Telephone Tips: Conference Calls
Photo by Andres Rueda

The virtual receptionist team at Ruby® has helped you become a superb conference call participant, but what if you’re the host? First off, if you’re seeking a conference call service, we love FreeConferenceCall.com. Next, our telephone answering champs have a few solid tips for hosting a flawless conference call. Check them out!

Plan time for Q&A. Designating time for questions is a great way to limit interruptions. Let your participants know there’ll be Q&A time at the end of the presentation, or at various intervals throughout — whichever you prefer. It’s as easy as adding a helpful statement like these to your introduction:

“I’m happy to address any questions at the end of today’s presentation.”  

“I’ve set aside time for questions at the end of each segment.”

Interruptions? No problem! If a participant joins the call late, asks a question outside of Q&A time, or broaches a topic you’re about to cover, address the interruption quickly and continue with your presentation.

“Great question! I’ll be sure to answer it at the end of this segment.”

“Welcome to the call! I’ll be happy to get you caught up at the end of today’s presentation.”

“Great question! I’ll be addressing that topic in just a few minutes.”

Limit repetition. When a participant has questions about a topic you’ve already covered, offer to talk about it at the end of the presentation, or take it offline and address it in a one-on-one phone conversation or email. That way, you’re sure to cover the basics during the allotted time, and give additional information to any participants who want to learn a bit more.

Do you have any advice for conference call hosts? Our remote receptionist team would love to hear it! Please share your tips on Twitter @callruby!

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Each quarter, we like to add a bit of fun to our virtual receptionists’ days with an incentive campaign. These campaigns are based on our Core Values and tie into our company mission. I’ve already shared with you how we fostered happiness with our Random Acts of Happiness scratch ticket game. This quarter we are focusing on our Ruby value of “Creating Community” with our “Client Connections Bingo” game.

Virtual receptionist Amanda D and her winning bingo board!
Virtual receptionist Amanda D and her winning bingo board!

While anyone can connect calls to another line, we are in the business of connecting people. Ruby isn’t just any old answering service; we relish the chance to really get to know our clients and be a meaningful part of their day. And that’s what this quarter’s campaign is all about.

Over the next six weeks, our virtual receptionists will be embarking on a scavenger hunt, of sorts, to learn more about our clients. The bingo board is filled with actions that help create community with our clients — like sending notecards, making a caller laugh, or sharing stories with the team of all the great connections they have made. They will also be on the look out to learn more about our clients to help them get to know them a little better and maybe even find some interests in common! Each time they complete a task or learn a new fact, they get to cover a block in the bingo board and try for a trip to the bingo prize table!

How do you connect with your clients? Share your fun tips below!

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Ruby® has successfully partnered with the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC) to offer our top-notch virtual receptionist service to its members as an official Member Value Partner! The NAEPC encourages specialization programs to increase recognition and acceptance of estate planning as a specialty.

We look forward to supporting this beneficial organization and helping its members grow their businesses!

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Proper conference call etiquette
Photo by Jacob Botter

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ve probably picked up on a theme: our virtual receptionists are telephone etiquette pros! Got an upcoming conference call? These five tips from the remote receptionist team at Ruby® will help you keep your phone manners in shape!

Keep it down. Using your phone’s “mute” feature is a great way to ensure that any background noise on your end won’t distract other participants.

  • If you join late, don’t interrupt. Being a bit late isn’t the end of the world, but it can be jarring to other participants if you draw attention to yourself. Instead, click your phone’s “mute” button and listen from whatever point you join the call.
  • For questions and comments, wait for the all-clear. The conference host will likely invite questions and comments when the time is right. If the host doesn’t offer Q&A time, wait until the presentation is complete before speaking up.
  • Introduce yourself. When asking a question, begin by stating your name and company name. “Hi, this is Phoebe from Ruby Receptionists. I have a question about…” And don’t forget to take yourself off of “mute” first!
  • Catch up with class. If you joined late and have a question, make that clear when speaking up, and offer to take your question offline. “Hi, this is Phoebe from Ruby Receptionists. You may have already covered this — if so, I’d be happy to address this through email or another format. I have a question about…”

Have you hosted a conference call? We’re working on a post about conference call hosting tips, and we’d love your input!

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Turn lemons into lemonade
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If telephone answering is part of your job, odds are you’ll cross paths with a frustrated caller at least once. Although tough phone calls are certainly not the norm at Ruby® (who can resist a cheerful voice?), our virtual receptionist team is skilled at turning them around. We feel a frustrated caller is just a happy caller in disguise! Here are three mood-improving steps that work wonders on even the grumpiest of callers:

  • Step 1: Acknowledge your caller’s frustration. A few supportive words like I can see where you’re coming from or That sounds frustrating can go a long way. But don’t fake it — frustrated callers are great at sniffing out insincerity. If you don’t feel it, leave acknowledgment out.
  • Step 2: Offer Assistance. Your caller is probably frustrated because you can’t provide what they’re seeking. But there is always something you can provide, right? Offer it! Use helpful phrases beginning in Let me and I’d be happy to. While you’re at it, try framing your role: As the receptionist, I’d be happy to take a detailed message and read it back to you. I’ll be sure everyone on our tech support staff receives it.”
  • Step 3: Guide your caller. Here’s the clincher: always end with a question. Guiding a caller with questions keeps you in control of the call, and helps you gather any necessary information. Any polite question will do — just ask for whatever you need!

Let’s check out these three steps in action:

“That certainly sounds frustrating! Let me do what I can to help. As the receptionist, I’d be happy to take a detailed message and read it back to you, so we’re sure it’s conveyed as you’d like it to be. I’ll make sure everyone on our tech support staff knows you need assistance as soon as possible. What is the best telephone number for a return call?”

We just made the simple act of taking a message seem pretty impressive! Pair this routine with a pleasant tone of voice and a positive attitude, and you’re sure to make a good impression. When a frustrated caller crosses your path, remember this mantra from our live virtual receptionist crew: Acknowledge, assist, guide, repeat!

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Ruby’s Kickball Team Wins a Game!

Reading time:
The Ruby Death Squad kickball team
Celebration!

After three long summers of playing kickball and cheering our hearts out, the Ruby Death Squad has won its first game! Our team of virtual receptionists and friends of Ruby played a rousing game and was even able to shut out the other team for four innings.

The other team, comically called “A Drinking Team with a Kicking Problem,” played admirably (in pink tutus, no less!) and made a valiant comeback — but the Ruby crew was in it to win it! We had a lot of fun cheering each other on and our enthusiasm paid off. In the end, we had 13 runs for a final score of 11-13.

We always have a blast hanging out together after a day of phone answering, and kickball is a great chance to work as a team, be loud, and laugh till it hurts. Winning was just the icing on the cupcake! Here’s to the start of a fantastic season! Can’t wait to see where the rest of the season takes us!

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Photo by Jonathan Mueller

If you’re an ad exec or work for a creative agency these days, you may covet Don Draper of AMC Mad Men‘s coolness factor. He’s slick, he’s hip, he says all the right things. But let’s face it, he has a lot of help. Would he still be so mysterious and cool if he were answering his own phone? Or worse yet, if he were available 24/7 on his cell phone?

These days you don’t need an in-house pool of receptionists to help you achieve the professionalism and charm of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price; Ruby can help! Here are five ways a friendly virtual receptionist service can help your agency:

  • Appear more professional. Most of the time, people don’t expect to get the head honcho on the phone immediately. Since the time of switchboards, it’s become the norm to speak with an intermediary before reaching your desired party. You may not have the need or budget for an in-house receptionist, but with a virtual receptionist service like Ruby, your callers won’t know the difference!
  • Enhance your company’s image. With the technology available today, you may work with designers who are spread out all over the country. Whether you’re under one roof or work with a slew of remote employees, Ruby can present a unified image for your business. Every call is answered with the enthusiasm and care one would expect from a posh agency, at a fraction of the price of an on-site receptionist.
  • Work where you’re inspired. To get those artistic juices flowing, sometimes you need to break out of your normal routine. You may want to work one day at a local coffee shop, energized by the bustling crowds (and, of course, caffeine) and the next you may want to brainstorm in a park. With our handy whereabouts tool (and iPhone app!), our virtual receptionists are able to transfer calls to wherever you are.
  • Manage interruptions. Of course, you’d like to take calls when you can, but when you’re on a creative roll or stepping into an important meeting with a client, feel free to let our virtual receptionist team know. We’d be happy to hold your calls while you create your next Glo-Coat-like masterpiece.
  • Increase productivity. With our virtual receptionists as a resource, you’ll be able to manage your time more wisely. We can even make outbound calls on your behalf to relay information or confirm appointments! You can then block out your time to make the best use of your talent.

And since your virtual receptionist service is helping you be more productive…maybe you’ll have a little extra time to catch up on episodes of Mad Men!

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Photo by Stewart Chambers

At our virtual receptionist service, the Ruby® crew takes pride in being charming, friendly, and professional during every call. Our telephone answering connoisseurs usually chat with callers one-on-one, but we revel in the chance to wow a group of people when we receive the occasional speakerphone call. If you use a speakerphone often, try these four tips to add a little Ruby-style charm to your routine:

Ask first. Before placing someone on speakerphone, ask permission, and introduce anyone in earshot. “Would you mind if I put you on speakerphone? Tim and I are in the room, and I’d love for him to be a part of our conversation.” If the person you’re speaking with doesn’t wish to be placed on speakerphone, don’t put ‘em on speakerphone! It may not be the most convenient thing for you, but you’ll build rapport by respecting your colleague’s wishes.

Introduce. If you need to generate a call on speakerphone, always alert the person you’re calling right off the bat, and include an opt-out:

 “Hi, Susan! I have you on speakerphone because I am driving. Please let me know if you have any trouble hearing me.”

“Hi, Kevin! Claire and I are here, and we have you on speakerphone. If this is a bad time for you, just let us know!”

Broach the subject. If you receive a call and hear that telltale speakerphone echo, try inquiring with this polite question: “May I ask if I’m on speakerphone? I’d love to say hello to anyone who is part of the conversation!”

Limit background noise. When on the speaker-end of a speakerphone call, be mindful of any noise you create — if you’re rustling papers or moving about the room, you may sound like you’re not devoting your attention to the folks you’re chatting with.

Do you have any speakerphone etiquette tips to share with our phone answering team? Leave a comment below!

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Young asian barista open a glass door to welcome customers.He smile to welcome customers in a friendly way.

When potential clients call your business, you want to be sure they’re met with a friendly, helpful voice, like those of our virtual receptionists. How does the Ruby® team make a great impression every time? Here are three tips from our telephone answering experts:

Greet gracefully. As the phone answering pros at Ruby know, a greeting is an opportunity to present your company and yourself well, offer assistance to your caller, and extend a bit of friendliness and goodwill, all within a few seconds. Don’t discount the importance of the first words your callers hear — check out these tips for making a great greeting!

Deflect with style. When you answer the phone, you’re on the front line for answering callers’ questions. Knowing all the answers may not be a must, but knowing how to respond is. Keep a few helpful phrases like these in your arsenal, so you’re ready to respond to any query:

     “Great question! Let me find out for you.”

     “I’d be happy to find out for you!”

     “Great question! Let me put you in touch with the best person to answer it.”

Don’t go easy on “please” and “thank you.” Being polite is one of the simplest ways to make a great impression on your callers. Look for opportunities to say “please” and “thank you,” and try using exuberant words like “Wonderful!” “Absolutely!” and “Certainly!” instead of “sure” or “okay.” You may only have a few words to share with your caller, so make them count!

How do you wow your callers from word one? Share your tips by commenting below!

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How Ruby Receptionists Can Help with Productivity

Time is a coveted asset, no matter what industry you’re in. Ruby®‘s bright virtual receptionist team is able to prioritize calls so that you can make the most of your time. While there are some calls you just need to take, others can wait for a few hours. Following your preferences, our team of virtual receptionists can take different actions based on the type of call. Here are three such types of calls:

  • Potential new clients. The bread and butter of any business, new clients often take precedence. Our savvy virtual receptionists can try multiple lines to track you down for these important calls. For example, she can try your desk phone and then your cell phone, making sure that you’ll get the call even if you’ve stepped away from your desk.
  • Current clients. Perhaps you have a different system for contacting current clients and would rather we take messages for these callers. Our receptionists can take down helpful information in an email or text message so that you can look into their issue before making an informed return call.
  • Family and friends. We have many clients who like us to put their spouses and children through above all else. As long as they identify themselves as such (“Hi, this is Mary, Bill’s wife…“), our virtual receptionists will happily transfer these callers based on your instructions.

These are just a few of the different types of calls we get on a routine basis. Want to learn more about how a virtual receptionist can help you prioritize your day? Take our “What’s Your Phone Personality?” online quiz and learn what options best fit your needs.

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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 canceled 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. Some restrictions may apply.