Age Scotland Charity helps nation respond to COVID-19 emergency as incoming calls soar by 500% with 8x8

Age Scotland is the national charity for older people. It promotes the rights and interests of everyone over 50, while helping them to love later life. The charity operates a national helpline for older people, their families and carers, supports and enables more than 700 older people’s community groups across Scotland, provides a wide range of free information and advice guides on issues such as benefits, social care, housing, energy, Power of Attorney, dementia, veterans rights, and runs campaigns to improve the lives of older people.

The challenge: Vital services take a front-line role

Age Scotland needed a solution that could deliver on its goals. The charity wanted a mobilised workforce, calls and queues in one place, a single set of reporting and the ability to access call records remotely.

The IT team wanted to spend less time fixing tech issues with its existing platform. They understood the advantages of switching to the cloud and having a complete refresh.

Age Scotland suddenly found itself on the front-line — needing to provide vital services to protect age groups most at risk from Coronavirus.

Massive rise in requests for help

The charity was hit by a huge surge in demand for help. Incoming calls soared by 500% to over 5,500 a month and the charity needed to more than double its contact centre team to 45.

“Members of the public wanted guidance about shopping, prescriptions, doctor visits and shielding. Next came waves of questions about hospital discharges, care homes and how to cope with isolation, as well as all the normal issues,” recalls Laura Stenhouse, Telephony Manager.

The solution: Rising to the challenge

Age Scotland had been working with IT partner Frontier to find the best system for its needs.

“The general consensus was that 8x8 was the market leader and had great products,” says Stenhouse. “The solution was agile and flexible — and stood out against competitors.”

Age Scotland selected the 8x8 X Series platform, combining cloud PBX, video conferencing and contact centre capabilities. The organisation was happy with its choice, then COVID-19 struck and deployment became urgent. In fact, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, stepped in with immediate funding.

Five days later, the system was live. “We closed on Friday, spent the weekend doing online learning and launched on the following Monday — and it worked as expected,” stated Stenhouse

Moving services online has been huge. We’ve downsized on-premises equipment, reduced costs and strengthened business continuity.
John DouglasIT Officer, Age Scotland

The results: Extra functionality takes service to a new level

The 8x8 X series met and exceeded expectations. It was easy to use and employees could access the communication platforms they needed from home.

“8x8 provided the qualitative data we needed as a charity for audits and compliance with 18 different laws,” recalls Stenhouse. “We could also add a donation line to service our fundraising campaign.

“The cloud tech really works for us,” says John Douglas, IT Officer. “Moving services online has been huge. We’ve downsized on-premise equipment, reduced costs and strengthened business continuity. With 8x8, we’ve got extra flexibility in resource provision and could flex up a huge number of licenses easily.”

Considering the cloud communications platform wasn’t a project the charity scoped out with the pandemic in mind, the value has gone beyond the technology.

“8x8 surprised us with extra functionality that we now realise we need!” Stenhouse adds, “8x8 Meet has added a whole new dimension to our teams, community groups and veterans’ projects. We can host friendship circles online and enable people to dial in.”

“The system is so intuitive. We’re able to manage queues perfectly and overflow to different teams. The 8x8 solution has been so flexible and such a good investment.”

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