CQ Partners logo
The Hearing Group CQ Member Spotlight

The Hearing Group

How an Idea Grows into Long-Term Success

In an industry where technology is constantly changing, patient preferences demand new marketing strategies, and obstacles like managed care present themselves, how does a practice continue to grow? In our latest member spotlight, we learn how an idea to create something better combined with an innovative spirit creates a thriving business of 20 years. Owners and providers of The Hearing Group, Robbi Hershon, Au.D., CCC-A, and Debra Knapp, Au.D., CCC-A, have proved that consistency, adaptability, and dedication to patient care leads to long-term success.

“Always be learning. What’s going on in your industry? What’s going on in your area? What’s going on with your patients? Listen to your patients, be consistent, and be able to change.” ~ Robbi Hershon, Au.D., CCC-A

Q&A with Robbi Hershon, Au.D., CCC-A, and Debra Knapp, Au.D., CCC-A, owners of The Hearing Group

The Hearing Group logo Robbi Hershon and Debra Knapp The Hearing Group booth Listen 2 Life at CQ Partners event The Hearing Group at CQ Reconnect

Practice: The Hearing Group
Location: West Orange, NJ
Number of locations: 1
Website: thehearinggroupusa.com

1How does it feel to celebrate 20 years of helping people hear better?
Dr. Robbi Hershon: It’s really exciting that we made it this far. You hear all the statistics of how many businesses close in the first five years and here we are 20 years later. It’s just crazy.

Dr. Debra Knapp: It’s very exciting to see where we’ve come. We always talk about the days where it was just the two of us in this tiny office, and to see how we’ve grown is pretty incredible.
2Tell us the story of how you decided to open a practice of your own!
Dr. Debra Knapp: Robbi (Dr. Robbi Hershon) and I worked together many years ago. She had left the hospital where we were worked and had stopped in one day to catch up. I was venting to her about the frustrations of working for somebody else. Jokingly, we had said we should start our own practice and later that night she gave me a call and she said, “Were you serious?” I said, “Well, were you serious?” After that, we agreed to try. A couple of days later, my family and I went over to Robbi’s house and decided to start this venture.

Dr. Robbi Hershon: We wrote up a business plan and interviewed a couple of companies that could help us on the business end. We then selected then CQ Partners to help us on our way.

Dr. Debra Knapp: It took a few months to open our doors because we did our business plan and we had a find an office, but we did not leave our other jobs. We started doing this by being in the office one day and the next we were hitting the ground and going to doctor’s offices.
3What are some of your proudest accomplishments as a practice?
Dr. Robbi Hershon: I’m proud of the growth that we’ve made personally and professionally. We’ve moved from a 450 square foot office to a 2,500 square foot office with front office staff, an office manager, and a hearing instrument specialist. Being able to sustain that is unbelievable.
4How do you ensure you maintain the same excellent quality of care year after year?
Dr. Debra Knapp: All of the meetings that we attend including Reconnect and different trainings help us to stay really consistent. We try to keep up on everything, send our staff to trainings, and work with CQ, especially during our weekly call.

Dr. Robbi Hershon: Debbie (Dr. Debra Knapp) and I sit down once a week, after our meetings with CQ and go over everything. We decide on resolutions to anything that can be resolved or come up with new ideas.
5What are some strategies you’ve implemented throughout the years that have led to your success?
Dr. Robbi Hershon: CQ’s All the Right Things has been helpful to us.

Dr. Debra Knapp: I agree, as well as block scheduling, companions, patient recall, and consistency with our marketing plan. That’s one thing that we’ve been doing from day one and that really helps.
6What is an example of an obstacle you’ve had to overcome in the past 20 years?
Dr. Robbi Hershon: An obstacle has certainly been the change in how hearing aids are paid for, like with managed care. We’ve had to learn to deal with that and educate people. Changes in marketing have also been a big obstacle. When we first started, direct mail would fill up your schedule for the week. Now, we have to adapt to different marketing strategies.
7How do you handle major industry changes like managed care and OTC?
Dr. Debra Knapp: We try to educate our patients so that they are aware of what these things mean. Some of them don’t realize and then find out when it’s too late, so we try to educate them so they can make the right choice.

Dr. Robbi Hershon: The Competitive Advantage plan CQ offers is also something we’ve utilized in our practice.
8How has CQ Partners contributed to your long-lasting success?
Dr. Debra Knapp: CQ Partners has contributed to our success by teaching us how to run a practice. We knew nothing about how to run a business in the beginning. We learned so much through CQ and having things like human resources available to us to help us. I would say CQ has helped us grow so it makes sense you’re not a buying group, you’re a growth partner.
9What is your biggest piece of advice for a practice looking to thrive long-term?
Dr. Robbi Hershon: Always be learning. What’s going on in your industry? What’s going on in your area? What’s going on with your patients? Listen to your patients, be consistent, and be able to change.