Ruby Resolutions for 2011!

Reading time:
Felt cell phone cases by Hilary P.
Quirky felt cell phone cases by Hilary P.

With 2011 almost upon us, I thought it might be nice to indulge in a time-honored tradition and share some New Year’s resolutions. We’re not just any ol’ answering service, and our spirited phone answering pros are what set us apart. Here’s what some of our talented virtual receptionists and staff have planned for the new year:

In 2011, I’m hoping to get back into my hobby of editing film. There’s nothing better than having a bowl of popcorn while you’re making a movie!” – Katie Wilson, a.k.a. your humble author

Growing my sewing/knitting hobby into a small business.” – Hilary, Virtual Receptionist (See above for a peek at her handywork!)

Attend at least one party, have one gallery opening, help one person I don’t know, help someone I love, and have a really great year! I might as well aim high!” – Michele, Virtual Receptionist

I’m going back to college in January, so I’ll need to focus on keeping the balance in my life!” – LeAnna, Virtual Receptionist

Save money, read and journal more, and have more fun!” – Emily, Virtual Receptionist

In 2011, I would like to visit somewhere I’ve never been, volunteer more (fostering kitties, here I come!), and expand my springtime garden!” – Sarah, Director of Culture (and fellow blog writer)

I don’t make a resolution, but I do declare a theme of focus for the year. Last year it was ‘Live my values.’ This year I’d like to focus on my health and longevity so I can be a healthy role model for my daughter Piper.” – Ang, Staff Manager

This is a big year for me! I am continuing my education in the evenings and maintaining going to the gym at least 5 days a week. I want to be healthier before starting a family!” – Jewel, Director of Receptionist Services

What’s your resolution for 2011? Or if you’re not the resolution type, what are you looking forward to next year? Share in the comment section below!

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Make your greeting great!

Recently, we received an awesome comment on our blog post about how to create a great company greeting. Our reader Andy asked about the best way to answer a direct line, and we think it’s such a great question that we decided write a whole post about it. Thanks for the inspiration, Andy! Although our virtual receptionist team typically answers calls for entire companies, we have a few tips for fielding direct calls.  Here’s the word from our phone answering pros:

  1. Start with a welcoming phrase. This is an optional element, but our remote receptionists highly recommend it. We’ve found that answering phone calls with a friendly greeting is a great way to set an upbeat tone. “Hello,” “Good morning,” and “Thank you for calling” are all great starters. Don’t be afraid to use more than one friendly opener!
  2. State the company name (if applicable). This element is also optional, but if there’s a company name to mention, try stating it after your opener.
  3. Name that line. If you’re answering your own direct line, be sure to say your name. “This is Susan” works great, as does “This is Susan Smith.” If you’re the receptionist for an executive’s direct line, state the exec’s name, and then yours, as in “Susan Smith’s line. This is Terry.”
  4. Wrap it up nicely. A friendly ending is optional, but again, our offsite receptionists like to end every greeting with an offer of assistance or a friendly question. “How may I help you?” is usually pretty solid in any situation. A question is helpful because it prompts your caller to speak, and it’s a great way to add a little extra courtesy and care to the greeting.

Here are a few examples:

Good morning! Thank you for calling ABC Company, Susan Smith’s line.  This is Terry.  How may I help you?

ABC Company. This is Susan Smith. How may I help you today?

Hello, this is Susan. How may I help you?

A final tip about answering a direct line: Don’t greet callers based on caller ID information. You may know who’s calling, but it’s best to let your caller introduce him or herself. Answering the phone with “Hi, Tim” can be offputting to a caller. And who knows — your caller might be someone else calling from Tim’s line, and that would be really awkward.

We hope these direct line greeting tips are helpful, and we’d love to hear any questions you have about answering calls.  The Ruby crew is happy to share our knowledge!

Learn more about our new method: the KISS Method to phone greetings!

If turning your callers into customers is your end goal, we have just the tips for you.

Free ebook: Grow Your Business With Ruby

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In Celebration of the Holidays…

Reading time:

Ruby® Receptionists will be closed on Friday, December 24th and Saturday, December 25th for the federally observed Christmas holiday. We will also be closed on Friday, December 31st and Saturday, January 1st for the federally observed New Year’s holiday. During that time, calls will be answered as instructed by your afterhours call handling.

Thank you to all who have made 2010 such a wonderful year for us, and we wish you a happy & healthy holiday and a bright new year! Cheers to you!

Best wishes,

The Ruby Team

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Do you keep a spelling alphabet at your desk? If you answer telephone calls and take messages, our expert virtual receptionists recommend it! The live virtual receptionists at Ruby® Receptionists often use these guides to confirm spelling when they are handling calls and taking messages.

Just what is a spelling alphabet, you ask?

It’s a list of words used to clarify letters: A as in Alpha, B as in Bravo, C as in Charlie. You’re probably somewhat familiar with the International Civil Aviation Organization alphabet. This is a tool used by the police and military during radio communication—and often referenced in cool action films. We equip each of our virtual receptionists with a copy of the ICAO alphabet when they first arrive at Ruby. We also give our phone answering experts a copy of our own spelling alphabet, a set of letter associations we thought up ourselves. At Ruby Receptionists, we like to have fun! When you place a call, we hope you hear this. It’s all about the perfect balance of friendliness and professionalism, and our custom spelling alphabet is one way we make it our own! This also gives our receptionists options, because sometimes asking “Was that P as in Papa?” can sound a little strange!

Create a spelling alphabet of your own!

Take a note from our virtual receptionists and add some flair to your phone calls! When crafting a spelling alphabet, be sure to pick words that capture the unique sounds of letters. For instance, P as in potato is great; P as in peach is not. This is because peach rhymes with beach, and P rhymes with B— confusing on the phone! The point of a spelling alphabet is to make distinguishing between similar-sounding letters a cinch, so take special care when picking words for sound-alikes. Common examples are M and N, P and B, and S and F.

Not to brag or anything, but Ruby’s spelling alphabet is kind of famous. In fact, our call-handling is frankly legendary. Learn all about it in our free ebook!

Get the Ultimate guide to virtual receptionists!

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100 Best Companies to Work For 2010
Some of the Rubys at last year’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” banquet

We’re thrilled that Ruby® Receptionists is once again one of Oregon Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon” for 2011! Nearly 14,000 employees from businesses across Oregon, including our team of phone answering pros, voted to compile the list.

This is our second consecutive year to be included, and we are very thankful to everyone that has helped us make Ruby such a great place to work! From our virtual receptionists to our supportive staff to our enthusiastic clients, you all make Ruby truly special, and not just another answering service. We’re also particularly proud of this award since Fostering Happiness is one of our Core Values!

We’re looking forward to finding out where we rank at the “100 Best” banquet on March 3rd. If you’re interested in learning more or would like to register to attend the event, you can do so on Oregon Business’ website.

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We’re delighted to announce that Ruby® Receptionists is one of Oregon Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 2011. This is the second year in a row that we have made the list. Nearly 14,000 employees from a variety of businesses — including our virtual receptionists – voted to select which were the best places to work. We are looking forward to finding out where we rank at the annual Oregon Business banquet on March 3rd, 2011. If you’re interested in registering for the event, you can do so here.

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telephone alternatives

Every day, our bright team of live virtual receptionists is cheerfully answering phones for small businesses all over the country. Over time, we’ve developed a keen eye for what works and what doesn’t. If you’re thinking of publishing your cell as your business number because it seems like the easiest way to go, think again! We’ve put together a few alternatives to help small businesses like yours avoid future headaches and hassle:

  1. A “remote call forwarding” line. This is a line that is not attached to any physical phone; it “lives” at the phone company and will simply forward to wherever you’d like. You can forward this number to your cell phone at first, so you will be able to have the benefits of availability to clients, but — and here’s the good part — when your business grows or you move into an office, you can install the number with a physical phone!
  2. Grasshopper. Grasshopper provides a service much like that of a “remote call forwarding” line from your phone company; the difference is that it’s purely virtual. You can still choose from a pool of different numbers, but because it’s virtual, Grasshopper provides additional features!
  3. Google Voice. This may be the most flexible of the options, and it’s free! Choose your number and have it forward to your cell, home, office, somewhere else, or all of the above simultaneously. Mashable published a helpful article detailing how this works and other ways you can use Google Voice for business. Pretty snazzy indeed!
  4. A landline. Ok, so maybe this one’s not as “revolutionary” as the previous ideas, but it might be useful to have an actual landline installed in your home or office that you can manually forward to your cell. It will keep the numbers discrete, and you’ll be able to use this phone for outbound calling as well. (And, with a service like Ruby, you can even get a business number that you can use on your cell phone!)

If you’re opening a business or considering publishing a new number, I hope this handy dandy reference guide will help you avoid the pitfalls of working off your cell. Whatever you decide, remember that Ruby’s live virtual receptionists are available to handle your calls with their signature charm and can-do attitude. If you’d like to have a little extra help around the office, here’s what you need to know. In no time at all, you’ll have the assurance that your calls are being answered with care by a cheerful, live person every time.

Don’t have time to answer your own phone? Ruby can help with that–discover how!

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2010 has been a fantastic year for our team of virtual receptionists! We have launched an iPhone app, been honored with several illustrious awards, welcomed some fabulous new faces into our phone answering team, and we are looking forward to what 2011 will bring!

Before we jump into the next big chapter in the Ruby storybook, we wanted to take some time out to honor a year of great accomplishments and celebrate our team of top-notch live virtual receptionists and staff! Last weekend, we brought out the glitz and glamour for our annual Holiday Gala.

Ang Gray, Ashley Hampton, and Sarah Sackett
Staff Manager Ang Gray, Client Services Director Ashley Hampton, and me!

Emily B. and her mother
Emily B. brought her mother and they were sweet as can be!

Ruby Doll
Holly T. crocheted a little Ruby to attend the party!

Bri Popson and Amanda S.
Our Scheduler Bri Popson and Amanda S. enjoying the festivities

Rubys Lauren O. and Jami R. with friend Madeline
Rubys Lauren O. and Jami R. with friend Madeline (left)

Thank you to everyone who made our night so enchanting! It was a fun party to plan, and I am already looking forward to next year’s party!

Did your office have a get-together? Share how you made it a special night in the comment section below!

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How Ruby Can Help Remote Employees

Reading time:

We’ve come a long way from being tethered to a desk by a landline and bulky typewriter. We now have mobile phones and laptops that allow us to get work done wherever we happen to be, wherever inspiration strikes. There’s also a newfound freedom to work with whomever you’d like, regardless of location. With today’s software – email, videoconferencing platforms, sophisticated phone systems – it’s easier than ever to run a virtual office.

However, it is more important than ever to project a unified, professional image for clients. Customers want to be assured that you have a cohesive team and are able to get the job done. Ruby understands. Our virtual receptionists answer phones for many virtual offices and remote employees, and we’ve seen them thrive. Here are three ways Ruby helps:

  • One number to rule them all. Terrible Lord of the Rings puns aside, one central phone number makes a business look established. With only direct dials or cell phone numbers to give to clients, your operation may seem piecemeal. Ruby will help you get your phones in order (we’ll even provide a toll-free number), and our cheerful team of live virtual receptionists can transfer calls to you whenever and wherever you like.
  • Ruby makes you look bigger and more professional. Your callers will think we work in your office – even if you don’t have one! You get all the perks of a top-notch receptionist, without paying the salary and benefits. We even use advanced technology that is so seamless, no one will know the difference — unless, of course, you tell your callers you work remotely!
  • Take advantage of your freedom! As Attorney William Ferreira of Automotive Defense Specialists told us, “I take road trips and vacations…. It’s awesome. With a laptop, an iPhone, and a few files, it’s a mobile practice – I love it!” No more waiting by the phone, hoping you don’t miss your next big client’s phone call; Ruby’s got your back! We’re here for you, so you can be wherever you’d like!

In the spirit of freedom, if you could travel wherever you’d like without worrying about your business, where would you go? Let us know @callruby on Twitter!

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Ruby Gems: December Anniversaries

Reading time:

We are celebrating three Ruby® anniversaries this month! Outgoing Client Services Associate Sara Briggs and gregarious virtual receptionist Sara-Lee B. are both rocking their third year at Ruby Receptionists. Congrats go out as well to thoughtful virtual receptionist Hilary P. who is celebrating her first year at Ruby! In honor of their anniversaries, here’s a little more about each of these talented gals:

What’s your favorite part about working at Ruby?

Sara Briggs: The sense of family and the friends that I have made. The women that work here are solid, forward-thinking, extremely strong ladies.

Hilary P.: At Ruby, we’re never treated as just another face in the office crowd — it’s a family. We laugh together, help each other through hard times, everything.

Sara-Lee B.: It would have to be the insanely cool people I work with. These people are funny, whip-smart, loyal and kind. Not only do I have great co-workers but I’ve also made life long friends. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland?

Sara Briggs: I definitely like the music scene here.

Hilary P.: There’s always something amazing going on! Whether it’s a street fair, a crazy film festival, or a theme night at a club, Portland definitely always keeps it interesting.

Sara-Lee B.: Waking up to the sunrise over Mt. Hood…. You just can’t get that anywhere else.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at Ruby?

Sara Briggs: I enjoy cooking with my boyfriend and hunkering down to watch some horror movies. I’m a bit of a horror fanatic. I also enjoy creating elaborate costumes for various occasions [see above for my getup from the Ruby Barn Bash], submersing myself in music, and heading out for nights of dancing with the ladies.

Hilary P.: Crafting! I love to make things from felt, like wallets or soft toys. I’m working on a line of cell phone cases that are shaped like monsters and robots!

Sara-Lee B.: I also love to craft in my “off” time from Ruby. I am a profitable Macaroni artist. Yes, I said Macaroni artist, however, I am thinking of branching out into the wonderful wide world of buttons….

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Sales Support
Legal_Final

The Secret to Successful Law Firms

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

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