Cityscape of Mexico City the capital of Mexico. Aerial view

Case Study: Hearing the Future – Comunicare Reshapes Hearing Care in Mexico with SHOEBOX

Case Study, Hearing Services

Introduction

Mexico is a nation known for its breathtaking sandy beaches, cultural and historical vibrancy, and cuisine that has won over the taste buds
Interior of Comunicare's Audiological Hubof people around the world. For Comunicare, Mexico serves as the backdrop for an exciting new pilot program that’s ushering in a new way of delivering hearing care, one powered by SHOEBOX solutions.

Like many countries, Mexico has a shortage of audiologists. According to data from WSA Mexcio, the nation has fewer than one audiologist per 130,000 citizens. Under the strategic leadership of Ulises Merino, GM of WSA Mexico, and Luana Rosa, LATAM Expansion Manager, the company has been successfully improving business efficiency and elevating their standard of care. Built on a foundation of engagement, connectivity, and, importantly, diagnostic quality, Comunicare is setting a new benchmark for excellence in hearing care services.

This initiative is not just about addressing a gap in care; it’s about strategically redefining the landscape of audiological care in Mexico in a way that’s accessible, scalable, and more profitable. This case study explores Comunicare’s pilot project offering hearing care in Liverpool department stores using SHOEBOX Online for initial hearing screening and the SHOEBOX Consult + Remote Add-on for instant remote audiological assessment.

Background: Crafting a New Paradigm in Hearing Care

Comunicare, with the support of WSA Mexico, has established a partnership with Liverpool. With 124 locations, Liverpool is one of Mexico’s most well-known retail brands. The partnership has enabled the opening of hearing care shops within Liverpool’s already-established optical centers. These shops are operated by two specially trained sales consultants and leverage SHOEBOX solutions to deliver an innovative consumer journey. This streamlined experience includes initial hearing screenings via a kiosk with SHOEBOX Online, followed by comprehensive remote consultations using the SHOEBOX Consult + Remote Add-on. This model, which started with the launch of three locations in the second half of 2023, offers complimentary hearing screenings and opportunities for customers to try out hearing aids directly in-store.

The Consumer Journey Reimagined, Redesigned and Modernized

Comunicare has designed a strategy for hearing care that enhances the customer experience with several unique components. Here’s a breakdown of some elements that define their approach:

Patient having a virtual hearing assessment using the SHOEBOX Consult + Remote Add-on

  • Strong Initial Engagement
    In order to provide a comprehensive and convenient service, potential customers can take a self-administered SHOEBOX Online screening in the comfort of a designated attending room. These rooms are located within Liverpool’s optical clinic and are easily accessible from the optical store. Comunicare staff are available to assist customers with the testing process, explain the results, and invite them to another room for a remote audiological assessment if required. It’s important to note that only Comunicare staff engage with people interested in audiological services, as the staff from Liverpool’s optical department do not work for Comunicare.
  • Seamless Remote Audiological Consultations
    Those noticing hearing impairments are offered an immediate, complimentary virtual audiological consultation. During this session, a hearing care provider (HCP) conducts a thorough diagnostic evaluation using the SHOEBOX Consult + Remote Add-on. If necessary, the patient is fitted with hearing aids and can try them out for approximately half an hour in-store, ensuring they are happy with the amplification before making a purchase decision.
  • Personalized Experience
    Sales consultations take place in a custom-designed, quiet room that caters specifically to the patient’s experience. The room is equipped with the latest technology and a reliable Internet connection and features big-screen televisions that enable real-time, immersive interaction with the remote HCP. This environment, along with technical support on hand, enhances the patient’s comfort and trust in the process. The collaboration between the patient, the specialist, and the supporting technician ensures that the remote diagnostic appointment is effective and personable, significantly boosting patient engagement.
  • Beautiful and Modern Design
    Recognizing the importance of aesthetics in patient experience, Comunicare has crafted a way to seamlessly integrate its equipment within the store with an eye-catching design. It’s crucial that customers seamlessly transition from the Liverpool lavish retail environment to the Comunicare store.

Implementing SHOEBOX Solutions: A Game Changer in Hearing Care

Comunicare’s use of SHOEBOX solutions has led to an important transformation, optimizing resources and expanding access to hearing care through scalable solutions. The partnership with Liverpool and SHOEBOX’s technology eliminates the need for large spaces and traditional sound booths. Integrating the SHOEBOX Consult + Remote Add-on into the process has been crucial in establishing an audiological hub that transcends geographical barriers. This teleaudiology-powered approach allows HCPs at WSA Mexico’s central office to conduct comprehensive diagnostics and fittings remotely, breaking down physical barriers to care. Currently, two specialists work remotely as part of this pilot, with plans to hire more as more shops are opened.

Comunicare mobile kiosks powered by SHOEBOX Online

Comunicare has strategically placed mobile kiosks (pictured in this section) throughout the Liverpool store, including on different floors and in areas including restaurants, to capture customer attention from various locations within the building. This mobility is instrumental in reaching a broader audience and attracting customers throughout the shopping environment.

Initially, there were concerns about how patients would perceive a telehealth approach, but there has been no resistance since the pilot launched. By inviting people of all ages to take a free hearing screening, Comunicare has noticed that individuals are interested in their hearing health regardless of age. People with good hearing often encourage their partners, parents, or grandparents to also have their hearing tested. Furthermore, remote testing opens up opportunities to significantly expand the market for new hearing aid Points of Sale (PoS) across Mexico’s diverse demographics, from larger cities to smaller towns. This expansion not only showcases technological progress but also represents a strategic step towards inclusivity, ensuring that patients across Mexico can access high-quality audiological care. This shift demonstrates the potential of digital audiometry to overcome traditional limitations.

Results and Impact: Widening Horizons and Redefining Expectations

The Comunicare pilot has shown positive results in improving access to and optimizing hearing care. Data obtained from Comunicare regarding the success of the pilot program from November 2023 to January 2024 provides a performance breakdown across three Comunicare shops. Here are some of the highlights:

    1. Customer Engagement and Appointments:Comunicare's custom-designed box meant to store SHOEBOX equipment
      A total of 248 customers were recorded in their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, resulting in 169 scheduled appointments. This data indicates an interest in hearing health among store visitors and an effective strategy in engaging customers to take the next step toward hearing care.
    1. Strong Sales Conversion:
      Out of the 169 scheduled appointments, 106 translated into actual shop visits, leading to 35 of these individuals purchasing hearing aids. This means that the conversion rate was more than one-third and shows how effective Comunicare’s end-to-end process is in generating hearing aid sales.
    2. Two Distinct Customer Pathways:
      The customer journey splits at the start, with 68 individuals opting for the SHOEBOX Online test and 101 choosing to begin directly with a remote audiometric evaluation. This difference is based on the fact that some patients require their hearing loss to be identified during the initial screening, while others who are already using hearing aids or experiencing hearing difficulties proceed directly to more advanced testing.

This approach, integrating both SHOEBOX Online for initial engagement and the SHOEBOX Consult + Remote add-on for detailed remote assessments, effectively addresses diverse customer needs and reveals the power of digital tools in enhancing traditional audiology practices. This pilot underscores Comunicare’s commitment to patient-centric care, leveraging technology to ensure comprehensive hearing solutions are accessible to all. The success of the program shows a promising pathway for expanding this model to broader demographics, potentially reshaping hearing care in Mexico and beyond.

Luana Rosa along with some of her Comunicare teamConclusion: Pioneering the Future of Hearing Care in Mexico

Comunicare’s creative approach to hearing care in Mexico represents a significant advancement in tackling the challenges of a shortage of HCPs and limited access to hearing care. By leveraging SHOEBOX solutions and forming strategic partnerships, Comunicare has enhanced the consumer journey in hearing care with a focus on scalability and building patient-centered care processes.

Comunicare is currently focused on expanding its retail presence in Liverpool stores across Mexico. With a strategic plan to open nine new shops by the end of 2024, the company aims to establish a broader retail footprint in the country. To achieve this goal, Comunicare has brought on board key leadership figures such as Fernando Lopez, who is supervising the project, and Jessica Sugeys, the newly appointed Sales Manager tasked with strengthening the commercial team’s performance and driving the expansion efforts.

At SHOEBOX, our objective is to ensure that hearing care is accessible to all. This case study demonstrates the power of technology and innovation in overcoming traditional barriers and making accurate and efficient hearing care universally available.

Explore the full potential of our hearing screening and software-based audiometer solutions with teleaudiology capabilities. Join us in our mission to make hearing care available to everyone. Get in touch with us today to learn how our industry-leading audiometry solutions can improve your hearing care services.