Chorus modernises its communications capabilities with 8x8

Established in 2017 through the merger of three organisations, Chorus delivers a portfolio of at home aged care, disability, and mental health services. The company has more than 1000 staff and volunteers who provide support to more than 10,000 customers across Western Australia.

The challenge: Replacing multiple communication systems

When the three companies that make up Chorus were first brought together, the move created some sizable technological challenges. Three different computing infrastructures had to be streamlined and standard processes and workflows put in place.

There were also challenges when it came to communications. Each of the companies had been using a different platform and all were out of date. According to Chorus Head of Customer Relations Jamin Hirte, the most modern system was three years out of warranty and the oldest was approaching a decade.

“We found that one of the platforms relied on a special type of hard disk that was increasingly difficult to source,” says Hirte. “We’d purchased the last three disks in Australia and, if they had failed, we would have had no backup.”

The telephone platforms were also not linked, making communication difficult. Staff could not route calls between different locations and staying in touch with field workers was an ongoing challenge.“It was clear that we needed to find a replacement unified communications system that could support our ongoing activity and growth,” he says. “Retaining what was already in place was never going to be a viable option.”

The solution: Unified, modern communications

In early 2019, the Chorus IT team began discussions with technology partner Scope Logic about the selection of a replacement telephony platform.

The company’s internal understanding of what was available in the telephony and unified communications space was relatively low. After discussions with Scope Logic and the evaluation of solution offerings from Telstra and Optus, a decision was taken to adopt the 8x8 platform.

“It had quickly become clear that 8x8 would be the best fit for our requirements. We could see that it could provide the level of functionality we needed and scale to match our ongoing growth in the future,” says Hirte.

Rollout began with an initial pilot project involving a group of 50 staff. Each was equipped with either a desk phone or a smart phone loaded with the 8x8 app. Initial feedback was very positive and staff found the technology reliable and intuitive to use.

The benefits: Balancing cost and customer experience

One of the most significant benefits offered by the new 8x8 platform became evident even before it had been rolled out company wide. During the pilot, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, which meant staff had to quickly move to working from home.

Rather than taking the planned phased approach to rollout, access to 8x8 was provided to all staff in just a week. “There is no way we could have achieved this in such a short period without the support of Scope Logic and the flexibility of the 8x8 platform,” says Hirte.

“Those staff who had been involved in the pilot were able to share their experience with their colleagues which helped to get everyone up and running as quickly as possible. The only feedback we received was that it was working well and everyone was very pleased.”

For field workers, making use of the 8x8 app also streamlines the way they interact with clients. Rather than needing to share their mobile numbers, all calls are routed via the 8x8 platform which provides a consistent experience for the client and call flexibility for the staff member.

“The fact that 8x8 is a cloud-based platform is an additional benefit for us, as well as being easy to scale, and we can have the

same platform for both our operational staff and our call centre staff. Hirte continues, “Call queues can be easily managed with burst capacity being made available when required.” Additionally, through the use of 8x8 Meetings, employees are now able to collaborate visually with each other, share content and provide face to face consultations with their clients. Hirte adds, “The ability to launch a meeting amongst staff or with customers instantly from the 8x8 app expands our collaborative capabilities.”

While the 8x8 deployment has reduced communication costs by at least 20%, Hirte says a much bigger return has come from the improved functioning of the company. “Our ability to adapt and control our own destiny has increased dramatically,” he says.

“From the customer perspective, they have noticed that we’ve become even more responsive to their needs.”

Looking to the future, Hirte says 8x8 will underpin a planned structural change in which staff will work in localised, autonomous teams that provide support to clients in specific geographic areas. This is something that would not have been possible without a flexible communications platform such as 8x8.

The organisation also plans to make use of 8x8’s comprehensive reporting and analytics functions and undertake an integration with Microsoft Teams to further enhance communications capabilities.

“With 8x8 now fully deployed, I am confident that we have a powerful and adaptable platform that will support our operations in the years ahead,” he says. “We consider 8x8 and Scope Logic valued and trusted business partners.”

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