One of Ruby's virtual receptionists' fave destinations!
Oregon coast – photo by tibchris

In celebration of Labor Day, I thought I’d share some of my fellow Rubys’ favorite places for those anticipated three day weekend getaways. We’re based in the verdant terrain of Portland, OR, so it’s no surprise quite a few of our favorite retreats are in the good old outdoors.  If you’re local, you may just want to head out to one of these spots, and if you’re not, maybe it’ll convince you to take a trip out West and visit your favorite virtual receptionists!  Here are our top 10 favorite recommendations:

1. Oregon Coast — Some of our favorite coastal cities are Lincoln City, SeasideAstoria, and Yachats.And if you find yourself a little further south, I recommend checking out Bandon, OR, where you can hold a baby tiger!

Baby Tiger!
Yep, that’s me holding a baby tiger!

2. Columbia River Gorge — Less than a half-hour outside Portland city limits, the Gorge offers the natural wonders of camping, hiking, and fishing. It’s also home to breathtaking waterfalls and about 50 elegant wineries and vineyards.

3. Seattle, WA — Just an easy 3 hour drive north!  Receptionists particularly love Seattle for Mariners games, visiting the EMP, and shopping at the famous Pike Place Market.

4. Mt. Hood — Best known as a beautiful winter wonderland, Mt. Hood has plenty to offer in the “off season.” Mt. Hood National Forest includes hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and you can also go mountain biking, bungee jumping and try an alpine zip line at Mt. Hood Skibowl. Intermediate and advanced skiers can even indulge in lift-accessible, summer skiing at Timberline Lodge!

5. Taking a relaxing float down the Clackamas River — Sunshine, nature and friends…what more could a virtual receptionist need on her day off?!

6. Bend, OR & Sunriver — When we need a break from city life, Rubys head to the high desert for some outdoor adventures: rock climbing, whitewater rafting, hiking — you name it!

7. Vancouver, BC — Such a beautiful drive and not nearly as far as you think!  Vancouver is a weath of diversity and is often called the “city of neighborhoods.”  While you are there, you can even stay in a sphere suspended above the forest!  How cool is that?!

8. Redwood State Parks, CA — Nothing brings a Ruby closer to nature than sleeping under thousand-year-old redwood trees!

10. Enchanted Forest — This fairytale theme park located just outside of Salem, OR is a magical playground for kids of all ages. Perfect for our Ruby team members with little ones!

We hope these travel tips might inspire you to make a trip out to the Pacific Northwest, or maybe just inspire you to think about the favorite getaways in your own state! Tell us about your plans for the Labor Day weekend. We would love to hear about the special places in your region!

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Going green on a budget
Photo by homard.net

From celebrities to CEO’s, these days it looks like everyone’s trying to be a little more eco-conscious, and it’s a wonderful thing! But we know it can be a challenge to go green on a budget, so here are a few tips that don’t break the bank.

  1. Set your office printer(s) to print double-sided by default. It uses less paper, and the best part is that it actually saves your business money!
  2. When you’re leaving for lunch or for the day — and still need to run a few updates on your computer, take a second and turn off your monitor. It’s a small step, but all that energy can add up!
  3. Keep a couple of reusable shopping bags in the kitchen. The Ruby® Receptionists office is located a couple of blocks from a grocery store, and Rubys will frequently need to grab a quick snack from down the street. We keep a few reusable shopping bags on hand for just such occasions. You can usually find them at your local grocery store, oftentimes in the checkout line itself, and they can cost as little as a dollar! Or, if you’d like to get a little fancy, you can spend a couple more bucks on a Baggu which folds into its own pouch to save space.
  4. Start a Green Team! Here’s how the Ruby Green Team came to be: Ruby® Receptionists has always strived to be a green company; we weren’t named #19 on Oregon Business Magazine’s 100 Best Green Companies list for nothing! Our brilliant Director of Human Resources Charlene Huwe has always been passionate about protecting the environment, and she’s done a fantastic job of helping Ruby stay green. However, as we’ve grown and expanded over the years, she needed help! And thus, the Green Team was formed! Several of our virtual receptionists as well as other staff members meet once a month to go over goals and set action items for each member. For more details on the logistics of how to start your very own Green Team, check out this helpful article by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. We’ll keep you posted on how these green superheroes are working their magic here at Ruby!

Has your office implemented any green practices? Share them with us @callruby!

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Scratch off game--Employee Incentives Program

Ruby’s talented Kendra Neal has been working on an ongoing series of blog posts about the Ruby® Receptionists Core Values. These values are dear to our hearts, and we’re always trying to incorporate them into our day-to-day operations and office culture.

As a small business, one of our favorite ways to inspire our staff of virtual receptionists is through our incentive campaigns. Each quarter, we focus on a specific task or core value and make it into a game with a fun reward system for achievements. Who doesn’t love a game?

Random Acts of Happiness Employee Incentives Campaign
Virtual Receptionist Monica D. showing her winning cards!

Last quarter, our theme was centered around our core value of “fostering happiness”… and the “Random Acts of Happiness (RAH!)” game was born! The idea was simple: each person in the office received 5 “scratch” tickets to give to their coworkers each week for 8 weeks. When someone caught a coworker committing a random act of happiness — opening the door for another Ruby, giving a caller that extra special Ruby sparkle, welcoming a new Ruby to the team, etc. — they awarded their fellow Ruby a ticket and posted the story on our message board to inspire others.

Scratch tickets revealed either one of 20+ different instant win prizes from coffee and ice cream to a foot spa treatment — or a part of a series. The first Ruby to collect all the parts of a series won a grand prize (for example, displaying all four of Ruby’s core values won Monica P. an Ipad — and Jami spelled out the word “RUBY” to win an HDTV!).

Want to start a scratch ticket game for your office? With the help of Easy Scratch Off Stickers, your office printer, and some card stock, you can be spreading cheer and surprise to employees or clients in no time!

Do you use incentive campaigns for your business? Have any great experiences to share? If so, we’d love to hear from you — please post a comment below!

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We Have a Winner!

Reading time:

Client Services Representative Sara Briggs kicks up her heels

Ruby’s very own Sarah Sackett snapped this photo of Client Services Representative Sara Briggs kicking up her heels at Ruby Receptionists’ Barn Bash. It was great to see everyone all dressed up in their Western wear, and this is a fantastic action shot of Sara’s fabulous dress. This photo definitely encompasses the fun and whimsy of the night! I’d like to extend a huge thank you to all who submitted photos! There were a bunch of excellent entries, and it was a tough call. You can see all the entries along with our photos from the Barn Bash here. And if you took a had a photo taken in the Olde Time Photo booth, you can download a digital copy from the Ruby Flickr page!

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As a receptionist, you’ll likely be asked many questions throughout your day. Questions you don’t know how to answer can be unsettling, and frequent if you’re newer to a job. A great way to remain confident in the face of questions is to guide your caller.

Guiding is a tool our virtual receptionists use regularly, and it’s as simple as asking your caller a basic question. Whether you’re taking a message or screening a call, gathering information is an important part of any receptionist’s routine. Questions like “May I ask who is calling?” and “What’s the best telephone number for a return call?” are common to many conversations. These basic questions are especially important when callers ask tricky questions.

When you’re faced with a question that you’re unsure how to answer, offer assistance to your caller, then guide the caller with a question.

Examples of Guiding Callers

Great question! Let me look into that. May I have your name?

I’d be happy to find out for you. May I have your name?

Let me research that and follow up with you. What is the best telephone number for a return call?

Let me put you in touch with the best person to answer that question. May I have your telephone number?

Although the caller’s question isn’t answered with any of the above examples, they are all preferable to dead-end responses like “Ummmmmm…I don’t know.” Not knowing an answer doesn’t prevent you from being an excellent receptionist. Guiding is a simple way to keep a call moving forward. By ending with a question, you remain helpful while gathering the information you need to offer a call to someone in your office, take a message, or research a question and follow up with a caller. When asked a difficult question, do what our phone answering experts do, and match it with a simple question. We think you — and the caller — will like the results!

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Good in-house or vitual receptionists alike will confirm information to build trust with callers
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives

For the fist time in years, I recently updated my billing information with a couple of services over the phone. I am used to managing my bills online, so speaking with live receptionists was a nice change.  Every receptionist I talked to was friendly, upbeat, and helpful.  The Internet is fantastic, but an online update definitely doesn’t boost my mood like a pleasant conversation does.  One thing surprised me, though: The receptionists I spoke with didn’t repeat my name, address, or credit card information back to me automatically.  When I asked them to repeat it, they did happily, and each of these pro receptionists had gathered my information correctly.

Now, I am probably pickier than most customers.  I learned a lot during my years of working as a virtual receptionist at Ruby, and I’ll admit that our standards are pretty high.  If you’re fielding calls, my advice is to confirm the spelling of names and tricky words, and always read back numbers — telephone numbers, addresses, etc. — when gathering information from callers.  (Try using words to confirm letters, and reading from your notes to confirm that you’ve gathered the caller’s information correctly.)  If your callers are anything like me, they’ll appreciate it if you confirm their information, and they’ll notice if you don’t.

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The inside scoop on Clio’s latest legal trends report.

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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.