Tanya Mitchell • Benalla • Wangaratta • Wodonga
Mitchell HealthCare is looking after people across north-east Victoria as they get older, providing the tools they need to age at home and retain their mobility.
The business provides equipment for hire and sale in showrooms in Wodonga, Benalla and Wangaratta. But Mitchell HealthCare is more than just a retailer or service provider. It provides services to meet the needs of its diverse customer base, both privately and via government contracts.
If, for example, people are having trouble driving, Mitchell Healthcare can move their accelerator pedal to somewhere more accessible, or equip a hoist that can lift a power wheelchair out of the boot.
When Tanya Mitchell started the business 13 years ago, she understood that her customers would be looking for an added level of understanding as they navigated the ageing process, and that suited her fine.
“I wanted to work somewhere that craved customer service, that really valued it. I’m passionate about delivering that and the previous sector I was in didn’t require it,” Tanya says.
But what makes for excellent customer service? A big part is listening and hearing, which are both part of the company’s values alongside integrity, trust and courage.
But that kind of authentic, human interaction is only possible when it’s enabled by good systems.
“When someone goes out to fix something and they don’t have the right part? That drives me spare,” Tanya says.
“We keep track of everything everyone buys, so they can give us a ring and say ‘the thing is broken on the thing’ and we can look up what they have and know what they’re talking about.”
“If a hoist is broken, for example, we know what model it is, bring a whole other one and take the parts we end up needing. That way we make sure the problem gets taken care of there and then. That’s important.”
“I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, to serve and care, with a business that’s a place where people like to work and can do a good job.”
With a business that, as well as its three showrooms, includes a warehouse and employs a team of 17, the goal has been achieved.
Tanya credits events such as the Small Business Festival with providing a fresh flow of ideas and advice that is not always easy to come by in country Victoria.
“The calibre of speakers that have come, for a town of just 8,000 people, is just incredible. We could never afford access to them otherwise.”
Small Business Victoria events have provided Tanya and her business with access to ongoing mentors and new business relationships.
“There was a time where I was struggling – we were in a drought, and bushfires made smoke everywhere – and the likes of (business consultant) Debra Templar from The Templar Group turned up and blew me away. I asked her what to do and she told me. I did it and it worked. So I went back. That access to people who know so much really does make a difference and helps steer us in the right direction.”
To this day, the staff at Mitchell HealthCare still regularly attend these events and the workplace looks to implement at least one idea immediately after each session.
The next frontier for the business is the digital space, including online sales via a new website. And, of course, the new opportunities are being backed up by well-considered systems.
The warehouse has been expanded to provide the capacity needed to service new markets and videos will aim to walk customers through a learning process on how to choose the equipment that best suits them.
Tanya is also looking across the business on the hunt to “eliminate as many keystrokes as possible”.