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Phone problems created a wrinkle in California Skin Institute’s operations, they smoothed it out with RingCentral


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Starting as a solo dermatologic surgery practice in 2007, California Skin Institute (CSI) grew in just a few years to become the largest private-practice dermatology group in the state—and one of the largest in the country.

As CSI expanded its operations to more than 40 locations across California, the organization’s staff grew to more than 500—including nearly 100 highly skilled medical and cosmetic providers specializing in a wide range of skin-related conditions.

This concentration of dermatologic expertise in a single private-practice medical group benefited CSI’s patients—giving them access to a team of dermatologists, oncologists, plastic surgeons, and other specialists working together toward the best patient outcomes.

But the organization’s rapid growth, based largely on mergers with leading dermatologic practices, also led to an operational challenge. The acquired practices’ phone systems were in most cases old, outdated, and incompatible with the others in the organization’s network.

Phone problems added a major wrinkle to their operations

“At a lot of the offices we acquired, the phone systems were so old and fragile that they’d just die on us,” recalls Elyse Watts CSI’s IT Project Manager. “In several cases, I had to place a rush order on a new phone solution after one died at one of our offices.”

And that wasn’t the only challenge facing CSI. As the organization was becoming the top practice of its kind in California, customer demand was obviously increasing. But while call volume was on the rise at many of CSI’s offices, the incompatibility of these systems made it difficult to redirect calls from an overwhelmed office to a quieter one.

Even worse, as Elyse explains, the organization had no way of monitoring phone traffic at all of its locations, to determine which ones needed help with phone support and which had the capacity to help them. “We had no insight into how to staff our phones.”

Cloud communications unites the entire organization

Then CSI rolled out RingCentral’s cloud communications solution, including real-time call monitoring and analysis through the Live Reports feature. Finally, the distributed and still-growing organization had a centralized phone solution that unified the entire team across all locations.

“Now, when call traffic gets high at one office, it’s easy to redirect calls to less-busy locations,” Elyse explains. She adds: “Our executive team was thrilled to have a real-time view into the inbound calls across all of our offices. With RingCentral’s Live Reports, they finally had the ability to monitor call volume, agent performance, and to make decisions about how to staff our call queues based on real data.”

Better prepared than they realized for COVID

CSI began implementing RingCentral across its dozens of California locations at the end of 2018. At the time, they had no idea how valuable they would find the solution just over a year later—when many of the company’s offices were locked down and employees had to work from home.

 “We trained our remote staff, like our billing team, how to use the RingCentral soft phone… logging into the desktop app on their computers and joining call queues at home. It was such a smooth transition to remote work, even as crazy and disruptive as that time was for us. And having RingCentral played a big role in that.”

Originally published May 20, 2021

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