Photo by Michael Pujas

There are lots of cool new features on the horizon for Ruby® Receptionists’ virtual receptionist service, but be sure to keep an ear out for one in particular: the beep! Starting May 1st, when one of our friendly live virtual receptionists transfers a call, you will hear a beep when your caller is on the line. Callers won’t hear it, but you’ll be able to launch right into your conversation!

Here’s an example of what you’ll hear next week when our phone answering pros transfer calls to you live:

Ruby: Hi, John! This is Katie with Ruby. I have Phillip on the line; he’s a potential new client! Would you like to take the call?

Client: I’d love to chat with him!

Ruby: Great! Here’s your caller!

   Beep!

Client: Hi Phillip! This is John. How may I help you?

Quick, seamless, and you’re ready to go!

We’ve already heard from clients how much they’re looking forward to this small change. We were thrilled when Lanehart Paint let us know via Twitter: “@callruby we are excited about the new features. The “beep” is going over BIG here at the office. Can’t wait.” We can’t wait to see how this small addition will make our friendly, seamless virtual receptionist service even better for callers and clients alike!

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Michael Reynolds, CEO of Spinweb
Michael Reynolds

Guest blogger, and Ruby clientMichael Reynolds is President/CEO of SpinWeb, a professional website design, website development, and online marketing firm located in the beautiful city of Indianapolis, Indiana. SpinWeb specializes in non-profit website design and corporate website design, as well as content marketing strategies. Michael is also an Internet marketing speaker and gives regular presentations on marketing, technology, and social media. Michael loves tennis, sushi, and all things Apple.

Running a business means opening your brand, your team, and yourself to scrutiny. As a business owner, your goal is to serve your customers, make them happy, and be profitable.

Social media allows your customers to connect with you in ways that were not possible before. With the click of a mouse or a smart phone, your customers can send you real-time feedback on how you are doing. What is even more significant is the fact that they can also share their opinions with hundreds, or even thousands of people at once.

Scary? Perhaps. But smart business owners will see this as an opportunity to improve service, strengthen the company’s brand, and increase loyalty.

So what do you do when a customer gives you feedback via Twitter or Facebook, or your blog?

Respond.

A common theme in social media is “your customers will talk about you whether you are there or not.” Just because you are not actively using social media does not mean your customers won’t talk about you. If you are actively engaged, however, you will have the opportunity to respond. When a customer give you feedback by posting a comment on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account, it’s important to respond and show that there is a real person behind the brand. If you don’t, it makes your company look disengaged and apathetic. Be sure to monitor your brand online to keep track of who is talking about you.

Tell your team about it.

When you get positive feedback via social media, not only is it important to respond, but it’s also a great idea to let your team know. It feels good to get positive feedback from your customers and helps your team see that the work they are doing pays off and is makes your customers happy. On the flip side, if you get negative feedback, use it as an opportunity to help your team see what areas of your business need improvement.

Take the high road.

It’s always frustrating to get negative feedback, especially in social media where everyone can see it. Though it can be tempting to fight back and express your frustration publicly, this almost always ends in disaster, as Nestle found out last year. Always respond with a polite, professional tone and keep the discussion focused on the issue. Try to figure out what has made your customer upset and do whatever you can to fix the issue. Even if it’s not your fault, remain calm and continue to work toward resolving the problem. Never personally attack a customer or use sarcasm to respond to negative feedback. Stay positive and your company will look professional and helpful, which will earn you goodwill.

Hiding from customer feedback in social media is not really a viable option, so it’s a good idea to embrace the idea and participate as much as possible. Be ready to respond, reward your team for positive feedback, and understand how to handle negative feedback. Remember, thousands of people are potentially watching every conversation between you and your customers on social media so a positive and professional approach will strengthen your brand and may just grow your business, as well.

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We are thrilled to be launching our customized communications platform on May 1st! We worked with KRP Communications to select Interactive Intelligence‘s Customer Interaction Center software, and the brilliant programmers at CSG Professional Services worked diligently to customize it to best enhance Ruby’s unique virtual receptionist service. With this flexible new platform, we’ll be able to offer even more features to clients. We partnered with software company Sembit to update our handy iPhone app and to develop an expanded, newly mobile-friendly Member Services Area where, among other things, Droid and Blackberry users may easily update their whereabouts on the fly. We’re looking forward to seeing how all these new features make our clients’ lives easier!

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We at Ruby are excited to be featured in The Oregonian for our virtual receptionist service’s green business practicesThe Oregonian profiled us in honor of Earth Day, especially noting the dedication to the small things we do every day that make a big difference in the environment. Thank you to all at Ruby who take advantage of our Alternative Transportation program, use reusable dishware, recycle, and do all the things that make us one of the “100 Best Green Companies to Work For!”

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If you answer phones like our team of live virtual receptionists, you probably field a lot of questions each workday. Here at Ruby®, we know that no matter how complex a question is, there’s always a friendly, professional way to respond. And here’s the best part: you don’t even need to know the answer to a question in order to respond with confidence. Is this magic? Nope — all you need to be confident in your call-handling skills are a few solid multi-purpose responses. Want to learn how to field any question without flinching? Take a gander at these riveting replies from the Ruby playbook!

When it’s a basic question, but you need a moment to find the answer:

  • Great question! Let me find the answer for you.
  • I’d be happy to find out. Would you mind holding for a moment?

When you don’t know the answer, but you know who does:

  • Great question! Let me put you in touch with Susan — she’ll be happy to answer it.
  • Tim would be the best person to help you. He’ll be happy to return your call. May I have your telephone number?

When you don’t know the answer, and you’re not sure who does:

  • Great question! Let me find the best person to answer it.
  • Great question! I’ll find the best person to answer it, and have that person return your call. May I have your telephone number?

When the question is about someone’s whereabouts or schedule, such as “When will he be back in the office?” or “When can I meet with her?”:

  • He keeps his own schedule, but I’ll be sure to have him return your call as soon as possible. May I have your telephone number?
  • She keeps her own schedule, but she’ll be happy to return your call and set up an appointment. May I have your telephone number?

When your caller presses you for information you don’t have:

  • I would hate to give you any misinformation. Susan is the best person to answer your questions, and she’ll be happy to talk with you. May I have your telephone number, so Susan can return your call?
  • Our attorney will be happy to help you — I would hate to give you any misinformation. Let me try to reach her for you.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting your first answering service job or you’ve been fielding calls for fifty years — anyone can shine like a Ruby by using variations of these great replies! We hope these examples boost your phone answering confidence. Do you have any tips for fielding tricky questions? We’d love to hear them!

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Ruby Walks for Autism Awareness!

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Yesterday a group of Ruby®‘s virtual receptionists, staff managers, and friends walked to raise awareness for autism in the 9th Annual Autism Walk-a-Thon. As you may know, April is National Autism Awareness Month, and it’s a cause close to our staff’s hearts. One of our effervescent staff managers, Ang Gray, has a rambunctious little girl named Piper who was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. For the third year in a row, Rubys enthusiastically gathered together to support Ang, Piper, and this worthwhile cause. Here are a few photos from the beautiful spring day:

Ang, Piper, and Piper's friend enjoying the sunshine
Ang, Piper, and Piper’s friend enjoying the sunshine

Piper (right) and her friend had a ball!
Piper (right) and her friend had a ball!

Janel and Jewel walking the walk!
Janel and Jewel walking the walk!

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We recently had a poll on the Ruby® Facebook page and asked which question you’d like to see next on “Ask a Virtual Receptionist!” Without further ado, this week’s question is: What would you say if someone asked about the company’s pricing? Virtual receptionist Jami R. took on the challenge!

Did you know that you can provide us with a short list of FAQs? For example, attorneys might tell us whether they offer free consultations and what their per hour rates are, so that the receptionist can easily relay the answer at a glance. We’d also be happy to include a price list for our receptionists to quote ballpark figures.

However, if we don’t have this info on-hand, or if you’d prefer to quote prices yourself, our whip-smart virtual receptionists have a professional, helpful response at the ready!

Virtual Receptionist Jami R.
Virtual Receptionist Jami R.

Going off the attorney example, what would Jami say if a caller asked about rates?

Jami: I would relay to the caller, “The attorney prefers to answer any questions pertaining to rates and fees himself. One moment while I try his line.”

Not a lawyer? No sweat — Jami has an answer for that, too!

Jami: If the company is not a law firm, I would scan the account for the person who takes new inquiry calls. I would then tell the caller, “So-and-so is the best person to assist you with that question. One moment while I ring their line.”

As Jami said herself, “No matter what the question is- Ruby will find the answer! (Or at least direct you to the answer!)”

Keep your eye out for our next “Ask a Virtual Receptionist!” feature where we ask receptionist Lauren O., “When can I expect a return call?”

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Rubys Heather Q and Taylor
Rubys Heather Q (seen modeling her new Arth hat) and Taylor

In preparation for our virtual receptionists’ big switch to the new Ruby platform, we sent our trusty Programmer Heather Q Brackett and Taylor Ramsauer in our IT department down to Irvine, CA for a week-long training at Interactive Intelligence‘s office. While they were there, they soaked up all there is to know about the new phone system and became our resident experts for the transition in the next couple of months.

While we’ll be sharing more details about the new system launch in the coming weeks, we thought we’d share a cultural highlight from their week away. Taking a break from supersonic, telephonic studying, and being the gregarious Rubys that they are, they happened upon a local charity sample sale put on by Arth and were lucky enough to be included in the event wrap-up on their blog. 100% of the profits from Arth’s designer hat sale went to Japan through the American Red Cross, and they raised almost $1,500 total for the cause!

If you’d like to donate to disaster relief in Japan and support this incredibly important cause, please visit the American Red Cross.

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Ruby Gems: April Anniversaries!

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We have some truly great Ruby®s celebrating anniversaries this month — and that’s no April Fool’s Day joke! Client Services Associate Kate Carroll and virtual receptionists Emily B. and Kim K. found their ways to Ruby one year ago. Receptionist Team Lead Holly S. and Director of Sales and Marketing Diana Stepleton are both celebrating their second year, and Charlene Huwe in Human Resources has been at Ruby for 5 whole years! Congratulations, ladies! A little more about these inspiring Rubys…

What’s your favorite part about working at Ruby?

Kate: The people I get to work with every day. From my coworkers to our clients, everyone is so friendly and wonderful that I can’t help but love my job!

Emily: The environment is so warm and welcoming, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face. I also love working at Ruby because they recognize our strengths and encourage that we use them on a daily basis.

Diana: I especially love getting to know our new clients. It’s so rewarding to help small business owners, and it makes me proud every time someone tells me they’ve heard delightful things about our virtual receptionist service!

Holly S.: My co-workers, without a doubt! The community at Ruby is amazing, and we do what we can to support each other in and out of the workplace. This is a company that recognizes the importance of the connections we make with each other, and it is incredible to see how that manifests. For example, the other day I commented to Lianne [a fellow virtual receptionist] that I liked a cowell I saw in a store, so she knitted me one, just like that!

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland?

Kim: I love that Portland has a great sense of community. I think that the phrase “collaboration is the new competition” reflects what Portland is all about.

Charlene: It’s beautiful! We have lots of parks throughout the city and more trees than you’d normally think a city would have. Plus, we’re close to the mountains and the ocean.

Diana: Having a great network of family and friends around… and the great restaurants!

Holly S.: The culture, the music, the food, the bike lanes… But to me the best thing about Portland is the amazing landscapes that surround us — I’m talking about canyons, waterfalls, sea stacks, volcanoes. We have the makings of adventure all around us!

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

Kim: I love to spend time walking around my neighborhood in NW Portland with a cup of coffee. I’m also working on launching my own jewelry line.

Charlene: In the summer, I like to go camping with my husband and our friends. We love to host dinner parties and entertain guests at our house throughout the year.

Kate: I spend most of my time with my friends and my pup. I try to spend as much time outside as possible, though I’m much more likely to in the sunshine.

Emily: Spending time with my boyfriend, cooking, karaoke, writing poetry, and shopping — these are a few of my favorite things!

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Sales Support
Legal_Final

The Secret to Successful Law Firms

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

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

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.