This article is sponsored by Aline. In this Voices Interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Aline’s president Erin Hayes to talk about the organization’s formation late last year when Enquire, Glennis and Sherpa merged into one company under one new brand. She explains how the merger brought two leading senior living CRM solutions under one roof, along with a complete senior living platform, and she also discusses how Aline is working toward a unified CRM post-merger, and what is on the company’s product roadmap.
Senior Housing News: What experiences do you draw from most in your role today?
Erin Hayes: We bootstrapped Enquire from the ground up, starting with just an idea and transforming it into a significant player in the industry. Throughout the journey, I have personally worked in every position, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the business. Our initial focus was on establishing a contact center, inspired by a model used for universities and admissions. To kickstart our operations, I even studied a book called “Call Centers for Dummies” and took on the role of a call center agent alongside my husband and co-founder Lucas. I have been involved in various aspects, including installing phone systems in communities, handling accounting and financial responsibilities as the CFO, and participating in sales, marketing and product development.
In my current role, I have the privilege of overseeing all customer-facing aspects of our business, which is both fulfilling and enjoyable for me. Having experienced each area within the company, I recognize the importance of collaboration between departments and the need to work cross-functionally to deliver the best customer experience to our existing and potential customers.
Taking calls for senior living communities gave me invaluable insights into the experiences and processes involved at every level of the community. At the same time, all the experience I gained over the past 12 years of building Enquire has proven to be incredibly helpful in helping lead the merger of the three legacy companies.
We’re coming up on a year since the merger. What has the experience of unifying three companies been like?
Unifying three companies that each hold their own leadership positions has been an amazing experience. Rather than a major takeover, the process has integrated different perspectives and created a leadership team that reflects the strengths and dynamics of all three companies. This collaborative effort extends to our functional teams as well. I truly wish that everyone could have the opportunity to experience the synergy that has been generated.
The integration has provided a valuable perspective, especially as we transitioned from being friendly competitors to understanding the unique value propositions of each company and how they can effectively complement one another. The blend of various aspects has been rewarding for me. I have developed strong relationships with my colleagues, and in recent meetings, someone even made the remark that it seems like we have been working together for years because of the seamless collaboration. Overall, it has been an incredibly positive and enriching experience.
Aline has two leading CRM solutions now, what are your plans for those solutions going forward?
We are lucky to have two purpose-built CRMs that are leaders in their respective fields. Each CRM brings valuable strengths and capabilities to the table, and our advantage is that they are advanced solutions specifically designed for the senior living industry. These solutions have been shaped over time through extensive customer partnerships, incorporating feedback from diverse perspectives.
This collective knowledge allows us to identify areas where we can drive even greater value and seamlessly integrate both solutions. Whether it’s enhancing features, improving functionality, or refining the user experience and user interface, we are actively working towards bringing the best of both worlds together.
We have already begun the process of merging the strengths of our CRMs, which has involved working closely with our clients, gaining valuable insights, and expanding our perspectives. As a result, we now have a broader range of solutions to offer. For instance, we have a contact center solution that we can provide, along with sales training options that were not previously available. This allows us to bring added value to customers who may not have had the opportunity to utilize these solutions in the past.
Overall, we are excited about the possibilities that will come from combining the strengths of our purpose-built CRMs. It not only provides us with a deeper understanding and perspective but also opens up new opportunities to offer comprehensive solutions to our clients.
How does the merger affect customers currently on one CRM or the other?
One of the great advantages of our CRM merger is that there is no need for data migration. We have successfully merged the solutions onto a single data platform. This unified data platform allows us to provide seamless service without leaving any solution behind. It is fully integrated with the other solutions we offer at Aline, ensuring a cohesive experience for our customers.
What’s exciting is that we can make gradual upgrades to the user interface (UI) and features without causing any disruptions to our customers. They will simply benefit from the combined knowledge and improvements. I specifically recall the impressive roadmap presented by our CTO, Ali Sareea, and the engineering team, outlining how we would consolidate the solutions and operate on one data model. It was a brilliant strategy that I wish I had thought of myself. The team executed it flawlessly, and I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made. With no migration required, having a single data platform simplifies our operations, and I’m excited to see how we can accomplish even more in a shorter timeframe.
Share some of the things on Aline’s product roadmap for the near future.
We have several exciting developments in the pipeline, and while I don’t want to reveal everything just yet, I can assure you that there will be some pleasant surprises. One particular aspect we’re thrilled about is the release of our payments module. Traditionally, operators had to rely on third-party solutions, which introduced fragmentation and additional costs to their systems. With our module, we offer electronic resident statement delivery, real-time integration with our revenue module, ACH payment processing for both one-time and recurring payments, refunds, and comprehensive reporting capabilities. This will significantly improve efficiency and cost savings, reducing the reconciliation process from hours to just minutes and introducing mobile deposit functionality.
Improving efficiency and streamlining the user experience is a key focus for us. We are introducing a customer self-pay portal that enables seamless collection, reconciliation, and an enhanced user experience. While some of these features have already been rolled out to customers, we are continuously working to refine and enhance them.
In terms of differentiation, Aline takes pride in being purpose-built for the industry, rather than attempting to adapt software from other sectors like multi-family or skilled nursing. Our focus is on meeting the specific needs of operators, with purpose-built solutions for clinical and care, billing and accounting, as well as sales and marketing. This approach allows us to be nimble, and innovative, and cater to the requirements of our operators without unnecessary complexities. Our goal is to simplify day-to-day operations for managing communities, getting employees up and running quickly, and reducing costs associated with staffing and turnover.
We are committed to providing a streamlined solution that eliminates compromises. Our integrated system, built on a single data model, delivers data-driven insights that drive performance. This purpose-built approach is what the industry needs, and we are incredibly excited to offer a fully integrated system that delivers simplicity, choice and value all in one place.
In a couple of words, finish this sentence: “In 2023, the senior living industry is being defined by…”
…consolidation and change.
Aline improves, automates, and digitizes operational workflows across the resident lifecycle so senior living organizations can improve efficiency, productivity, and margins all while delivering exceptional resident experiences at scale. Learn more at AlineOps.com.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].