Don't Call Us, We Won't Respnd

Why is it when John Q. Public contacts (by phone) a hearing aid manufacturer the first question from the aid representative is “Are You A Hearing Aid Dealer”? As in “if you’re a HA Dealer” please go a head with your question. But if you’re not selling hearing aids and want more information, "please contact your nearest Phonak, Widex, Resound, etc. dealer and they will answer your questions.

Now I’m sure there are a few here who claim they can call up any aid manufacturer and get direct answer they want. And my response would be “so when do pigs fly”. Hearing Aid manufactures are not “customer support friendly - period”. Case and point you would think there would be a “hot line” for anyone using or thinking of using a hearing aid, where basic questions/answers could be exchanged for the benefit of both parties. Like “when is such and such company coming out with a replacement aid/new aid or how do I get my aid to work or connect properly” etc.

Personally I think customer support is pretty important when someone is considering buying something that cost $2000 plus. But for what ever reason HA manufactures don’t really want to get into customer support. If anyone should have an issue with their new aid or have a question about a rumored new aid - the standard response line “contact your nearest hearing aid dealer” and ask them the questions you have.

Well maybe I don’t want to contact an Audi or a hearing aid salesmen, prior to getting some first hand information on a certain aid I’m interested in. Maybe I’m looking for more information then consumer reports offers (which is limited) or some other independent hearing aid review. Maybe I don’t want to make an appointment with an Audi until after I’ve done some homework and contacted X,Y, Z, company about their current aids and asked some general questions.

Why should hearing aid users get the cold shoulder from aid manufactures if they have a some general questions that need to be asked to gathering information about a current aid, or a upcoming new aid? Doesn’t two way communication benefit both parties, if at the end of the day it ends in a hearing aid sale??? But I don’t know how many times I’ve read on HT, “my Audi contacted such and such HA company” versus “the actually buyer or prospective buyer of a hearing aid contacted such and such HA company”.

Sorry about the redundancy but when someone spends say over $4000, or $5000 plus for two hearing aids - they don’t need to be told " Don’t call us - Call your aid supplier". That’s flat out cold.

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Most of that goes to the provider (your Audiologist). Invoice prices of HAs are shockingly lower than the total price (including more personal service than hardware!!).

Yes I would like more transparent communication in this racket but it is the way it is for some fairly good reasons.

I’m in agreement. The audiologists / HA dealers in my area have attitudes right out of new car dealer’s attitude books. Straight answers? Not usually. Most don’t have the knowledge base to address any technical questions. Typical response: Gee, no one ever asked that before. (Long silence, no effort to even show any interest). Usual conversation then directed into (unrelated) sales of their product, & how talented they are in dispensing aids.

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Although I certainly won’t claim that hearing aid companies provide stellar support, my experiences have been mixed. I’ve generally had pretty good luck if I’m trying to figure out how to do something (like connect to a phone or use an app), much less so getting technical information. My biggest successes were with a phone number given to me by an audiologist and one I found just doing a Google search. I usually get responses to emails, but it’s clear the person answering the email has limited knowledge. They say they forward the question, but I rarely hear back. I wouldn’t expect to be able to get info on new products. Releasing a product is a big deal, often involving a press release and a whole marketing campaign. They don’t want many details to leak.

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I have some frustration trying to get technical answers from manufacturers as well. I sent an email to GN Resound asking about the MM receiver and if a UP was in the works. They didn’t answer my email, not even a sorry we can’t tell a potential customer anything.
, I also set up an appointment with an AUD for the new Resound One and when I went to the appointment I was told by the AUD that she would have to study up on programming and fitting this new model. Didn’t give me a lot of confidence, but I hope by the time I pick them up she has done her homework.
I have also wondered why some manufacturers don’t get involved in the technical questions on this forum. Why? There are some very smart folks who pose a lot of good questions. Would it really hurt them to get involved and possibly correct some misperceptions or educate us?
After all a top tear HA might be the third most expensive item a person buys after a house and car.

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prices are even more shockingly lower when you buy used and program yourself :grin:

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You just hit the nail on the head, with your “third most expensive” item purchased in a lifetime. And just think of the escalating cost if you’ve been wearing HA for 15, 20, 25 plus years. If anything after some one forks over “Big Bucks” for a premium hearing aid, you’d think GN Hearing, Widex, Phonak, Oticon, and who ever else would send you a (thank you note/thank you email) saying “should you have any questions or concerns with your new aid” please contact us at phone number/email address. I don’t blame the middle man on this being the Audi or HA vendor, ENT doctor, etc. But if I have a problem with my iPhone rest assured Apple will respond in short order and at least act as if they care and assist where needed. Buying a hearing aid is so much more than just a 3 year warranty to cover possible damage or operational issues. But then again from a HA manufacturer’s view point, from the CEO down to the telephone customer reps, the less said the better. Which is not a very comforting factor to those who use HA every day.

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  1. You’re not the manufacturer’s customer.

  2. It’s surprisingly difficult to get straight technical information as a hearing professional as well.

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I don’t find it surprising that the manufacturer will not answer calls directly from the patient. It is similar to a pacemaker manufacturer taking calls from a patient. In general, that patient does not have the technical knowledge necessary to carry on a technical discussion with their tech reps. Their tech rep time is very expensive. If they were to develop a system to interact with patients, they would have to add that cost into the cost of the hearing aids. They expect you to interface with the audiologist.

In my experience over twenty years or more, there are very few audiologists that are much better than used care salespersons. The last one I went to in Kansas was right out of the university and could do little more than match audiograms and curves on a programming system. I still contend that programming an aid is an art beyond just the technical gadgets.

I am hoping the OTC aids will be sufficient for my needs but probably not due to my hearing loss. The Airpods Pro aren’t there yet. Others are coming to market. Maybe with a little market pressure, the hearing aid pros will step up their game.

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That s not always true. There some of us customers/patients that are more technical that even the doctors and Audiologist. Some of us are schooled in design, some in repair and troubleshooting, and some that have been fully rounded to do it all. I am a retired IT professional that was a electronics engineer before the IT Profession, and before that an electronic technician. I was trained in the beginning as an audio and communication troubleshooter. What makes hearing aids complicated is the firmware. The hardware is really just very small common audio components, controlled by a processor with complicated software formulas.

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You are absolutely correct. But the manufacturers are not set up to deal with hearing aid users. Staffing a service department for that would be cost prohibitive and time consuming. they would have to add that cost to the price of the aids.

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Basically manufactures are set up to just build and sell. Let someone else (other than glossy HA websites) explain the nuts and bolts of hearing aids. Been that way for decades, if not when the first HA ever came out. Ultimately patient satisfaction should be the priority of any organization, regardless of market size. HA customers aren’t just asking for “customer experience”, they are asking for products that fit their needs and lifestyle. Customers want to be heard and listened to, as well as properly cared for even after the “sale.”

But have fun looking up a customer service phone number for various aid manufactures. They either don’t exist or are channeled only for hearing aid distributors. And I really disagree that the cost to maintain small customer service staff, is not cost effective. I think it would pay back in spades, since with good customer service - you get repeat customers.

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When I buy a TV, cell phone, printer, s/w, refrigerator, etc. from a dealer — the mfr. almost always provide cust. serv.

As an aside I have never seen the amount posted on this forum as to what a dealer pays for a HA. Of course HA sellers are expected to spend hours of post sale time w. the customer.
OTH, why should I spend the same amount for an hour two of follow up as someone who takes hours?

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It’s an interesting thought experiment; I’ve experienced similar interaction with Oticon (they go as far as to respond to emails and/or Tweets, then either provide the same “canned” responses and/or go through my audiologist).

Makes you appreciate the Costco model i.e. sell private label products made by an external manufacturer. Although some people know their manufacturer is ReSound (I think? Never owned Costco HAs) most customers would likely pursue customer support via Costco and not directly to the manufacturer.

Sounds like there’s still a market gap. Imagine if a large Audiology group made customer service their sole focus, and sold private label HAs…think the Costco business model with a premium feel.

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That’s kind of the approach of Audigy.

I’ve seen markup figures of as much as 400%. This is why I am turned off by the total lack of response and non-existent customer service.

My experience is about the same. I sent a question via Facebook message to GE Resound and got the usual reply about them responding as soon as possible. That was a couple of weeks ago. Why have a Facebook page in the first place? I asked Dr. Cliff a gnarly question once about the Connect Clip after he did a review of it. It took him quite a while to get a response (which was curt).

well after about 12 years of using my phonaks’ …i consider help from the mfg. is about as likely to happen as my full hearing problem will go away…now if i would like to update to the latest model, and $7000.00 that is a differant story…soooooo dont expect to much help…(there is no way the mfg. can cover the user help demand)…so like goes on we do the best we can with the tools we have. wish ya well

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I used to work for a mobile phone manufacturer.
We had 450 total staff.
We sold 1 million phones a month.
How exactly could the firm support multiple millions of phone users?
They can’t - that’s why you have phone shops.

The hearing aid business is no different.

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Hearing aid manufactures don’t sell 1 million aids a month. Closer to to 1000 - 2000 (total) aids a month. They could easily handle questions or concerns of current aid users, but choose to not get involved.