by Grant Smith
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 – The second quarter of 2020 will be remembered as one of the most extraordinary periods in the history of our nation and our industry. A period that has been defined not only by a global pandemic and its resulting economic recession, but by the social unrest that came in response to the opening of centuries old wounds – wounds that have yet to adequately heal in our country.
However, in the midst of these challenges, I have witnessed something inspiring – a grace and courage and positivity within our team here at AUDNET Hearing Group (AHG), and within the provider network that we serve that has both uplifted and motivated me.
At the onset of the global pandemic, our team focused on four priorities which continue to guide all our actions going forward. Keep our people safe. Contribute to the national effort to combat the virus. Maintain business continuity. Preserve the financial stability of our company – a foundation that has been in place since 1978.
Out of necessity, we, along with our provider partners, have adjusted virtually every aspect of our operations. We have adopted what I call “learning agility” – the ability and willingness to learn from experience and then apply that learning to perform successfully in new circumstances. From curb-side pick-up services to drive through windows, to Plexiglas dividers, to pre-visit screenings, to home deliveries, we are learning new ways to keep the “essential service” of hearing health care available to patients. Our team has become even more productive while working from home and away from each other. And, we have found unique ways to communicate with each other, our provider partners and with consumers while crafting new and different messages to deliver. We continue to showcase nationally the value of THAT kind of personal care that separates our entrepreneurial member practices from big-box and chain experiences. We have kept the independent-practice engine stoked and running.
As we and our members have fought through these challenging times, we have collectively demonstrated a level of resiliency, of “learning agility” that is now reminding corporate entities across the globe just how valuable and adept entrepreneurship really is. As corporate stores close and chains undergo furloughs, destiny has once again relied on the backbone of private practice owners to carry the load. And, nothing could make us more proud.
Yes, people are spending more time at home and using their homes differently – working, schooling and entertaining in ways never done before. Home improvement folks call this “cocooning”. Yet, because of the ways we and our members have adapted our service models and work products, even after an initial 60% decline in business in Q2, AHG is experiencing a level of business recovery that is outpacing the industry’s recovery as a whole, even as we continue to work from home. Although “stay-at-home” behaviors are encouraging more online transactions, the intimate value of an experienced, caring professional relationship has never been stronger. When conducted carefully and with safety in mind, these relationships remain in demand. And, we will continue to showcase them.
We’ll be reaching out to you soon to talk more about our technology, financing, marketing and leadership innovations that will help you stay ahead of any dark forces. Because together, we CAN do the extraordinary.
Grant Smith is COO of AUDNET Hearing Group