Chris: Welcome, Jami!
Jami: Thank you! I'm thrilled to be here and share more about my experiences and the Messaging Assistant.
Chris: Tell us a bit about yourself and your path in senior living.
Jami: Of course! Well, for starters, I live in South Carolina with my husband and our 2.5-year-old daughter. Growing up I was an only child and youngest grandchild, so I’ve always felt comfortable around adults, especially seniors, and that's what drew me to the senior living industry. However, my journey into this field was accidental, really.
I previously worked for a local newspaper, and one day, a local senior living community placed an ad with the paper. I met with the Executive Director to discuss their ad, and from that conversation, a new opportunity emerged. I started as the Director of Sales in a CCRC in South Carolina in 2006. Over the next eight years, I served six years as the Director of Sales and two years as the Executive Director. From there I went on to work as a Regional sales leader, a VP of Sales and Marketing, and finally as a Chief Sales Officer before moving to the vendor side and joining FURTHER.
Thinking back on it now, those first 8 years, I have to say, were some of the most rewarding yet challenging times of my career. Managing the day-to-day life of a community while prioritizing the care of the resident is incredibly difficult. People underestimate the pressure that these roles entail, because most are measured on the business side (the leads, tours, and move-ins)... but what really counts is the care of the residents. Everyday is a whirlwind - there are so many moving parts - every situation is unique. You could be laughing one minute with a resident, then the next minute there’s a deeply emotional moment with a family. With so much of yourself engulfed in this, it makes the business aspect that much more difficult to prioritize. There’s so much of a human component to our business - at the end of the day it’s about taking care of the loved ones in your care.
Chris: Wow, that’s such a good and important point. How did you manage during that time to find the balance between the needs of the residents and the needs of the business?
Jami: Well, back in the day, everything was manual, from tracking leads to calculating conversion rates on paper. However, technology has revolutionized senior living since then. Because of these advancements, we are now able to focus more on the human aspects of our roles. Thanks to the introduction of CRM systems and other digital tools, salespeople can prioritize the person in front of them, ensuring more meaningful interactions without being tied down by administrative tasks.
Chris: Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was benefits like these that led you to FURTHER right?
Jami: It absolutely was. I remembered how new solutions helped give me back some of my day and I wanted to be a part of helping to do that for more and more of our sales people.
Chris: One of those solutions is our Messaging Assistant. For those who aren’t aware, can you describe what the Messaging Assistant is and how it benefits sales teams?
Jami: Sure! The Messaging Assistant is like having a personal assistant for your digital leads. It ensures no lead goes without attention, providing consistent and fast support. This takes place over SMS messages or by email, helping a sales person engage, qualify and convert leads that came in from your community webpage or an aggregator. With the Messaging Assistant, our goal is to strike the right balance between automation and live support. Our Ai-powered technology handles much of the work, but we have a human safeguard (in the form of a team of senior living industry veterans) in place to ensure that conversations are conducted using the right language and best practices, leading to meaningful interactions with potential residents. Learn more about our FURTHER’s solutions, including the Messaging Assistant here.
Jami: When I joined the team, the Messaging Assistant was already in development. As someone who grew up in the days of the old-school approach, I wasn't initially sure about driving meaningful value over text/email. However, the team took its time to consider the needs the product would address. I wanted it to truly benefit users without intruding on their processes. Seeing the Messaging Assistant in action has changed my perspective entirely. It has proven itself to be a valuable tool that supports sales teams effectively, helping them hit their goals. .
Chris: That sounds incredible. How has the market received the MA and how has it made an impact for the senior living providers we work with?
Jami: We have received glowing feedback from users, including numerous perfect 10/10 scores on NPS. Sales representatives love the app for making them more efficient. Communities have also expressed their satisfaction, noting how the Messaging Assistant helped them stand out and differentiate from their competitors.
I think the feedback that means the most is when I talk with salespeople who can now enjoy their personal lives without worrying about leads, as the Messaging Assistant has become their reliable “backup team” for digital leads.I remember how I felt like I couldn’t leave the community until I followed up with all my leads. I spent so many nights away from home. I absolutely love that this tool is letting sales leaders rest assured that we’ve got them covered.
Chris: Wow, that’s so impactful. I know we’re biased, but it seems clear that the Messaging Assistant is a game-changer in the senior living industry. What kind of results have you seen since we launched the MA?
(MA team members Rebekah McCarron and Jodi Firestone pictured with Jami Sexton)
Jami: The first community went live with the Messaging Assistant in December 2022. Since then, we've seen remarkable growth, with over 1800 communities benefiting from this innovative tool. The impact has been profound, with a significant increase in the number of tours resulting in additional move-ins. It's a mind-shift for the industry, showing that the discovery process doesn't always require long phone calls before a visit. The Messaging Assistant streamlines the process and adapts to individual preferences. Here’s a few stats I pulled that I thought would be interesting.
Chris: That's truly impressive! Thank you, Jami, for sharing your insights and experiences with the Messaging Assistant. It's evident that this product is revolutionizing the way senior living communities engage with their potential residents.
Jami: Thank you for having me! I'm thrilled to see how the Messaging Assistant continues to make a positive impact in the industry, supporting communities and enhancing the lives of residents and their families.