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BY NEED

RingCentral Supports Leading Real Estate Company’s Technology-Based Business Model

Summary
Needed a phone solution that would work easily on day one, scale easily later.
Cloud-based RingCentral enabled easy office expansion and frictionless growth.
Continuing to benefit from RingCentral’s ease of use and cost-effectiveness.
Company profile
Company profile:
Ranked in the top 1% of real estate companies in the nation, ERA Grizzard Real Estate is a full-service company handling residential sales, commercial sales, and property management in seven Central Florida cities.
Year founded:
1968
EMPLOYEES:
35 employees, 230 real estate agents
Headquarters:
Leesburg, FL
Website:

ERA Grizzard Real Estate exemplifies the technology focus of the ERA Real Estate franchise, the first in the nation to provide fax machines to brokers and owners. As technology has advanced since then (1971), ERA Grizzard has stayed at the leading edge with online options, such as 3D house models and virtual home tours that let people explore properties at their convenience.

“We get a lot of buyers from up north, and our technology gives them the opportunity to tour homes virtually so they can make more efficient use

of their time when they come down here,” explains Phillip Gagnon, COO, ERA Grizzard.

Technology and a commitment to customer service have earned ERA Grizzard a 98% customer satisfaction score, as rated by its customers in 2016, on the ERA Customer Satisfaction Survey Report. That year the company was also named the top ERA company in customer service, earning the 2016 Jim Jackson Memorial Award.

Looking for savings

Gagnon decided to replace the company’s previous phone system, a hosted on-site PBX, for a number of reasons. One was cost. Another was the fact that it was no longer suited to the way ERA Grizzard did business. “Between the leasing charges for the PBX, the T1 lines connecting our seven offices, and the physical phones on every desk, it was a very expensive system,” he says. “And most of the physical phones and landlines we were providing had become unnecessary as agents switched to using personal cell phones to always be accessible.”

Other issues with that system included frequent outages and unsatisfactory customer support. Gagnon replaced it with RingCentral

Office® across the organization because, as a cloud-based UCaaS solution, it delivered the cost savings he was looking for. “We estimate that we’ll be saving between $30,000 and $40,000 per year on phone costs by going with RingCentral,” he notes.

Another major advantage of going with RingCentral is that, with the RingCentral mobile application, it completely supports the way a leading real estate company does business. The RingCentral app brings the entire suite of office communications functionality to personal mobile phones, including the ability to make and receive calls using office phone numbers.

Property managers keep personal numbers private

As Gagnon noted, most real estate agents were already using their personal mobile phones before he brought in RingCentral. Typically, they did not mind giving out their personal phone numbers to the people they were working with. However, this was not true for another segment of the company’s workforce, the property managers.

“They work with both owners and tenants,” explains Gagnon. “They are usually comfortable giving their numbers to property owners but giving it to the tenants could mean middle-of-the-night calls at home, and they

didn’t want that.” Previously, when a call came in after hours, property managers received those voice messages in an email then had to drive to their office to return the call or mask their numbers if they returned the call from home.

“Having the RingCentral app lets property managers make and receive calls from the office phone on their mobile device,” Gagnon adds. “This allows a level of anonymity, but they now have even more accessibility.”

Improving experience for agents and managers

ERA Grizzard agents are independent contractors, and Gagnon is using RingCentral to offer them more support with the ultimate aim of boosting retention. “We’re setting up a call group that will give them a centralized number to call when their manager is unavailable and they have an urgent question or an issue with a deal,” he explains. “Their call will go to a team of people dispersed across our footprint who can help them resolve the situation.”

In addition to supporting agents, the call group should contribute to the company’s reputation for excellent customer service by enabling fast resolutions to problems that might otherwise hold up a deal.

RingCentral reports, graphical representations of ERA Grizzard's phone usage, are helping managers optimize office staffing. “We run RingCentral reports to see when calls are coming in, how many there are, how long they last, and so on,” Gagnon says. “We didn’t have this kind of reporting previously, and it’s very important to us for making sure we’re not missing any calls.”

Finally, Gagnon expects that RingCentral will be a better platform in terms of supporting the company’s growth. “We’re no longer limited by hardware. All we need is adequate bandwidth coming in and out of the offices,” he notes.

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