American Homes 4 Rent (NYSE:AMH) specializes in acquiring, renovating, leasing and operating residential homes. The company offers a diversified portfolio of quality properties in multiple target markets across the U.S.
After opening its doors with just 15 employees, American Homes 4 Rent now has a staff of over 600 spread across its corporate headquarters in Agoura Hills, Calif., 26 leasing locations, and three call centers in just two years. In July 2013, the company launched its IPO after building a diverse portfolio of nearly 18,000 properties, making it the second largest player in the U.S. homes-for-rent market. As demand in the U.S. home rental markets escalates, American Homes 4 Rent continues to expand into new markets at a rapid rate.
“Masergy is both a trusted business partner who provides a holistic approach to cloud communication services and an engineering partner who helps us develop robust solutions based on what’s best for us.”
Just six months after American Homes 4 Rent was launched it grew from a 15-person company to 40 employees – and continue to grow quickly in response to demand in the dynamic rental marketplace. Opportunities were creating such urgency that leasing agents had to set up shop within a matter of days and work from rented executive suites until the company could move into permanent facilities. In the meantime, American Homes 4 Rent was challenged to provide these agents with active phone numbers and a fully functional phone system. In addition, the company’s marketing department needed working phone numbers to publish in promotional brochures and on websites.
David Froemke, IT Consultant for American Homes 4 Rent, was tasked with finding an appropriate phone system with the latest technology and features, high voice quality and call center functionality and flexible implementation so leasing agents could hit the ground running in each new target market. American Homes 4 Rent had a distributed call network and needed local numbers in each market that could be brought back to a central location for call routing. In the beginning, the company was staging 3 to 5-person call centers from rented executive suites in 5 U.S. markets, but that number quickly jumped to 15 markets – and counting. Froemke explored various premise-based systems from telecom providers, but none of them could meet American Homes 4 Rent’s unique needs.
Meanwhile, American Homes also acquired another company and needed to have brand new voice systems set up and running in less than a week. With this kind of dynamic growth, Froemke determined that American Homes 4 Rent needed a fully-scalable hosted voice solution that could fulfill their needs and quickly support additional permanent call centers as the company transitioned into permanent leasing offices.
After a thorough evaluation of various hosted UC vendors, Froemke approached Masergy to provide a proof of concept of their Cloud Communications service and engaged Masergy for a trial period.
“When we approached Masergy for the proof of concept, they came back and laid out a clear strategic plan with engineering designs, configuration set ups, equipment plans and automated disaster recovery options. Most importantly, they made a commitment to do whatever it takes to meet our needs.”
Masergy’s engineers worked with American Homes 4 Rent to design a customized cloud communications solution to meet all the requirements of the company’s mobile workforce and dynamic expansion into new rental markets. Eventually, American Homes 4 Rent transitioned from the trial period to a monthly billable model with Masergy. Masergy’s flexible Hosted UC solution gives leasing agents anywhere, anytime connectivity- whether they are working in a rented suite, from home, or from a permanent office.
“Now we know that we can enter a new market quickly and that Masergy will secure a host of numbers for us before we even have phones or a physical location,” Froemke says. “Plus, they handle all the internal switching and hardware installation, so we don’t have to. This kind of flexibility and implementation expertise truly sets Masergy apart.”
The Hosted UC solution implemented includes:
Masergy’s highly scalable communications platform will enable American Homes 4 Rent to easily integrate their Customer Relation Management (CRM) applications and other custom business processes with their existing communications solution. All of these features combined make Masergy Cloud Communications a powerful UC system for American Homes 4 Rent.
American Homes 4 Rent has gained considerable operational benefits since moving to Masergy, including:
American Homes 4 Rent’s over 600 agents and call center personnel work in multiple distributed markets, and the company is always ready to deploy additional resources to both existing and new markets thanks to Masergy’s Cloud Communications solution. Whether they are working at home or at an executive suite or an office, agents have the ability to work anywhere and anytime.
“Having a cloud-based communications model is a huge advantage,” says Steve Pomush, director of information technology at American Homes 4 Rent. “We don’t have to put an entire infrastructure and support staff in place if we need to set up in a market in a day or two. The nice part about working with Masergy is that we’re not missing out on any features and functionality. We get them all without the headache of having to put in all of the hardware.”
Masergy is able to provide the enterprise with all of the communications services of a big IT organization with a lean, more cost-effective IT staff.
“Masergy’s flexible solutions enable us to provide full-featured cloud UC services to our rapidly growing user base,” Steve Pomush says. “The company gives us the capabilities to provide everything that a large IT staff can do without the need to hire extra people.”
American Homes 4 Rent has grown rapidly and successfully because it is agile enough to pounce on new and emerging rental market opportunities. The company’s approach of rapidly entering a market gives it a competitive advantage and a strong foothold until agents can build out the business. Masergy supports their efforts by immediately providing an all-inclusive business communications model services that help American Homes 4 Rent establish a strong presence and show their commitment to the market even when housed in temporary facilities.
American Homes 4 Rent is a dynamic organization and priorities change on an hourly basis. There is a need for instant, constant feedback from leasing agents and other staff as they work to carve out a permanent location in quickly entered markets. Masergy Cloud Communications allows American Homes 4 Rent to get phone numbers in new markets in just a couple of hours so that agents can stay mobile, but always connected to the enterprise.
“Masergy has become a trusted business partner for American Homes 4 Rent—and that’s a term I don’t use loosely.” Steve Pomush says. “They look out for our best interest and do everything to guarantee our desired outcome.”