improve your patient experience with the deaf queen boss, Kellina Powell

Episode 106
Improve Your Patient Experience with Deaf Queen Boss Kellina Powell

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Podcast Transcription Improve Your Patient Experience with the Deaf Queen Boss, Kellina Powell 

Welcome along to the business of Hearing podcast and today we have something a little unique for you, right? Because traditionally we've always had a very simple lens applied to this podcast and that is the majority of the listeners are privately owned clinics across North America and a growing number of ears from across the world and the lens we've always put on everything is the view of the business owner. It's how do we grow better businesses. It's how, how do we do better with sales, with marketing, where's the industry going, etc. and today we've got a different lens and that is the lens of somebody on the other  side of the fence because we're being joined by deaf  queen boss, which is Kellina Powell, who is the best-selling author of “Everyday I AJust Deaf” has been  with her hearing care provider for nearly two decades and over that time made a number of observations, a number of thoughts, a number of comments about what her provider has done so well and through many of the conversations she has with other hearing impaired individuals, what they wish their provider would do so an interesting lens to apply of somebody on the other side of the fence giving their wish list of  what their dream hearing care professional would do and some  of the lessons that we can learn and this was an interesting interview, as you're about to hear for a number of reasons, right? Just interesting to get another lens on this but also some really actionable ideas from things like events to proactive outreach to some of the little thing that we can be doing in order to drive more referrals, build better community with our patients and really do some meaningful work from a pediatric perspective so quite a lot in this. Hope you enjoy and over to me, I suppose.   


Welcome to the Business of Hearing podcast with me, Oli Luke, the place for entrepreneurial private practice hearing care clinic owners, the ones who drive better performance, grow their revenues and become simply impossible to compete with. Thank you so much for joining us. Pour yourself a cup of tea and let's get stuck into this week's episode. 


All right, so I'm here with the deaf queen boss, Kellina. I love that name, that self-imposed name by the way. So if a listener is unfamiliar with the work that you do, your story, et cetera, what do they need to know? 


For me? So, hi everybody. My name is Kellina Powell AKA Deaf Queen Boss so I am so many hats so the first thing I do, I am a mental health coach for young adults who have a disability and second, I am an international speakerI am an authorI do have my book.  It actually is on Amazon. It's called “Everyday I AJust Deaf and I'm also consulting as well, with partnership with different organizations, how to be more inclusive for the deaf community and also, as well, other disability and that's what I do.  


Beautiful. And naturally, this podcast is all focused on independent private practices, helping them to grow more successful businesses and we have guests on who specialize in maybe sales or marketing or other clinic owners sharing ideas and this conversation is slightly different because maybe it's the other side of the fence and the lessons from almost another perspective so yeah, I'd love a bit of your context on maybe some of the audiologists, hearing care professionals  that you've worked with and maybe some of the things you've observed over that time.   


Yes so, I became deaf when I was four so I actually had my Audiologist since I was born. I never had them just for show because I love them to death and they're my best friend, they really are! And so my audiologists are amazing however, they did actually help me with a lot of things in terms of my self-confidence and yeah, I'm excited.   


Got you. So I think that's an interesting one, right? You've had the same Audiologist since you were four and I don't know your age, but I'm going to guess that's maybe. I don't want to take a guess. Maybe 18 years. I'm just taking a guess, stabbing it out there, trying to.  I am 26. Okay. I went too far away then, right?   


Yeah, you're close.   


So why are you still with that Audiologist? What have they done that specifically stands out as a reason that you wouldn't go elsewhere? Because one thing I'm seeing now is the number of what we'd call kind of second opportunity patients, a patient that's had an unsatisfactory experience at one place and now looking for somebody that actually aligns with their values and that can help them is at an all-time high.  What has your audiologist done that's kept you there for that number of years?   


They did a number of things for me, so they actually. One provided me an event to attend to so every summer, they have all little kids get together and to learn about each other, which is really cool and that's something that every little kids need and then second, they actually helped me build my confidence so I had a lot of low self-esteem and a lot of self-doubt so what they did was they actually ordered me a teddy bear with a hair and aid on it and so I was like, wait, what? This is me so as a little girl. Oh, my God. When I first thought, I felt like it was yesterday and I actually still have that teddy bear in my room till this day, had it 26 years old, I still have it and it actually helped me build my confidence because when I was younger, I didn't have Barbie that looked like me. They didn't have Barbie that wear hearing aids so I'm always kind of, like, questioning the world and said, why did no teddy bear or no doll that had hearing aids? And so the fact that my audiologists were so smart and just thought about getting a teddy bear for me to boost my confidence even more because I will always remember that and that was something touching and my audiologist literally not just looked at me, as a client but they actually look at me as their family. I don't know what they did, but they had a really great connection with my mom and my grandma and they sat down with them. I will never forget this. I remember, I think I was in high school and I was trying to figure out what type of hearing aid I wanted. The audiologist didn't just throw me different tools in front of my face. They said, okay, what is your budget? Why are you looking at this one compared to this one? They literally sat down with me and my grandma and my aunt and just listening and they always listen and I feel like a lot of us sometimes as a business owner, we sometimes don't listen. Sometimes we do listen, sometimes we don't, right? And they did not just gooh, we know what's best for Kellina or yeah, we know. They didn't do that to me. They listened. They're like, okay well, we have these two option. It's up to you. What do you guys decide? And so they were very open and they were very honest and I feel like it's very hard to find an open and honest audiologist nowadays, to be honest, from what I heard and they were always following up with me every other three months or two months just to make sure my hearing aids okay but hey Kellina, we're just calling to follow up. We're not here to bug you and I said, oh no, everything is good. They're like, okay, do you need new hearing battery? Do you need new access to something? Do you need support? So the fact that they offer a lot of support system and a lot of resources for my family, they were able to provide that.  So that's why I stay with my audiologist for over 18 years.   


Beautiful. And I want to pick up on something there because many people who find themselves seeing patients, hearing care professional audiologist, what they're often told is they do a great job. They often ask patients for referrals, yet they often don't get the number of referrals they want. What's going on there? Is there anything we can learn here?  


Yes. So referrals are super important for every business so I feel like the reason why a lot of Audiologists are not getting a lot of referrals is because the client is not feeling that connection with you, right? The client needs to see like, okay, how much did this audiologist help me? How can this audiologist help my friend if I were to bring them? So I think that's another problem and two referrals. There's so many things. I wish I can break it down to everybody in one sentence, but I cannot. There's so many like... I just say, maybe they felt like that audiology is too expensive for the person. Maybe they feel like the audiologist is missing something for that friend. Everybody knows what that professional can help their friend with so I feel like because there's a missing piece in terms of either one, maybe lack of perceptible or the lack of support or resources that the audiologist is not referring them to so I noticed that with one of my friends because she switched to three different Audiologists. She asked me, said, Kellina, I need help to find all the, and I said, why? Why are you switching three? And I don't know. She said, no, because I feel like a lot of them just asking me for a lot of referrals and I'm like, interesting so why don't you help them? You know what she said to me? I don't feel like they're a family. I don't think they're helping me. That's why I never went back so I said, interesting and I don't know, I was very kind of shocked when she told me that. She said, I just feel like they are not here to support me so she felt like when she spoke to the audiologist and asked them and I got questioned in terms of resources, they didn't know a lot, and she had to go online and look up her stuff, which is shocking. How are you an audiologist and don't have any resources or any connection for your client? So it was hard for her so I referred her to my audiologist and she's like, oh, my God, they're very opening, they're very funny. They give a lot of support on the first time and I said, yeah, my audiologist treat you like family so if you're someone who don't treat your clients like family, there's no work, always treat your clients as family. Do not just treat your client as client and I always tell audiologists, reverse it the other way round, how would you feel? So a lot of time Audiologists don't think. Imagine if you reversed it, right? If it were terrible turn, you would say the same thing, right?  


Got you. Okay, let's break this down, right? So an audiologist listening and they're like, okay, well, this is interesting. I'm sure every single one would argue that I treat my patients like family but maybe that's a lens they apply to it like we all do, right? We all think we're the greatest human alive until put up to us so give us a bit more depth on that so if you had to create the characteristics of your dream audiologist in terms of what values they would bring, how you would be treated, what would that look like?   


For me, first thing is following up with us once a while, maybe once, three years. It depends on the client. I know every client is different. Second, provide, do a workshop in your office, right. I think that's why a lot of people stay with my audiologist because they always do workshop fun activities, even like this year they do in a big Christmas event for every family and all the kids and I guess that's why a lot of people love my audiologist because they do a lot of networking events, a lot of events for the kids and I love it and also as well, be warming, be welcoming, and always ask questions. I feel like when you ask a lot of questions to your clients, they're going to see that you care about us more than anything else and offer support like hey, by the way, I saw something that may interest you. You think this may be interested in you and also too, don't ask for referral too quick. Make sure you develop the relationship with that client first before asking for referrals.  


Nice. Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense and what's interesting there is the characteristics you explained are typically, it's almost not the roles of a typical audiologist, right.  It's the stuff that happens outside of the consult room or whatever when you spend the time with the audiologist, it's the fact they're community focused, it's the fact they're personally checking in with you on a human level, it's the fact they're saying you've seen this, it may be of interest and it's not the latest widget or the latest device. It's much more like I know you. It's almost hitting the show me that you know me button. Yeah, it's interesting and it's interesting.  


Yeah, and one more thing too, sorry, one more thing is not to have. I know it's hard because there's only 30 minutes with each client but try not to have a too long waitlist, especially if client hearing aids does not work. It happened to me so many times. I noticed that with my friend. She also did the same thing too about the waitlist. It were too long for her because she noticed that one time her and his broke and she went to Audiologist right before work and they couldn't take her in within like two or 3 hours. I was like, what? And she was like “Kellina, I couldn't go to work for one whole day and I was really upset and then my Audiologist, what I do is I just walk in and they're like, okay, what is it we need to fix? And then they will fix it right on the dot on the corner or on the side for me for like 1020 minutes and then I don't have to wait for appointment. That's why I like about my Audiologist because I know when my hearing aid is broken, I'm like, I need you to fix the tube, please. That's all you need to do and so I had the audiologist be more educational about the hearing aid so that way when a client comes to something broken, at least they can explain to you what is broken.  


Nice and this education piece seems interesting. Help me understand the workshops.  Your audiologist, what do they do in terms of workshops? What are they about? I'm just intrigued to see how these are structured? 


So they do workshop for everybody, not just kids, but they do provide a lot of education on how the hearing aids works. What are the different parts of the hearing aid called and how can we fix it on our own instead of having to go to a lot of timeI'm born in Canada, so I'm Canadiababy. Some Audiologists are far from one another so sometimes for me especially, I cannot always travel to my audiologist because they're too far and they would teach me on Zoom or give me a YouTube link for me to learn how to fix it instead of having to go there so they teach me that. They teach me a lot about my ears in terms of where I can hear and teach me how to understand my audiogram. 90% of clients I know who don't know the audiogram so please teach your clients what they can hear what they cannot hear. I literally just study my audiogram when I was 20 years old. So every audiologist teach your client. That's it.  


Nice. And it's interesting because I think one thing we see at a big market level right now is the typical, we'll keep calling them patients for ease but the typical patient is changing. Traditionally it's been people born prior to 1945, made up of what would be titled the silent generation and they lived through World War II, the Great Depression, like a very different type of patient to what's following which is the baby boomers who see themselves significantly younger, like they are significantly younger. A 70-year old today is a lot younger mentally and the way they see themselves than a 70 year old a couple of decades so I think we are seeing more a deeper desire to learn and a big thing that we do from our marketing perspective is education like baby boomers or any younger patient wants to learn. They're not just going to go on Google and find the first clinic that says we sell hearing aids and call them. They want to understand, they want to do the research, they want to feel smart and capable, that they make the right decision and on this note, I think what's interesting here is over the next 20 years, and maybe even the next ten years, the expectations of the average patient is going to be significantly different than the expectations if we go ten years prior and I like this conversation and idea of what would a dream audiologist look like? But if we had to kind of cast ourselves ten years in the future and consider how would you want to communicate? What would you want that experience to look like? I'm just intrigued to see where your head initially goes.   


For me, I would love if my audiologists do not call my phone. I do not like phone calls.  For me, I like to do more zoom appointment. I know some clients, I know a lot of people that I feel like it's a waste of time going to the audiologist to do just a basic interview, basic phone call from ten years from now. I feel like it should be more again, everybody different, a lot more zoom calls, more emailing. I know a lot of people like emails and more workshop and about education, about audiogram, hearing aid. Why one of the other is expensive than the other one? How could it be more beneficial? And especially now that hearing aids are becoming into like a blue tooth and cochlear implant, same thing as well so I noticed that surgery now for cochlear implant, they're trying to do it through a machine nowThey’re very interesting so I think that ten years from now, it's going to be very interesting. 


Yeah and it feels like convenience is the big thing, right? The way you'd interact with both businesses. It's almost easier to order a pizza than it would be to contact an audiologist, right? Or contact your audiologist, surely. Yeah. If I cast myself in the future, it is more. Can I drop an instant message? Could I drop a WhatsApp message, a text message, whatever the platform of the future will be and the relationship to be that way around. Yeah, that certainly makes a lot of sense.   


Also too, super important to follow up with clients every three or four months. I know some people, some audiologists. I understand that the workload is very long busy, believe it or not, audiology is super busy. I think. Who was it? I think it was one of the administration. I remember her, she was like, oh, my God, this is so much email to send out. There's so many clients. I remember she wassat there and I heard her, oh, my God.  It's very important to follow up with your clients. You never know what's going to happen to your clients. For example, I remember I was in a hospital one time and the audiologist called me and said hey, we just wanted to follow up, you're okay and I was like oh, I'm in the hospital right now, so I'll call you guys back. They're like, no, wait, don't hang up. Are you okay?   


Got you.   


But yeah, anything can happen with your clients. That's why I would tell every audiologist, follow up with your client, be consistent with your clients. Try your best to not have such a long session. I know a lot of audiologists have an hour and a half with the clients but just make sure you try to speak with them, educate them, even to provide them books that they can bring home so they can study the tool, the hearing loss. Yeah, and that would be important too.   


Got you. All right, well, let me prime this with a question then. What was quite interesting, what you said there is, there's almost a first for your provider to be proactive rather than reactive because it sounds like the majority it would be.  They'll only respond or speak to you once you prompt that communication and what you're really desperate for is somebody to actually take the lead. Lead the dance and the front foot which certainly makes a lot of sense. What else comes to mind in terms of what the dream audiologist could do?   


I hope that audiologists can do it more event for little kids for the summer, Christmas holiday or any other holiday. Make your community get together.  


Right. It's all about community. Once you create the community, richer client referral is going to come back quickly because when parents do that, you're making an effort creating event for their child to connect with other child that they don't know that exists in the world. You're creating a community, a safe space for your clients, because kids are your clients, right? The parents are trying to help you so I feel like most importantly, try to create events you can. Don't do it back to back. I know a lot of us have time for that but create like a big one, like one Christmas event, one Thanksgiving event, or even before back to school. That's a great one. Actually, they did a back to school for all the kids. It was really cool and then my audiologist got so much bigger after that because parents were referring, referring, referring and they were consistent about events, back to school, summer events, Christmas party.   


That’s so powerful. I never really considered that from a pediatrics perspective. A lot of audiologists help their time, helping the child naturally reconnect with better hearing.  But there's also the other side, which is from a social perspective, like give them a safe environment. Wow, that's really powerful. And help me understand some of the work that you do now so we get a variety of listeners to this podcast, not all independent businesses. Yeah, help us understand some of the work that you do with individuals in order to help empower them, et cetera? 


Yeah, for sure sI do one on one coaching. I do not do no group coaching so I focus on empowering them and how we can improve their mental health so what I do is, again, it depends how old the client is so every client is different. For example, if the client comes to mecan you help me kellina, for example, I’m 16 years old. I need help with my mental health, any help with my anxiety, depression so I focus on positive psychology instead of negative psychology. I basically focus on their goals and the end goal. I don't look at their past, I focus on what they're looking for right now, so once I go through three to six months, depending on the client's need so if I do three months with the client, I meet with them once a week and we focus on how can we improve their situation better and how we can get them out there, right? I teach them how to advocate. I give them a lot of advocacy tips because a lot of us struggle how to advocate for ourselves. I give them that feedback and as well, I know some parents want to be involved as well so a lot of parents are involved in the coaching program with the child because I do need a parent to see that we have to make sure the child is able to be independent after my coaching program so I want to be able to teach the kid that you can do it. If I can do it, you can do it and also as well, my book so my book is about me being deaf every day, daily, basic. And what I basically talk about is a poetry book. I just talked about me, right? What it's like to be deaf daily basis, realistically and I also do international speaking. I go schools, organizationI do travel. People always ask me, are you willing to travel? And I say, yeah, I'm open. Always do and I do consulting as well. I teach people how to be more inclusive for the deaf community and also other disability community as well  


Wonderful. And if people want to learn more about you, where should they go?   


You can go on my website, which is or you can find me on LinkedIn, Kellina Powell. 


Beautiful. All right, well appreciate your time.  


Thank you.   


And that is a wrap, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for listening to the Business of Hearing podcast but before this comes to an end, I do have a small favor to ask. You see, we strongly believe that a rising tide lifts all boats and our mission is to help private practice to soar fight back and for the best clinics to dominate the future and here's how you can help by spreading the word about the Business of Hearing podcast. Whether something as simple as subscribing or leaving a five-star review through to recommending this podcast to a friend, a colleague, or even dare I say, sharing this episode through any Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups that you are part of. If you enjoyed this podcast and I'm eternally grateful for your time and I'll see you again next week. 

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Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kellina Powell, better known as the ‘Deaf Queen Boss’.

If you’re not familiar, she’s gained quite the following since launching her best-selling book ‘Everyday I Am Just Deaf’ and supporting/coaching other individuals on a similar path to overcome their fears to conquer anxiety and depression.

What was so interesting about this interview?

  • She shared why she’s stuck with her same audiologist for nearly two decades.
  • She shared where she thinks the hearing care industry can “step up” to better support patients
  • And she explained what her dream audiologist would look like and the main frustrations that she (and her coaching clients) encounter(s) with most hearing care professionals.

It’s an interesting and open discussion, and applies a very unique lens.

Enjoy, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas/holidays.

P.S – I’m planning a little down-time over the holidays, so there will be no episode released next week, but I have some MEGA stuff to share with you in January.

Have a good’en!

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Find out more about how “Inner Circle” members are transforming their hearing care practice with the help of the Orange & Gray team.

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📈 A clinic that has launched a premium monthly subscription program that includes community perks, benefits and annual upgrades (yes, ANNUAL upgrades) ... yet earns them industry-high margins!

📹 How one clinic has bought themselves 6+ hours back on the schedule each week by implementing a series of helpful patient videos (that is also winning them patients from competitors

🔎 How two clinics have built industry-first programs to attract existing hearing aid wearers that are either unsatisfied with their existing provider, or new to the area (and turn this into a profit-center for their business)

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