Relationships are key for Sales Executive Rich

It’s a love of working with people that gets Sales Executive Rich Hurn, to his desk every morning.  That, and knowing he’s working for a company that makes a difference.

Formerly a photocopier salesman, Rich joined Contacta seven years ago and now handles clients across five key sectors.  The one that currently keeps him the busiest is the healthcare sector.

“It’s no surprise that there is a greater awareness of hearing loss in this sector,” said Rich.  “There is a growing focus on equality and inclusiveness, particularly within the NHS.  The people I deal with now have ‘Equality’ or ‘Accessibility’ in their job role.”

Rich is currently working with a large number of NHS Healthcare Trusts, such as East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kings College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation, St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, and more.

The projects vary from the installation of a hearing loop at patient reception desks to a full-scale rollout of loop and window intercom systems throughout multiple sites involving hundreds of pieces of equipment.

The COVID effect

As well as a greater awareness of the accessibility needs of patients, demand for Rich’s expertise has also been driven by the COVID pandemic.

The installation of protective screens has made it difficult for patients and staff to hear each other.  Some settings, such as care homes, have visiting rooms divided by screens that span the entire width of the room and reach floor to ceiling, creating a complete barrier to sound.

Contacta’s window intercom systems have offered a real solution to a serious problem and Rich encourages all of his clients, where possible, to make a hearing loop part of the project.

“We designed a new entry-level range of window intercoms in 2020 especially in response to the pandemic as this was an unexpected expense for many businesses.  The majority of my care sector clients wanted to include a hearing loop because of the prevalence of hearing loss among their target age group.”

Rich is also responsible for clients in the leisure sector which have been hit particularly hard by lockdown.  Because of the strong relationships he’s built with them, his clients know that as their venues re-open and they resume their accessibility programmes, Rich will be on hand to support them.

“I’ve been working with the same contact at the National Trust for six years now.  We have a great relationship and it’s a pleasure to work with such a great organisation.  National Trust are constantly striving to improve accessibility at their sites and I always do my best to meet their needs”

Back on the road

The pandemic has also meant meetings and some site assessments have been done online.  Rich is glad face-to-face visits are now resuming.

“I was lucky to have been able to work from home to a great extent last year, and so far this year.  Contacta have been amazing in keeping us all safe! But I love being out on the road and meeting new people.

“Where we can, we carry out surveys for window intercom systems or counter hearing loops via photos and virtual meetings.  It’s safer for us but it also means we’re not driving for a couple of hours or more, and that’s better for the environment.  But site surveys for large area loop systems still need to be carried out on site which I’m fully geared up for.”

An expert eye

Since the introduction of new standards for building design, Rich says, specifications for assistive listening systems are now being included in plans for new buildings, rather than being added retrospectively.  This makes installation easier and gives Rich an opportunity to make sure the design of the system is right first time.

“I can advise on any changes that need making if I can see something that would affect the performance of the system.  It’s so important to have plans reviewed by experts like us to make sure the installation is correct and works well.  Ultimately, people with hearing loss need to be able to go into the building, switch their hearing aid to the ‘T’ position and hear clearly.”

Rich is proud to work for Contacta because, he says, our products are important.  It’s something he is passionate about – unlike photocopiers.

“This is a career for me now, whereas before I just had a ‘job’,” he says. “l’m really pleased that I can do what I love – talking to people – and making a difference.  I feel valued in the company and am lucky enough to work with a fantastic team.”

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