Based in Macquarie Park in Sydney, Cochlear is a recognised industry leader in implantable hearing solutions and is committed to providing specialised solutions for children and adults who are affected by deafness or hearing loss. Good science and lifetime service to customers sit at the core of their approach to innovation.
Since the change of CEO in 2015, Cochlear have been moving away from the traditional focus of manufacturing and research and development (R&D) to become more customer orientated.
Senior Vice President of People and Culture, Katharine McLennan discusses the shifting strategy of Cochlear and the importance of collaboration for improving the awareness and accessibility of their products.
“We’re starting to treat our customers as a lifetime set of customers, where we used to be directly business to business, we’re doing more and more directly with our consumer, so it’s a big change for us.”
To facilitate this shift, Katharine has been occupied with finding the right people to bring in the needed capability and understanding to the business, “my role is all about getting the right skills in place – we’ve been historically strong in R&D and in manufacturing, but now we have to become strong at many of the other commercial skills, so I have been busy hiring.”
Cochlear have looked to other businesses within the precinct, as well as globally, for talent. “I’ve brought someone that was head of global marketing for Abbott Diabetes Care in the US and he’s helping us apply a lot of what he did there, including how we can market directly to our consumers here, and globally” explains Katherine.
“Up until recently, we were a manufacturer generating a new product every couple of years, then selling it and not understanding how the customers were behaving with it, not knowing what the customers wanted, not comprehending the different segmentation of customers, and not appreciating their satisfaction.”
Customer driven metrics and data analytics at Cochlear looks to change this, “we have all the data on our customers, if they’re upgrading their products on a regular basis, we’re also tracking their satisfaction and their upgrading frequency.”
Cochlear have also collaborated with the government and a number of non-profit organisations, and have set up the Australian hearing hub in Macquarie University. The hub brings together experts from the audiology community to discuss the latest research and future direction for the industry. The hearing hub has been modelled in other places around the world, and provides opportunities for private and public partnerships. “We partnered with one of the largest hearing aid companies in the world and our products work in tandem with them – we’re constantly learning from each other.”
“Through a whole series of partnerships, partial acquisitions or full acquisitions, that’s going to allow us to expand our knowledge base and keep in touch with what’s going on in the future.” Cochlear is looking at the extension of their supply chains and relationships with hearing clinics, as it will impact their future ability to give service to patients.
By working closely with their partners and the government, Cochlear is ensuring they are at the forefront of technology in the future remain committed to improving the awareness and accessibility of their products, in the hope of reaching and empowering more lives affected by hearing loss.
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