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Home Inspector Pro Tracks Calls with RingCentral API + Google Sheets

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:
Home Inspector Pro provides a complete software solution for commercial and home inspectors.
Year founded:
8 employees
Los Angeles, CA

Home Inspector Pro is a small software company with an international customer base. When customers call for support, those calls come into a RingCentral Office® account with eight direct lines, configured to ring the line of the first available employee. To provide better service, Home Inspector Pro also tracks the length of calls, whether customers had to wait on hold, and for how long. The statistics are updated in near real time, allowing employees to jump on a call when they see that someone has waited on hold too long or hung up without talking with anyone (in which case they get an immediate call back).

That is where the RingCentral platform came into the picture. Adding automated tracking, rather than relying on employees to manually log calls, allowed Home Inspector Pro to improve its response time by about 15 minutes per call, according to Ethan Mahintorabi, a web developer for the firm who created the custom solution. Calls were also logged much more consistently once manual data entry was reduced to adding a few relevant notes about each call.

Getting creative

When both residential and commercial building inspectors use Home Inspector Pro software to compile and organize their reports, which can include multiple photos and a structured breakdown of everything that needs to be corrected for a given property, the software tracks contracts and other industry-specific data. In addition, the company provides marketing websites for inspectors and a cloud service that allows them to upload and share their reports with real estate agents and other clients. Android™, iPhone®, iPad®, and Chromebook™ apps assist with capturing notes on site. Customer support to help inspectors understand how to use the software effectively is an all-hands activity.

Home Inspector Pro’s homegrown call-tracking system is based on Google Sheets™, the spreadsheet tool included with Google Apps™. 

“Perhaps it’s not as fancy as a CRM system,” Mahintorabi says, “but it lets us do what we need to do extremely efficiently, and it’s free.” The API integration with RingCentral continually pulls in fresh data from RingCentral, allowing the spreadsheet to not only record call history but to show current information about new calls coming in. Interestingly enough, the first version of the integration was created before there even was an official API. Mahintorabi started by studying how RingCentral’s web-based administrative user interface was structured, including the JavaScript-powered transactions used to update call logs and other reports. He then created an application that would log in using his credentials and simulate a user’s browser-based interactions to fetch data and feed it into Google Sheets.

Getting serious

Mahintorabi knew the downside of his improvised system was that it would eventually break. Because he was tapping into a sort of accidental API, based on an interface designed for humans rather than machines, any change to RingCentral’s web user interface would cause his script to fail. Fortunately, by the time that day came, he was ready. In the meantime, he had learned about the RingCentral platform APIs and prototyped a new version of his application.

The transition wasn’t perfect. At first, he wasn’t getting the near real-time data he was looking for using the “call log” API. With some help from RingCentral, he figured out that a related “recent calls” API was a better match for his purposes. Ultimately, he was impressed.

“It’s probably one of the best documented APIs I have seen,” Mahintorabi says. Once he understood the authentication mechanism, creating a first

application was quite straight- forward, he says. By transitioning to an official and documented API, he now has an application he can trust, rather than a temporary hack. In the three days it took to transition from one version of the app to the next, coworkers were clamoring for its return. “In the end, it was a positive experience. Everyone really likes the system,” he says.

As for the overall impact of the RingCentral Connect Platform™, Dominic Maricic, President of the firm, clearly sees the value of the platform. “Our customers are home inspectors using our software in the field, on the job, day after day. Being responsive to them and solving their issues on the spot is our best sales tool. With the RingCentral Connect Platform, we are able to deliver an excellent user experience to our reps and make them as productive as they can be. Even better, we do this while keeping our technology costs low. Everyone wins, starting with the customer.”

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