SAN JOSE, Calif. – April 30, 2013 -- Thrive Senior Living, operator of a growing network of senior-living communities in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas, differentiates itself by emphasizing innovation to improve the lives of residents. To help make this happen, it relies on strong relationships with technology partners Tazergy, Inc., a consulting firm, and 8x8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT), whose hosted VoIP and Unified Communications (UC) services provide the organization with customizable, feature-rich communications within its 11 senior living communities.
Unlike many senior housing communities that are behind the technological curve, Thrive has built an IT infrastructure designed to support current operational requirements as well as those emerging from an increasingly social, tech-savvy generation. A key component of this infrastructure is the 8x8 hosted PBX communications network it has deployed across its entire organization, enabling it to dramatically improve the quality, breadth and reliability of its internal communications while significantly reducing the cost.
“8x8 is a great example of leading-edge business VoIP technology,” says Thrive President Tod Petty. “With 8x8’s services, staff at corporate headquarters, building sites and community offices can benefit from state of the art communications technologies using both wired and mobile devices. And, because the services are cloud-based rather than premises-based, users can access the full array of capabilities wherever they have an Internet connection.”
Although Thrive had already been using VoIP phone service from another provider, an analysis of that system’s capabilities revealed it lacked the functionality needed to connect the company’s multi-state offices and was, at the same time, costly to deploy and maintain. At Tazergy’s recommendation, Thrive installed 8x8 Virtual Office Pro at its corporate headquarters in Atlanta, and 8x8 Virtual Office at its community offices. Right away, Petty and his team noticed improved functionality.
“Thrive came to realize, as many companies do, that all VoIP services are not alike,” said Tazergy President and CEO Matt Haywood. “When making the transition to VoIP, it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment of your business needs along with a careful review of the providers you are considering before making a decision. Even though Thrive still had a one-year contract in place with its previous provider, it was our recommendation that they implement the 8x8 service immediately to secure the features and functionality they needed now.”
Hosted PBX and UC unite multi-state offices, even construction trailers
Easy extension dialing and corporate directories for each community are more than just a convenience for Thrive employees. Petty says they have also helped with team building throughout the company.
“Our users don’t have to dial 8 or 9 to place an outside call; they can just dial a 4-digit extension. The system displays all incoming calls, so there’s never a missed call, and it’s easy to call the person back without having to look up their number. Email notification of voicemail messages means that users never miss a message either.”
8x8 Virtual Meeting web conferencing is another popular feature at Thrive. Employees at Thrive’s Atlanta headquarters can schedule web meetings from their browser or directly from Outlook using 8x8’s free downloadable plugin.
Value of virtual numbers
In addition to providing advanced VoIP features, 8x8 has significantly reduced Thrive’s telephony costs and streamlined the sales cycle for its communities. Whenever Thrive begins a new development, the company opens a temporary sales office inside a trailer, and starts the pre-sales process by distributing fliers and displaying billboards with a unique telephone number dedicated to those leads.
In the past, the company had to purchase and install expensive premises-based phone systems to hook up actual analog lines for its temporary offices. Then Thrive had to wait for a phone company to assign new phone numbers.
With 8x8, the wait — and expense — are over. Now, when Thrive opens a new temporary sales office, 8x8 can immediately assign a new virtual number for sales leads. Other than an Internet connection, no other equipment needs to be installed. The virtual number appears on the company’s pre-sales literature and billboards.
Initially, calls go to a dedicated voicemail box, where leads are captured for later follow up. When the active sales cycle kicks off, the number is reassigned to a ring group for live answering by a Thrive representative.
Substantial cost savings
Haywood estimates that 8x8 phone services save Thrive $10,000 to $15,000 per community in reduced telephony expenses.
“We used to spend about $5-7K just for the phone system for each temporary sales trailer, and then much more to get the community’s phone system up and running,” Haywood says. “With 8x8 hosted VoIP, there is no complex on-site PBX equipment, or the extensive labor, installation and ongoing support fees that comes with it. We can even move the phones from the temporary trailer to the new community once it’s ready. It’s been a huge savings.”
Petty and Haywood say they’re both fans of 8x8’s simplified approach to system changes, which Tazergy manages as part of its IT consulting services.
“In the past it was difficult to make changes to the phone system,” recalls Petty. “I’d have to call my IT consultant, and sometimes that call would take a couple of hours. With 8x8, all I have to do is send Matt one email, and the change is done that day.”
8x8 CEO Bryan Martin said: “Thrive Senior Living is a perfect example of the value customers can derive from doing business with us. It’s a multi-location business with facilities in four states and people using a range of wired and mobile devices on a single communications network. The management and staff at Thrive found that our hosted Virtual Office solutions deliver greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness versus competing offers.”
About 8x8, Inc.
8x8, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT) empowers business conversations for more than 30,000 small and medium-sized businesses with cloud communications services that include hosted PBX telephony, unified communications, call center software and video conferencing solutions. The company has been delivering business communications services since 2004 and has garnered a reputation for technical excellence and outstanding reliability. In 2012, 8x8 was named a market “leader” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in North America and was recognized as the No. 1 Provider of Hosted IP Telephony by Frost & Sullivan. For additional information, visit www.8x8.com, or connect with 8x8 on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
# # #