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dmi:Design Value Award Winner - Amplifon, Smart Design
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dmi:Design Value Award Winner




Design Influence & Impact in Hearing-Care Retail

Amplifon, Smart Design


Approximately 15% of the world’s adult population has some level of hearing loss, of which only 37% adopt a hearing solution. It takes an average of seven years for a person to recognize and act on a hearing loss issue. Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, and even dementia. Because hearing health is a complex and emotional problem, Amplifon needed to address the stigma associated with hearing loss by creating better ways for people to seek help sooner. Amplifon has led the hearing health market for decades as a holistic provider of devices, diagnostics, and support services. With the threat from new competitors emerging from adjacent categories, and shifts in regulation and technology, Amplifon needed to be at the forefront of innovation to ensure its future position in the category.

Amplifon partnered with Smart Design to create a global customer experience (CX) strategy and roadmap of initiatives to address unmet customer needs and increase the value of their services in order to drive sustained business growth and provide greater consistency across the store network. With more than 11,000 stores in 28 countries, Amplifon needed to unify the brand experience across locations and franchises. Our cross-functional team took a human-centered design approach by meeting with 160 people in six countries (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, and Italy) to understand their pain points and motivations. By shadowing staff, audiologists, and customers, the project team analyzed customer value perception across the entire hearing care journey and identified key moments where there were major gaps in customer expectations, as well as the greatest opportunities for innovation.

Working with stakeholders throughout the Amplifon organization, five macro innovation streams were identified as opportunities for creating CX transformation to increase market penetration, loyalty, and average selling price. The transformation builds on existing strengths to provide a seamless experience that extends beyond the store while supporting the wider strategic aims and providing effective measures to monitor progress. The first strategic markets of the new Amplifon Product Experience and related initiatives launched in 2018. As a result of this work, Amplifon’s stock performance increased 82% in 2019.

This global CX initiative allowed Amplifon to spur broad internal changes that resulted in a more responsive and innovative organization. At the store level, employees have benefited from the refocused company goals, and have provided feedback that these initiatives have better enabled them to reach sales targets. Additionally, with new digital tools, employees are able to offer a more holistic customer service experience through the multi-channel digital ecosystem.

Amplifon also created educational and awareness-raising activities to illustrate the importance of hearing health in the community, including an app that measures the noise level of the surrounding environment to increase awareness of responsible listening. These programs reflect the wide range of people affected by hearing loss.

By launching customer-centric initiatives, Amplifon aims to normalize and consumerize the experience, making hearing care solutions more transparent, trusted, and accepted by prospects and existing customers. Underpinning the CX strategy is the development of a digital ecosystem that enables Amplifon to personalize the customer experience for different customer types. The resulting experience guides customers through understanding their hearing loss, finding the right hearing aid, adjusting to wearing a hearing aid, supporting their everyday lives and discovering new products based on their usage patterns.  

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