Through a Power Outage or a Pandemic, Wagner Realty Uses RingCentral to Always Be There for its Clients
“Your platform just handled 15,000+ concurrent calls!”
Founded in 1939, Wagner Realty is one of the oldest and largest independent, locally owned real estate companies serving Florida’s Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Building a stellar reputation for decades, today the award-winning company has more than 200 agents—all licensed REALTORS®—in locations across Florida’s Gulf Coast, managing more than 1,200 rental/vacation properties.
Buying or selling a home can be one of life’s most stressful experiences. But for tens of thousands of people along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the experience has been a lot more positive—because they worked with an agent at Wagner Realty.
It’s extremely difficult to have any longevity in the real estate business without putting your customers’ needs first. Wagner Realty has been serving the people of Southwest Florida for 80 years—making it the one of the longest-operating independent real estate firms in the region.
If you need more evidence that the firm’s agents take a truly client-centric approach to everything they do, consider that Wagner Realty has topped the Bradenton Herald “People’s Choice” list of Best Real Estate Companies for more than 20 years in a row.
And although Wagner Realty is locally owned and operated, the firm has global reach through its membership in Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a network of independent brokers with a presence in 50 countries. It’s thanks to this membership in LeadingRE that Wagner Realty found a solution to a long-standing operational challenge facing the company.
“We’ve just started using RingCentral, and we’ve seen a 58% cost savings so far.”
“We discussed switching to VoIP phones for years. But when we realized our membership in LeadingRE gave us access to a discount on RingCentral, we decided it was time to do it.”
“Our staff is already using RingCentral for business calls anywhere, SMS texts, video meetings, even online faxing. But honestly, it’s so feature-rich that I don’t think we’ve discovered half of RingCentral’s capabilities yet.”
A phone system that was neither cost-effective nor scalable
As Wagner Realty built out each of its eight offices across Florida’s Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the company purchased an identical on-prem phone system for each location and ordered lines from the local telco.
Replicating the same hardware in every location did make administering the firm’s phone environment more efficient than if the offices all had their own setups. But as the company’s team grew to more than 220 agents, Operations Manager Natalie Russell found their communications infrastructure had many limitations.
“We had to have phones on everyone’s desk,” Natalie says. “And when they weren’t in the office—which is often, because they’re out with customers—our agents couldn’t make a call on their Wagner Realty number, not to mention missing out on calls that were sitting in voicemail on their office desk phones.”
In addition to the phone system’s lack of mobility, Natalie also worried about its service reliability. “We have offices out on barrier islands,” she explains, “and any little bit of rain can knock out the internet service—which could mean our office’s phones would be down, too.”
Wagner Realty is also a cost-conscious firm, and the team knew their on-prem phone system was not the most cost-effective way to pay for communications services—especially considering they were also paying separately for conferencing apps and an after-hours answering service.
A smooth transition to RingCentral
When she signed up for RingCentral—at the discounted rate available to members of LeadingRE, and all Service Industry Alliance partners—Natalie let her entire staff know about the new work-from-anywhere cloud communications services they’d soon have.
She told them about the softphone capability, which would let them take and make calls from their computer using their Wagner Realty numbers. She told them about RingCentral Video, which would let them host online meetings anywhere. And she told them about the RingCentral app, which would allow them to have calls, exchange SMS messages with clients, host video conferences, and chat online with colleagues—from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
And although Natalie was prepared for at least a few snags during Wagner Realty’s transition to RingCentral, her team didn’t experience any.
“The cutover was totally seamless,” she says. “We migrated the entire company—all in-house staff and all 220 agents—on the same day. And almost immediately, we boxed up all of our desk phones and put them up for sale.”
In fact, even migrating all of the agents’ data into their new RingCentral environment was easy. “We use Google G Suite for our email server,” Natalie says. “At first I thought, ‘Oh no. Who’s going to load all of this data into the new system?’ But then I found out that RingCentral integration with G Suite—and I was able to bring all of that contact data in with a few clicks.”
Solving long-standing operational challenges
Since switching to RingCentral, Wagner Realty is experiencing all of the operational improvements Natalie was hoping for, and several they hadn’t even been expecting. First and foremost, the firm’s agents now have the tools to be more accessible and responsive to clients, no matter where they are.
“If they’re on the road and a customer calls, our agents can take that call on their Wagner Realty business line,” she says. “And if they’re on a computer softphone call with a client… and they need to get on the road… the agent can easily switch the call to their mobile without the client even realizing they’ve done it. This system is so flexible—it’s perfect for our agents.”
As Natalie also points out, managing her organization’s communications infrastructure is no longer a time-consuming task. “Now that we have RingCentral, the administrative work is easier than it’s ever been for our firm. I can manage the whole system from my cell phone.”
Yet another key benefit has been cost savings. When Natalie rolled out RingCentral across the company, Wagner Realty began saving money immediately, and the company is looking forward to even more savings in the near future.
“Because we’ve consolidated our communications services all onto the RingCentral platform, we were able to get rid of the conferencing app we were paying for. And as soon as I set up the RingCentral Auto Attendant with our Property Management division’s after-hours greeting, we’re going to be able to end our contract with the third-party answering service.”