Our virtual receptionists are sure to verify phone numbers and addresses
Photo by Evan P. Cordes

If you’re a telephone answering pro like Ruby® Receptionists’ virtual receptionists, you know a thing or two about taking quality messages. But even the best and brightest forget to snag a key piece of information now and then, and that D’oh! I missed something! feeling is no fun.

Whether you’re an executive assistant, an answering service staffer, or simply filling in on phones for the afternoon, try asking yourself these three questions before wrapping up your next call, and you’ll be sure to catch all the important info:

  • Am I confident the content is correct? If your caller wants to leave a detailed message, it may be best to read it back to make sure you’ve taken it down correctly. Don’t let fast talkers or folks with a lot to say make you lose your confidence — if you didn’t catch something, politely ask your caller to repeat it. A friendly “Would you mind repeating that?” does the trick!
  • Did I check my 123s and ABCs? Always confirm numbers and contact information, including all telephone numbers, email addresses, reference numbers, and mailing addresses. Our virtual receptionist staff recommends reading info back from your notes one character at a time (“That was 866-611-7829, correct?”). Remember, some letters are tricky to discern over the phone, so you may want to reference a spelling alphabet.
  • What else? Want to be sure you got it all? Just ask! A wrap-up question like “Is there anything else you’d like me to relay?” is a great way to show your courtesy and attention to detail. Best of all, it ensures a thorough message. Look at you, capturing every detail without batting an eye — why, if you keep this up, how could you not get that big raise?

Are there any questions you think we should add to this list? Please share by tweeting us @callruby! Our phone answering team would love your feedback!

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So you have a great new receptionist (or virtual receptionist service!), and now it’s decision time: Do you want your receptionist to take messages, transfer calls to voicemail, or offer both options to callers when you’re not available?

Our phone answering team suggests you consider the following:

Accessibility.

Is it easier for you to listen to messages or read them while on the go? At Ruby®, our clients are emailed a .wav file of every voicemail they receive, so there’s no need to dial in and sort through old messages — just open your email, click, and listen! But if you don’t have this feature, it might be easier to have your receptionist email written messages to you — it depends on whether you keep your laptop or smartphone handy, and whether listening to a message is a reasonable option. If you’re in court, for example, you may not have the chance to listen to voicemail, but you can probably access your email and discretely check for new messages.

Detail.

Voicemail allows people to talk candidly and directly to you, so if you value that openness, voicemail might be best. On the other hand, if you need a key piece of information with most messages (an email address, for instance), a receptionist can gather and confirm that info each time, whereas folks may forget to leave it on voicemail, even if your outgoing message contains a reminder.

Storage.

Generally, an email will stick around as long as you want it to, and most systems can hold a lot of old messages before getting bogged down. Sorting and searching is also a snap with email, so it’s a great way to go if you need to hang on to many messages. Ruby clients get the best of both worlds — we can email written messages to clients, and we email .wav files of all client voicemail messages, so both are easy to save for as long as desired. But if you’re not a Ruby client and keeping old voicemail messages is important to you, check out your voicemail specs, as many systems delete old messages automatically after a certain period of time.

If reading and listening to messages are both convenient for you, letting the caller choose is a nice touch. This friendly offer works well for our virtual receptionist team: “I’d be happy to take a message or transfer you to voicemail.”

Do you prefer voicemail or written messages, or is either okay with you? Tweet us @callruby and share your feedback!

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At Ruby® Receptionists, we’re not just about phone answering — from our virtual receptionists to our managers, the entire Ruby crew is constantly seeking new ways to impress our clients, our callers, and everyone we interact with. We’re not your typical answering service, and we’re always looking for ways to show it. One way our Client Happiness Team shows their devotion to excellent customer service is by following every phone call from a client with an email to that client. Here are three reasons why you might want to do the same:

  1. To reiterate information. A follow-up email is a great way to make sure your client is heading in the right direction. If you relayed a telephone number, web address, email address, driving directions, or, well, just about anything during your conversation, do your client a favor and send an email with that same information. A post-call email is the perfect way to confirm an important date or meeting, à la “Nice chatting with you today! I’m looking forward to our lunch on the 12th.”
  2. To provide additional information. Forget to mention a bit of helpful info during your conversation? No worries! Include it in your follow-up. It takes just a minute or two to write an email, and the information you include might be a big boon to your client. Who doesn’t appreciate a bit of extra help?
  3. To wow ’em. Maybe there’s more you’d like to say after a phone call ends, and maybe not — it really doesn’t matter. Regardless of whether it’s four paragraphs or just a few words, a thoughtful follow-up email is an excellent way to show your client you care. Kind sentiment goes a long way these days, and considering how easy it is to send an email, there’s just no reason not to follow a conversation with a friendly message. And you don’t have to rack your brain coming up with something to write — a simple “It was great to talk to you” goes a long way.

Do you follow up every phone call with an email? Tell us how it’s working for you on Twitter @callruby!



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Ruby named one of the "100 Best Green Companies to Work For"Ruby® Receptionists has made Oregon Business magazine’s list of the “100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon” for the second year in a row! Last year, our choice of wind energy, encouragement of recyling, and notepad-making propelled us to #19 on the list.

We are really excited to see where we rank this year, especially after several of our virtual receptionists and staff members started Ruby’s very own Green Team. These volunteers (or shall I say, Planeteers?) meet once a month to brainstorm additional green business practices and to educate their peers on more ways to be sustainable.

We’ll find out where we rank at the “100 Best Green Companies” luncheon in May, and we’ll keep you posted!

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Ruby Receptionists has made #35 on Oregon Business magazine’s “100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon!” Last year we were proud to make it to #19 on the list. Being sustainable is an important part of the Ruby culture, and we’re thankful to our virtual receptionists and staff for jumping in with both feet. Whether they’re printing double-sided, making DIY notepads, or volunteering on Ruby’s Green Team, we appreciate their hard work in keeping Ruby green!

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3 Tips for a Friendly Auto-Signature

Reading time:

Whether we’re answering phones or writing messages, our virtual receptionist crew is all about adding a friendly, professional touch to every interaction. Email auto-signatures are a simple way to add that professional touch — they’re a super-easy way to include your contact information and other helpful info. But an automatic signature can seem a bit impersonal at times, especially when writing to someone you correspond with frequently.

If you use an auto-signature, try these tips when you want to make your sign-off feel friendlier:

  1. Add a custom closing. Closings are important, but don’t make a boilerplate closing part of your auto-signature. Instead, personalize a closing with each message, or at least switch it up — Sincerely doesn’t seem as sincere when you add it to every email.
  2. Make social media part of your auto-signature. Does your company use Facebook or Twitter, or have a blog? Linking to one or two of your social media outlets is a great way to Create Community! Why not use your auto-signature to invite associates to get to know more about you and your organization? However, be careful not to bog down your signature with social media links — try keeping it to three or fewer. Here’s how we use social media in our auto-signatures:
  3. Skip the auto-signature after the second go-round. If you’re writing back and forth on the same thread, try skipping the auto-signature after your second or third reply. Keep a friendly closing and your name (first only is fine), but skip the bulky auto-signature. Your correspondent knows who you are by now!

Now that you’re up to speed on how our virtual receptionists and support staffers do it, we’d love to know how you keep your email signatures upbeat. Please share your best practices on Twitter @callruby!

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Virtual receptionists and in-house receptionists: an unbeatable team
Photo by Michael Pujals

We’ve talked a lot about how a live virtual receptionist service can make a great first impression for your business. However, what if you have already have someone in-house who can answer phones? Here are four reasons having a backup phone answering crew can help your business:

Your in-house receptionist needs to focus on a project.

The beauty of having support on-site, is that he or she can also do side projects that an answering service or virtual receptionist service might not. If those projects need special attention to detail or require them to run an errand, though, that leaves the phone in the lurch.

Someone’s at the door.

In the same vein, an in-house receptionist is a friendly face for anyone walking into your office. While they are helping visitors and clients in person, Ruby will answer your calls — your clients are taken care of, no matter where they are.

There are simply too many calls.

No doubt every small business owner dreams of hearing the sound of the phone ringing off the hook. But are some of those prospects slipping through your fingers because of long hold times or when calls roll to voicemail? If your receptionist is tied up, our team will seamlessly spring into action, answering and routing calls without you having to worry about what you’re missing.

Your staff needs to eat.

Let’s face it, no one person can work 13 hours a day, five days a week (plus Saturdays!) — but Ruby can! Our virtual receptionists are like your own friendly, cheerful reserves, ready to step in whenever your in-house help needs a break or time off, or just isn’t feeling her best. And rather than paying salary and benefits for another employee, Ruby only charges for the time the virtual receptionist is involved.

Many of our clients utilize Ruby® Receptionists as a helpful and convenient back-up, including Oklahoma law firm Parman and Easterday.

Elizabeth Gillum, the firm’s Director of First Impressions, says, “The friendly and accommodating voice that consistently answers the phone and introduces themselves as ‘Ruby’ makes our callers feel confident that their issues and concerns are going to be taken care of. If our receptionist is in a meeting or away from her desk, and we are expecting an important call, we are completely comfortable knowing that Ruby Receptionists will be handling that call with professionalism, grace, and accuracy.”

She went on to say that “clients often ask about ‘Ruby’ and compliment her on her cheerfulness, helpfulness, and willingness to help them!”

Our friendly virtual receptionists thrive on being an extension of your team, working together with you and your staff to keep clients and customers happy. Want to find out more? Check out our helpful FAQ or post your question below!

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Oregon Business magazine announced last night that Ruby won #2 “Best Company to Work for in Oregon!” Almost 40 virtual receptionists and other staff members attended the event and used their normally soft, pleasant phone voices to cheer resoundingly when our name was called. Our second year making the list, this award is particularly meaningful to us because it’s based on surveys by employees themselves. We’d like to thank all of our employees for taking our Core Values to heart and making Ruby such a wonderful community! Special thanks also go out to the amazing clients we answer phones for — it’s a joy to be able to help so many businesses every day!

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Ruby Gems: March Anniversaries!

Reading time:

Congratulations to the six delightful Rubys celebrating anniversaries this month! Heather Q Brackett, one of our resident programmers, has been with Ruby® for a phenomenal five years! Cheerful and outgoing virtual receptionist Amanda S. is celebrating her second year while quick-witted Stefani V. has been a virtual receptionist at Ruby for three. We’re also glad that savvy virtual receptionists Amy W. and Ellen W. have both been brightening our studio for one whole year. And last, but certainly not least, one of Ruby’s first virtual receptionists and our current Billing Specialist, Paddy McCaffery-Allen, has been back with Ruby for one year. Here’s a quick glimpse into what what makes these ladies an ineffable part of Ruby Receptionists:

What’s your favorite part about working at Ruby?

Heather Q: I’ve been really lucky here at Ruby. They saw something in me, from the very beginning, and I got to become the “Ruby Programmer.” I learned all sorts of crazy things that I never thought I would be into. Ruby, as a whole, really believed in me and allowed me to flourish.

Ellen: Definitely the wonderful spirit that we have here. Everyone is cheery, fun loving, and creative. It’s really energizing.

Paddy: All the innovation. Whether it’s technology, the company culture, or the way departments are encouraged to grow and try new things, the progress Ruby has achieved is truly remarkable!

Amy: Ruby makes me feel supported and encourages me to be myself. The managers have helped me identify my strengths and work with me to use them in a team-oriented way. I have also learned a great deal about how to be professional without being stuffy!

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland?

Amanda: I’m in love with the community! As a virtual receptionist, I talk to a LOT of people from all over the country. And after “visiting” other states all day, I like coming home to Portland’s eclectic group of folks.

Ellen: There’s always something to do here — when the weather’s cold, there are lots of cheap movies and happy hours. When the weather is warm, there’s Sauvie Island and Multnomah Falls to visit. You get the best of both worlds here.

Stefani: Believe it or not, I love the rain!

Amy: I love the fact that it’s socially acceptable to dress up like a bee and ride my bike around! [See evidence from the Worst Day of the Year benefit bike ride above!]

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

Heather Q: I Do and Make. My life revolves around projects. Whether it’s working on my house, screen printing t-shirts or posters, painting, doing illustrations, working on a movie with my husband — it’s rare that I’m sitting still for very long. “Done is the engine of More” is my motto.

Amanda: I like to catch up with friends all over the city. I go to plays, concerts, happy hours — there is just so much to do around PDX! I recently found a warehouse where people practice Poi (a traditional form of New Zealand dance), contact juggling, aerial acrobatics, etc. Needless to say I’ve started contact juggling!

Stefani: I’m in school right now, so I’m usually studying my heart out when I’m not answering phones.

Paddy: I have a fantastic husband and three awesome kids. I love anything that has to do with them. Cooking and traveling to new places are pretty cool too!

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Ready to turn more callers into customers?

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.