners care just as much about the audiology business as I do.

The partnership has been incredible and it’s great to feel so supported.

3. What, if any, have been some key challenges you’ve faced?

The biggest challenge to begin with was ensuring the optical staff felt confident enough to talk about the audiology services available. Given it was completely foreign to them there were many things for them to learn.  The optical staff were however very eager to learn and took many notes. The Support Office team has also been great with providing ongoing training for the staff. It is positive to now see that audiology is simply seen as part of what we do at Specsavers and the staff are now capable of appropriately dealing with questions and queries.  

4. What are the most noticeable differences you’ve noticed in the past year with Specsavers compared to previous years in the industry?

What really strikes you working at Specsavers is the passion that the other audiologists, Support Office team and optical partners have in delivering great customer service and ensuring audiology is delivered to a high standard. There are always resources available to constantly develop our skills. Despite working as the only audiologist in store I constantly feel supported by the store staff as well as the other audiologists. It is a very close group here and everyone will do what they can to ensure your business does as well as possible.

5. Why did you initially join Specsavers? Have your feelings changed a year into your journey?

I initially joined Specsavers because I wanted to be able to provide patients with hearing services that were of a high quality but also affordable. I love working with patients but also wanted an extra challenge. A year into the journey I certainly feel that I am able to provide this service to our patients.

I now realise there were many more reasons to join Specsavers including the constant support, the passionate staff, the huge amount of resources available and the rate at which the audiology business grows.

6. What would you say to audiology professionals considering a joint venture partnership (JVP) with Specsavers?

One year into the journey and I am certain I have made the right decision to move to Specsavers. I look forward to coming into work every day as there is never a dull moment in the busy store environment. There is a sense of accomplishment knowing that you are building a business from its roots and it is a very rewarding experience. It is a very exciting journey and you are constantly supported by many passionate audiologists and support office staff.

Being a JVP at Specsavers is extremely rewarding if you are after a challenge and an opportunity to create something new, whilst also providing the best customer care possible.