In this day of virtual offices and remote receptionists, there’s a chance you’ve never met your assistant face to face, much less your clients. But even in this virtual era, personal relationships are still at the core of business success. With only 5% of our clients located here with with us in Portland, Oregon, maintaining personal relationships can be a challenge.

Here a just a few of the things we do to remind our clients just how much we value their business and root for their success:

  • Send personal notecards. The typed letter sent by facsimile may be a thing of the past, but a hand written personal card will never go out of style. We can think of at least 100 reasons to send a personal card, but that will be for another post (stay tuned!).
  • Celebrate their success. When speaking with our clients, if we hear of a baby being born, a big case won, a daughter getting engaged, or an award being accepted, it’s time to celebrate. A congratulation note is sent from our entire staff.
  • Thank them. A lot. At Ruby, we make sure no one falls through the cracks by thanking every single client when they sign up, at two weeks into service, at six months, at the winter holiday season, and at every anniversary.  Sometimes it’s with a call, sometimes it’s with a gift. And yes, sometimes it’s with a personal notecard. We appreciate our clients and want to make sure they know how important they are to us. (If you are a current client reading this, I’d like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you for your business” right now!)

These small practices, when instituted on a regular basis, help Ruby keep that personal touch with our long distance clients.

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Upon becoming a Ruby, each of us is introduced to the Ruby Core Values.  We read them, we discuss them, and we are both expected to represent these values at work and encouraged to live by them in our personal lives.  Here’s a peek inside the Ruby guidebook, and a little of my own commentary as well:

Integrity: We do what we say we’re going to do, when we say we’re going to do it.  We strive to do the right thing for ourselves, or company, and our clients.  We are honest.  We are committed to live out our values.

The way I see it:  It’s pretty important that the person handling your calls does what she says she will.  The receptionist provides your callers’ first impression, so it is vital that no one slips through the cracks.  Integrity means placing sufficient importance on every call and handling each call in the way that will reflect the company best.

Accountability: We are clear on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what outcome each of us has to deliver.  We recognize and celebrate our successes and achievements.  We take personal responsibility in performing our jobs to the best of our abilities.  We take pride in our work.

The way I see it: I’ve had jobs with bosses that do not tolerate mistakes.  They get all worked up over the slightest error, and it makes for a stressful working environment in which you would rather hide in a corner than admit you’ve done something wrong.  Thankfully, this is not that job.  Here we are encouraged to admit our mistakes, and we are forgiven.  Everyone works together to solve the problem, and then steps are taken to help prevent those mistakes in the future.  It’s a beautiful thing when mistakes are not seen as the end of the world, but rather as room for improvement.

Outstanding People: We act on the belief that our people are our service, knowing that knowledge, commitment,and talent of different people drive our success.  We maintain a business environment of dignity and respect.  We foster personal and professional growth and development.

The way I see it:  It’s no secret how I feel about my coworkers (they’re amazing!).  Just take a look at my previous post, An Introduction to Ruby Culture, below.

Innovation:  We are always looking for a better way to do what we do.

The way I see it:  This is the Ruby value that is least visible to our clients and others outside of the office.  It’s not just an empty promise, though.  Since I’ve been here I have seen several new systems and operating procedures implemented that make the office work faster and happier.

Unparalleled Service:  We consistently exceed the expectations of our clients and their callers.  We recognize that “we are our clients,” and represent our clients’ interests as we provide our service.

The way I see it:  This is the one that clients and callers really see.  It’s what we call the “WOW” factor.  I suppose all of the other Ruby values could be included in this one, because it takes integrity, accountability, outstanding people, and constant innovation to provide the level of service that makes Ruby Receptionists a great company to do business with and a fantastic company to work for.

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An Introduction to Ruby Culture

Reading time:

For those of you not in the know, the Ruby culture is a big part of what makes Ruby Receptionists special.  We’re cool, we’re hip, and we’re very Portland. (If a city can be used as an adjective, then that’s what we are.)  Though only a few of us actually grew up in Oregon, we’ve all found our way to this little corner of the world, where our quirky personalities have found a home. We can wear whatever we want to work, but the lax dress code doesn’t keep our fashionable ladies from looking great.  There’s Lily-Rygh with her hep-to-that-jive style, Kayla’s raccoon-like fascination with sparkly sweaters, and Annie, who runs her own fashion forward business called Fat Fancy.

The ladies I get to spend my day with are fun and multi-talented. For example, Heather backpacked through Asia.  Lisa can teach you how to apply great-looking makeup, even if you’re make-up challenged like me.  Angela is a trained pilates instructor.  Alexa plays the drums, Phoebe plays the bass guitar, and Annie is the lead singer in her band “Annie and the Dreamboats.”  Cat is a model and photographer, and Jennifer tells the funniest stories.  And every one of them is marvelous on the phone.

We’re a compassionate lot as well.  We care about the environment.  In fact, Charlene coordinated our recent effort to win the City of Portland’s RecycleWorks Award.  We also care about others.  A group of Rubies participated in the Race for the Cure on September 21st.  They affectionately termed themselves “Rubies for Boobies.”  Every month we get together for an office-sponsored event.  In November we plan on volunteering at our local food bank, and you can bet we’ll bring our natural exuberance with us.  We especially care about each other.  Frequent compliments and a genuine appreciation of our co-workers define us, and that’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) we like it.

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infer vs imply

The words imply and infer both concern information that is suggested, but not explicitly communicated.

When you imply, you hint at something without directly stating it.  You can imply something when you are speaking, writing, or relaying information in another fashion.   To imply is to suggest something without stating it outright.

When you infer, you pick up on a hint, or what you imagine to be a hint (it is possible to infer something that was not implied).  You can infer something from information someone else has communicated.    To infer is to read between the lines, so to speak.

Here are some sentence examples for this tricky pair of words:

Imply

“The apples trees are beautiful, but their fruit isn’t exactly tasty,” said Tim.
“Are you implying that my apple pie will be less-than-delicious?”  asked Terri.
“Are you implying that we shouldn’t bother picking apples this weekend?” asked Sally.
“I’m just saying I don’t like Granny Smiths,” said Tim.

Infer

Tim said, “I’m not a fan of music.”
Sally inferred that she shouldn’t buy Tim a record for his birthday.
Terri inferred that Tim is a snobby bore.

When you IMply, you are sending information.  Remember that imply begins with I M, as in I’M SPEAKING.  When I state that Ruby Receptionists is more than an answering service, I’m implying that our service exceeds expectations.

When you INfer, you are receiving information, and finding meaning IN what someone else has relayed.  After perusing Ruby’s website, you’ll likely infer that our virtual receptionist service is an ideal fit for your business.

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Missed connections translate to lost revenue. With Ruby, you have a partner in gaining and retaining customers. Plus, we’re so confident you’ll love our service, we offer a 21 day money-back guarantee*.

*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the cancelled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner.