In the 13th of our series of interviews with healthcare industry professionals, Fiona Wiseman, Consumer Marketing Manager for Mobilis Healthcare, talks to On Target about her working life.
What happens in your typical working week? What challenges do you face?
My biggest challenge at the moment is trying to balance my work and home life. I have a one-year-old child, and my journey to work takes 75 minutes, so it can be quite hectic.
One of the first things I do when I get into the office is review the sales performance. In particular, I’m looking at the web performance: that’s quite a new element of our business, and I’m keen to see how the websites are performing. I’m looking at online sales and evaluating the analytics behind them and looking at how well we’re performing in the search engines.
The big challenge, obviously, is the economic climate. I’m constantly looking at ways in which we can add value to help our customers, so there’s lots of promotional activity at present (offline as well as online). We try to talk to customers daily; but one of the biggest challenges I find in customer relations is actually getting hold of the right people, especially within the NHS.
I’m looking at web development: talking to customers effectively online is crucial for us, and because we talk to various markets it’s important that we get the right message to the right audience. We often use direct mail as one method, but talking to them via e-mail is something we can do more costeffectively. In the current climate, reaching the right people in a cost-effective manner is quite a big challenge.
Who are your target customers and how do you reach them?
We supply healthcare equipment for physiotherapy, podiatry and orthotic solutions, from large capital items to wound dressings. Our customers include the NHS and private practitioners. Another key market for us is professional sports clubs, especially football and rugby clubs. We also sell products through sports retail outlets and pharmacies.
The NHS is a huge target market, and the best way for us to access NHS customers is through sales people. It is important that we help them serve their patients better and provide the right level of care. Talking to them face to face is most effective, and we do this through conferences, study days and training days. Other methods include direct mail and e-mail if appropriate.
The sports clubs are very personal operations: they rely quite heavily on our sales people to provide them with the right advice and products. Retailers obviously want to make sure they can bring customers into the store, so we need to ensure they have the right point of sale to attract customers.
Recently we supplied the TV series Gladiators with supports and medical equipment – which we did initially when the show first came on TV, years ago. When we heard it was coming back, we got in touch and offered to provide them with the relevant supports, which have been tried and tested by professional sports people for years. You could say we were supplying them with all the support they needed! From the feedback we got, the Gladiators themselves were very impressed – and our new Vulkan Si black and silver supports were more in keeping with their outfits.
Occupational health is another major area for us. We have a wide range of products in posture and back care, so we’re talking to OH professionals about solutions to address back problems at work. We’ve supplied Sorbothane insoles for corporations such as Asda and Toyota – and for the military and emergency services, where the insoles are recommended by the employer but purchased by individuals.
How is the market for assistive technologies in the UK changing?
The market is changing because traditional technology companies are recognising that this area represents a market for them to develop – supplying, for example, telephones for the visually impaired or alarm clocks for the hearing impaired. As a result, it’s becoming a lot easier for specialist companies like us to provide people with aids to daily living.
In the current economic climate, we all face challenges. We need to maintain our customer base and make sure we are actively listening to them – because whether they are in retail or in healthcare, the economic crisis means they are struggling. We have to do all we can to help them continue to provide an effective service to their customers.