ShapeUp Spreads Better Health to Millions with 8x8 Cloud Communications
ShapeUp began as the brainchild of two young medical students and has grown to become the leading provider of Social Wellness solutions for employers. When traditional phone technology couldn’t keep up with the company’s rapid expansion, management moved first the contact center and then the corporate phone system to 8x8’s cloudbased platform. Now ShapeUp can easily scale to match employers’ evolving needs and deliver innovative employee well-being solutions worldwide.
ShapeUp is the leading global provider of holistic and engaging employee well-being solutions. Founded in 2006 by two Brown University medical students, ShapeUp has pioneered a revolutionary approach called Social Wellness™ that uses the power of trusted social networks, behavior change science, and engaging technology to foster social connections that spread better health.
The company’s founders recognized that people who successfully changed their lifestyles and improved their health did so by leveraging the support and accountability of their friends, family, and colleagues, instead of doing it alone. With this revelation, they set out on a mission: make health interventions social to increase the likelihood that employees achieve their health goals.
“We turn wellness into a game where participants engage in friendly competition and even get rewards for the points they earn,” explains Jimmy Andrews, IT Administrator for ShapeUp. “Employees are motivated to get up from their desks and get healthier, and that makes employers and insurance companies happy too.”
Clinical research and published outcomes have shown that ShapeUp’s Social Wellness solution results in increased well-being for participants. For example:
- 63% feel more connected to their colleagues
- 73% report significant increases in overall physical activity
- 74% feel reduced stress and improved mental well-being
- 68% have more energy at work
ShapeUp’s platform is now available in 138 countries and is used by more than 600 employers worldwide.
8x8’s Scalability Stands Out in the Selection Process
As ShapeUp’s unique Social Wellness solution took off internationally, the company began attracting larger customers. It was no longer possible to service these businesses with a single phone line that rang through to the company’s one support employee.
For a while, ShapeUp outsourced support, but in 2012 the decision was made to bring it back in-house.
ShapeUp evaluated 8x8’s Virtual Contact Center as a replacement solution. The ability to scale up or down at a moment’s notice was a major factor in the selection process.
"ShapeUp couldn’t exist without cloud technologies. 8x8 works out of the box and makes our employees productive anywhere. With 8x8, we have flexibility to grow as a company, and to fulfill employers’ needs for innovative well-being solutions and participant support."
IT Administrator for ShapeUp
“We now have over 200 channels in active use and have to respond quickly when customers want to provision dedicated numbers or add new programs. The flexibility of 8x8 cloud communications makes it easy for us to accommodate that.”
Prioritizing Agents and Channels Increases Productivity
8x8 increases contact centre productivity by helping managers to prioritize our agents and assign them to specialty channels based on their level of experience and depth of knowledge. Managers can assign priorities to channels as well as skill set assignments for agents to customize the workflow on the fly. And robust reporting tools included with 8x8 service provide substantial amounts of data that the company uses to prepare customer reports quickly and efficiently.
ShapeUp Uses Monitoring and Recording for Coaching and QA
Within the 8x8 Virtual Contact Centre, supervisors monitor and record calls in order to perform routine quality assurance checks on new agents.
“The ability to ‘listen in’ either in real time or at a later time has been fantastic,” says Penny. “It lets us coach and train our employees while ensuring we provide top-quality service to our customers.”
Onboarding new agents is a much more streamlined process with 8x8 Virtual Contact Centre, too. Setting up a new account takes only a few minutes, and the agent can work virtually anywhere.
Rapid Growth Drives Need for New Phone System
In the years following the deployment of its 8x8 Virtual Contact Centre, ShapeUp grew very rapidly, with a 25% expansion in the first 10 months of 2015 alone. Adding and moving phones using the company’s traditional trunk network became a huge burden to IT Operations.
“There has been a lot of movement as we’ve expanded and opened new locations,” says Andrews. “Each time I had to install or move a phone, it involved a lengthy call to our service provider and then spending up to an hour physically connecting the device. When you multiply that out by the number of users we have, the administration time and cost were enormous.”
Maintaining the company’s trunk phone system took a lot of time as well. The voicemail server frequently had to be rebooted—a process that took Andrews up to two hours to complete, sometimes more—and the phone system itself had to be rebooted bi-monthly, a process that took additional time where the whole phone system would be unavailable for the entire company.
Migration to 8x8 Cuts Admin Time and Costs
While evaluating replacement phone systems, Andrews considered selecting one from a large telco. ShapeUp had several local and national providers submit proposals and met with several face to face. Then he realized that ShapeUp could get richer phone features for the same cost from 8x8. One of the largest considerations for this option was the lack of onsite infrastructure to manage using the 8x8 setup, whereas the other providers all required some form of onsite hardware.
“We already had a strong relationship with 8x8 because of our Virtual Contact Centre,” he says. “It made sense to move our phone system over to 8x8’s cloud platform as well.”
Deployment of ShapeUp’s 8x8 phone service began in February 2015 and was completed within 90 days. Although Andrews was not familiar with the 8x8 platform initially, he found the learning curve much easier than with the company’s previous phone system. And with 8x8 hosting all the hardware, admin time and costs plummeted dramatically.
“8x8 has been a godsend,” says Andrews. “I don’t have to spend time dealing with phone companies anymore. I don’t have to spend time installing devices anymore. All I have to do is let 8x8 work its magic.”
These days, ShapeUp employees can install or move their own phones just by plugging them in—with no help from the IT department at all. In addition, there are no hardware servers to maintain or reboot, which saves Andrews several hours a month.
“Thanks to 8x8, our admin costs are insignificant compared to what they were before,” he says. “We can make changes whenever we need to and there’s no more headache. 8x8 eliminated the headache!”
Easy 8x8 Provisioning Spurs Fast Growth
Unlike the company’s previous trunk system, 8x8 has no problem scaling to keep pace with ShapeUp’s rapid growth. Instead of a wired-for extension, every employee now has a unique direct inward dial (DID) number, which simplifies the process of adding new lines.
“With 8x8 it will much easier for us to grow,” says Andrews. “Before I had to deal with local telcos whenever we needed to reconfigure the phone system, and that process took weeks. Now all I have to do is log in to the 8x8 admin portal, make the change, and it’s done.”
8x8: a Comprehensive Collaboration Platform
ShapeUp has a uniquely creative company culture that includes a willingness to try anything. According to Andrews, that has led to ad hoc use of communication tools such as chat and Skype. In his view, a major benefit of 8x8 is that it provides a comprehensive collaboration platform, not just piecemeal tools.
“8x8 has become part of our everyday routine, which creates more interconnectedness across the company,” he says. “We can call each other by dialing an extension, use our mobile phones when we’re away from our desks, and set up conference calls with coworkers in other parts of the country. We don’t have to sit next to each other to feel like we’re sitting next to each other.”
User-Friendly Phone Features Empower Employees
8x8’s user-friendly interface lets ShapeUp employees take advantage of advanced phone features without IT intervention. For example, users can set up “find me, follow me” rules that forward calls to their cell phones, home phones, or any other number they designate.
“Our employees don’t need me to set up or change their rules—they can figure out what works best for them and modify the rules on the fly if they need to,” says Andrews. “It saves a lot of time and eliminates missed calls when people are away from their desks.”
Similarly, ShapeUp employees can set up conference calls themselves without putting in a request to IT.
“8x8 gives power and control back to the user,” says Andrews. “It makes everyone more efficient because they can immediately self-service instead of waiting for someone to do it for them.”
Customizable Prompts Help Define the Voice of ShapeUp
In keeping with ShapeUp’s game-loving culture, the company held a contest where employees competed to become the “voice of ShapeUp” by recording tongue-twisting prompts for the 8x8 auto attendant. The flexibility of 8x8’s platform makes it easy for Andrews to upload new prompts or change existing ones at any time.
“Everybody got a kick out of the contest, and I like that 8x8 lets us customize our auto attendant in a way that reflects who we are as a company,” says Andrews.
Cloud Communications Connect Employees Everywhere
Whether ShapeUp employees are office workers, remote users, or contact centre agents, Penny notes that they are now all seamlessly connected to 8x8’s cloud-based platform.
“ShapeUp couldn’t exist without cloud technologies,” he says. “8x8 works out of the box and makes our employees productive anywhere. Although the cost of the service is about the same as we paid before, we’re getting a lot more for our bucks! With 8x8, we have flexibility to grow as a company, and to fulfill employers’ needs for innovative well-being solutions and participant support.”