Tucked into the rolling hills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Uplands Village is a 600-acre retirement and assisted living community that is home to more than 300 residents who are supported by 169 service providers. It is a single, large campus with numerous office buildings and living areas throughout.
Although Uplands Village had an outstanding reputation for the care it delivered, an outdated phone system created a misconception among family members and anyone interacting, by phone, with Uplands Village. The biggest issue was that the phone system did not allow transfers. When someone called in, to the main line or any direct line, if they needed to speak to anyone else, they would be given a phone number and asked to call back instead of being transferred. Sometimes the person they wanted to speak with was just in the next office.
This was creating a perception that Uplands Village was comprised of many independent departments and that the residential care facilities were miles apart. According to Uplands Village COO and Director of IT, Herschel Murner, “Nobody knew how to get a hold of anybody else. While we were united physically, that was not the perception of those dealing with us on the phone.”
Another significant issue was difficulty with 24-hour communications, which was extremely important to Uplands Village. They needed an integrated system that allowed:
- All employees and residents to be reached conveniently day and night.
- Critical care employees to be reached instantly, whether at or away from their desks.
- Call traffic to be monitored in and out of the different campus locations.
- Knowledge of when a 911 call was placed, and by whom.
- Ease of expansion to accommodate planned growth.
Herschel had worked with Hiscall in a prior job, and knew they had a great reputation, plus significant experience with long-term residential care clients. Herschel commented, “I remembered that the team from Hiscall came up with a lot of great ideas that added value well beyond the technology they sold.”
Another reason Uplands Village decided to work with Hiscall was the experience Hiscall had in working with large customers who typically expected a very high level of service– one that was not always provided by smaller or less customer-focused companies.
After a thorough study of customer needs, Hiscall recommended Avaya IP Office Server Edition with gateways in each main campus building. When implemented, the solution involved a mix of IP desk, digital, and analog stations, based on user need and existing cabling infrastructure. To supplement the solution, many employees now use IP wireless handsets allowing mobility over the corporate WiFi network provided by Hiscall in many of the campus’ buildings.
Since 24/7/365 communications is another huge need, the Avaya solution included mobile twinning, which is the ability to use a mobile telephone as a ‘twin’ of an internal office extension. When a desk phone rings, so does the employee’s mobile phone. In addition to the business stations, Hiscall set up phone stations with a direct dial number into each room.
“Even though Hiscall offers extensive staff training, we really didn’t need much. The system was easy to learn. Our biggest challenge was unlearning the bad habits created by using the old system,” stated Herschel.
Uplands Village is very satisfied with the system and with Hiscall. “Our staff is delighted that they can find people now,” stated Herschel. “Actually, all they have to do is call the extension and the phone system finds them. This is especially useful with nurses, allowing them to be much more responsive in communicating with family members after hours.”
In addition to greatly improved employee satisfaction and staff efficiency, and a better reputation among family members and vendors, communication system complaints are down 90% and Uplands Village has estimated their annual cost saving to be around $12,000.