How One of the Country’s Largest Insurance Brokers Is Cutting its Telecom Costs in Half with RingCentral
Compared to all the other cloud communications solutions I reviewed—and I reviewed a lot of them—RingCentral is still the one to beat.
A trusted partner for insurance and financial services
Thousands of organizations and individuals across the United States trust Higginbotham Insurance to safeguard what’s most important to them—including their business and personal assets, their employees’ benefits, and their financial futures.
A highly regarded agency operating for more than 70 years, Higginbotham has grown to become one of the country’s most successful insurance brokerage firms—and the largest in the company’s home state of Texas.
Reviewing Higginbotham’s history, two clear reasons emerge to explain the company’s success. The first is simply that Higginbotham has built an outstanding business—both for its clients and employees. The company has been named “Commercial Agency of the Year” by National Underwriter magazine, and a “Best Agency to Work for” by Insurance Journal.
A second reason for Higginbotham’s tremendous success has been a steady pace of strategic business acquisitions around the country. But while those acquisitions have contributed to Higginbotham’s national leadership position—in 2020, Business Insurance ranked the company the 21st largest insurance broker in the US—they also led to a series of IT inefficiencies.
Acquiring disparate phone systems undermined operations
Arthur Eastes, Higginbotham’s Director of IT, explains that for its first several acquisitions, Higginbotham allowed the newly acquired businesses to stay with their existing phone systems.
But, he says, that led to challenges—including trying to support telephony solutions Arthur’s team hadn’t encountered before, lack of a standard communication experience across the company, and rising telephony costs.
“When my team would go in and review an acquired company’s telecommunications environment, one common scenario we’d encounter was that the business had gotten itself into a bad arrangement with a local carrier,” says Arthur. “In some cases, they were paying for services they didn’t use; other times they were getting double-billed for the same service.”
RingCentral unites the company, empowers employees, and cuts costs
When Arthur’s team rolled out RingCentral’s unified cloud solution for phone, SMS, chat, and digital fax, they accomplished several major operational goals at once.
First, and most urgently, the company could now quickly and easily bring an acquired business into a centralized Higginbotham communications environment. “We’d bring their phone numbers into our RingCentral account, set their employees up with the desktop and mobile apps, and that was it—that new team would immediately have all the communication tools they’d need to be productive.”
Second, Arthur explains, RingCentral gave Higginbotham employees more mobility, flexibility, and telecommunications capabilities than they ever had. “Before RingCentral, an employee who was away from the office and needed calls forwarded would have to call a coworker and ask them to set the routing on their desk phone. Now they can go into the RingCentral portal from anywhere and easily set their own forwarding rules.”
Higginbotham’s employees—particularly account managers and customer support reps, who deal regularly with clients—are also improving their workflows with RingCentral’s SMS texting capability. “A lot of our clients contact us for information, like their policy number, but want it texted to them. With RingCentral’s apps, our employees can do that now without having to give out their personal cell numbers.”
Now that I can end our acquired businesses’ telecom bills and place them on our RingCentral account, in many cases I’m essentially cutting those locations’ phone bills by 50%—which also makes it easier for them to show a profit.
The most flexible communications platform the company has ever had
As Arthur points out, RingCentral is also helping Higginbotham quickly create mission-specific telephony solutions that the company never could before.
“Because of COVID, our school-district client needed to run their employee benefits renewal by phone,” Arthur says. “With RingCentral, we were able to quickly set up the call queues, make sure the menus were directing people to the right specialists, and get it up and running in a hurry. It was a highly successful project—one our client was extremely grateful for—and a lot of the credit goes to the flexibility of RingCentral.”
When we went into full expansion mode and started acquiring businesses at a much faster pace, we knew it was time to find a more unified communications solution that we could easily deploy anywhere to bring a new business into the company fold.