Steve Rice & Associates

Steve Rice & Associates Switched to RingCentral—and Lowered Their Telecom Costs Nearly 60%
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RingCentral has taken our business 10 years into the future.

Xander Rice

Partner and Financial Services Representative, Steve Rice & Associates

The true measure of a financial firm’s service isn’t how responsive they are to clients when times are normal. It’s how responsive they are when the world seems chaotic — because that’s when their clients need them most.

Although the firm officially received “Essential Business” status when COVID-19 led to the lockdowns, the financial services representatives of Steve Rice & Associates had already been playing an essential role in the lives of individuals, families, and businesses for decades.
Since its founding, the Kentucky-based firm has been guided by a single mission: To help clients in every aspect of their financial lives. To successfully carry out this mission, the dedicated team at Steve Rice & Associates has always provided highly personal, hands-on service to every client.
But one area of the firm’s operations that became more troublesome as its staff, client list, and reputation grew was its communications infrastructure. Fortunately, migrating to a modern, cloud communications system not only improved Steve Rice & Associates’ day-to-day operations—it also helped the firm serve clients at a time when they needed financial guidance more than ever.

Not the most efficient way to communicate

Before switching to RingCentral, Steve Rice & Associates used an on-premise phone system with landlines for every employee, a difficult-to-manage server, and a costly IT-consulting contract to administer the system. The phone service also lacked key features the firm needed to deliver the best possible client experience—such as advanced call routing and after-hours greetings.
And because this legacy phone infrastructure didn’t allow staff to take or make business calls unless they were at their desks, the team had to use their personal cell phones to connect with clients whenever they were away from the office. “So, we had two different numbers for clients, and one of them was our personal mobile number,” explains Xander Rice, a partner and financial services representative with the firm. “Not the most efficient way to communicate.”
Xander also explains that although his staff had been making do with the system for some time, a series of regulatory changes forced the team to look for a better solution. “The regulators of the financial industry recently ramped up requirements for how we manage data security,” he says. “Meeting the new standards would’ve meant making a lot of changes to the old phone system—and honestly, that system was so complex that even our IT consultants had trouble with it.”
So Xander decided to take the opportunity to upgrade his communications infrastructure to the cloud. The firm’s IT consultants recommended RingCentral, and Xander came to the same conclusion after conducting his own research.
If a client calls in, and my office manager can’t get it, then it can ring to me, or someone else, or two people, or go to voicemail. The flexibility we have is terrific.

Xander Rice

Partner and Financial Services Representative, Steve Rice & Associates
Financial Services
Elizabethtown, KY

Lower costs, better support… and awesome phone features

When they rolled out RingCentral’s cloud-based solution, every member of the Steve Rice & Associates team had the ability to take and make calls using their business number on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. All it required was downloading a RingCentral app.
But that was only one of many benefits the firm realized from their new communications solution.
First, they were able to cut their telecom costs significantly, by eliminating the individual landlines the firm was paying for. “They were even charging us for a couple of extra numbers just for on-hold lines,” explains Xander. “Switching to RingCentral let us get rid of those as well.”
All told, the firm slashed its monthly telecom costs by almost 60% almost immediately. “And that’s not even taking into account the hundreds of dollars we had to pay for every support call that resulted in a tech having to come out and fix a problem,” says Xander.
The firm was also able to help its staff become even more responsive to clients, with a series of advanced routing features that anyone on the team could easily set up or change in minutes. As Xander puts it.
Additionally, because RingCentral includes built-in electronic faxing—compliant with FINRA, SOX, and other regulations—the firm was able to end the tedious process of sending and receiving paper-based faxes via an office copy machine. Now they can transmit faxes entirely digitally through the RingCentral environment.

Enjoying world-class tech support

The firm also benefited tremendously from RingCentral’s support. “I had so many questions during the implementation, and afterward,” says Xander. “And RingCentral’s support team has always been fantastic. They’re always responsive, always helpful, and always manage to resolve my issue or answer my question quickly.”
Xander also points out that even though the firm is enjoying far better support with RingCentral than they had with their previous communications provider, they’re paying far less for it. “Those IT maintenance agreements were expensive,” he says. “And every time they’d actually help us resolve an issue, there was a big per-hour charge as well. With RingCentral, we’re getting phenomenal support when we need it—and there’s no extra cost for it.”

And who knew? Preparing for a pandemic…

Because Steve Rice & Associates received the Essential Business designation before the lockdown orders were issued, the firm didn’t need to shut its doors and send its staff home. But if the firm had been ordered to operate virtually during the pandemic—even given the tremendous spike in calls from existing clients and new ones looking for financial help—the firm had the communication tools in place to make it work.
“I realized that if even we had to set everyone up for remote work,” says Xander, “we would’ve been in the position to do it. In fact, because we had RingCentral, I’m confident that we all could have transitioned to working from home—and still given our clients the excellent service and attention we’ve become known for.”

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