We had so much fun with our local clients and friends at our open house last night! It’s so nice to be able to spend time with everyone face to face and chat; after all, Creating Community is one of our Core Values! It was a real treat getting to know our clients and vendors even better. We know that not all of our clients had the opportunity to come out last night (our virtual receptionist service serves businesses in virtually every state!), but hopefully these pictures will make you feel like you were right here with us:

Pete Krebs Trio
The Pete Krebs Trio jazzed the place up!

Special thanks to for providing yummy snacks, Deschutes Brewery for donating a keg of their special Chainbreaker White IPA (yum!), and MyBartender for serving our drinks and being so sweet throughout the planning process. We’d also like to give a shout out to the Pete Krebs Trio for providing snappy tunes for our shindig! And of course, thank you again to our clients for coming out and making the night truly special!

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Ruby®’s virtual receptionists are all about making life easier and happier for our clients and their callers. We’re more than a traditional answering service, and we like to show it by providing our clients with great call-handling options. Whether you’re looking for telephone answering help or already a happy Ruby customer, here are three ways our talented remote receptionists can transfer calls to you:

We can transfer calls without screening them. If you want to keep your receptionist minutes to a minimum, this is a great option. We’ll welcome every caller with the greeting of your choice, then politely connect callers to the person or department they’re seeking without screening the call. It goes a little something like this:

Receptionist: “Good afternoon. Thank you for calling ABC Company. How may I direct your call?”

Caller: “Hi, I’d like to speak to Peggy.”

Receptionist: “Certainly! I’ll connect you to Peggy’s line. Thank you!”

Then voilà! Our live virtual receptionist transfers the call to Peggy’s line!

We can screen and announce your calls. This is our most popular transfer style. We’ll screen your calls and offer them to you: “Hi, Peggy. This is Jane at Ruby. I have Jim on the line for you. Would you like the call?”

If you’re available, we’ll connect the call (and you’ll hear the supercool Ruby beep!). Or, if you would like the receptionist to go back to the caller to gather additional information before transferring, she would be happy to do so. If you’re unavailable or away from your phone, we’ll happily assist your caller by taking a message, or offering voicemail, or following other instructions of your choice.

We can offer your caller voicemail (or offer to take a message). As much as you would probably like to speak with every caller that phones in, there are bound to be situations that prevent you from doing so. If you’re in a meeting, traveling, buckling down to get a big project finished, or otherwise tied up, Ruby is happy to take a message or offer your caller voicemail.

Need a visual? We can help with that. 

You’re welcome to choose one transfer style for your entire company, or customize instructions for each employee or department — we want to make sure your calls are fielded just as you’d like them to be!

Have any questions about Ruby? We’d be thrilled to answer them! Give us a call at 866-611-7829, or drop us a line at hello@ruby.com!

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Virtual receptionists Marie, Lianne, and Mercedes
Rubys Marie (left), Lianne, and Mercedes at this year’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” awards

We’re proud to say that today’s guest poster is one of Ruby®‘s talented virtual receptionists, Marie!  

“How are you are so perky?” Ask any virtual receptionist at Ruby, and she will surely tell you of a time when a caller or client asked her this very question. Our usual response is something about copious amounts of coffee, but I wanted to give a more comprehensive answer to this fabulous question. Personally, I draw energy from three main sources: Positivity, Health, and Community.

Positivity

  • Language is a powerful tool. Replacing drab words like “ok” or “sure” with WOW words, like “absolutely!” “fantastic!” and “certainly!” makes callers feel more cared for, and their happiness reflect back to you.
  • Phrasing your sentences so that the caller knows what you CAN do keeps calls on the right track, and everyone stays up beat.
  • Keeping your tone of voice cheery and helpful can create a positive atmosphere. To do this, simply smile while you speak. You’ll find that your tone of voice perks up as your lips curve up!

Health

  • Knowing ergonomically correct posture keeps my energy flowing in a positive direction. OSHA is a great resource and offers many solutions that I’ve seen Ruby employing such as wrist rests.
  • Healthy snacking is another way I keep my energy levels up. We virtual receptionists know that talking on the phone and eating do not mix, so I make sure to have something munchable ready on each break.

Community

  • Creating Community is one of the Ruby Core Values, and it has been game-changer in my work experience. The little things my co-workers do for me can completely turn my day around. I was chipper for the rest of the morning after Lianne sent me this little guy!
    • Being friendly isn’t unprofessional! Personalized notes and emails are a great way to make someone feel appreciated, which makes everyone involved more cheerful! We received one of these e-cards from a client recently, and it made our day!
    • Lastly, I brighten my workspace with objects that make me smile. I keep special notes from my family and co-workers, along with a box of crayons for crafting fun cards:

What do you have at your desk that makes you smile throughout the day?

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Telephone etiquetteThe virtual receptionists at Ruby® love taking care of our callers and clients. Our telephone answering champs work hard to represent our clients well while giving callers the help they need, and that means setting reasonable expectations for callers. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be treating you to a few expectation setting tips. To kick things off, here’s our first receptionist etiquette tip for setting great caller expectations:  Avoid saying “She’s on the other line at the moment.”

This statement may be true, but letting your caller know the person they’re trying to reach is on the other line may cause the caller to infer that their call will be returned shortly, and that’s not always the case. Furthermore, saying “She’s on the other line,” may prompt your caller to say something like “Great! I’ll wait on hold until she’s off the phone,” which can be problematic for many reasons. Sure, she may be done with her current call in a minute or two, but who knows if she’ll be free to talk to your caller then?

If phone answering is part of your job, talk with your employer and decide on a standard response to use when she’s on the other line, away from the phone, or otherwise indisposed. Our remote receptionists like “She’s away from the phone at the moment.” Another good option: “She’s unavailable at the moment.” Both of these responses are best followed by an offer of assistance. Here’s one way our live virtual receptionists do it:

She’s away from the phone at the moment, but she’ll be happy to return your call. May I have your telephone number?

Do you have any telephone etiquette questions for the Ruby team? We’d love to take a shot at answering them! Share @callruby on Twitter!

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Virtual receptionist Mercedes drops a notecard in the mail!
Mercedes drops a notecard in the mail!

Ruby®‘s team of friendly virtual receptionists knows that a hand-written notecard can brighten the dreariest of days. As our own Problem Solver & Happiness Maker Kendra Neal, wrote in her post on How to Keep It Personal in a Virtual (Receptionist) World:

I can type at least 100 words per minute, but I can write about ten. A notecard says, ‘I sat down and thought about you in a meaningful way.‘”

In a busy day of phone answering and email checking, here are 5 reasons you may want to create a connection by sending a notecard:

  • When someone’s not feeling well. Tried and true, everyone appreciates a “Get Well” card when they’ve been ill. It might’ve been just a cold, in which case snail mail may drop off your well wishes after they’re better, but a surprise note letting them know you were thinking about them is always a happiness booster.
  • Congratulations! Births, weddings, and children’s graduations are always cause for celebration! Likewise, many small businesses use our virtual receptionist service, and when we hear that one of our clients has just won a big case or completed a special project, we like to applaud their hard work with a handwritten note.
  • Birthdays, of course! If you’re sending a birthday card to a client or coworker, and you know a lot of people would like to join in, try having everyone sign the same card; it’ll help organize the process, and the birthday boy or girl will get a nice ego boost!
  • When you’ve had a particularly good interaction. A follow-up notecard could be just what the doctor ordered to wow your colleague. How neat would it be to receive a card in the mail, amongst your bills, statements, and solicitation letters, that simply reads, “Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed speaking with you the other day!”?
  • Just because! Not every card has to be for a momentous occasion; if you notice that you haven’t heard from someone in a while, try sending them a card just to say hello!

See 10 more opportunities to send a handwritten notecard!

What’s your favorite way to create community with your colleagues and clients? Share your tips @callruby on Twitter!

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Photo by Nicholas Smale

We’re all about creating connections at Ruby®, so we thought we’d follow up on last week’s post about connecting with callers by giving you a few more tips from our virtual receptionist team. Our telephone answering pros don’t often have the opportunity for a long chat with callers, yet we routinely receive feedback about the positive impact our remote receptionists make on callers. How do we make a great impression in a short time? Here are three ways:

Look for an “in.” When a caller says something about him or herself, always acknowledge it, and never let a chance to offer help pass you by. Any opportunity to help your caller is an opportunity to connect! Here’s an example:

Caller: Will you let Susan know I’m going to be a bit late for my meeting? I’m having car trouble.

Receptionist: Certainly. Is there anything I can do to help? I’d be happy to call a cab for you, or help in any way I can. Car trouble is no fun!

Check in. Look for opportunities to ask friendly get-to-know-you questions of your callers. A great time to ask a friendly question is just after gathering a caller’s name: “Thank you, Kelly! How are you today?” Try adding an introduction to the mix: “Thank you, Kelly. I’m Jane. How are you today?”

Always accept an invitation for conversation. Callers who invite you to chat may be rare, which makes them all the more special. When a caller engages you by asking “How are you?” or the like, respond enthusiastically, and thank the caller for taking an interest in you: “I’m fantastic! Thank you so much for asking! How are you?” An added bonus: Even if you’re not having the best day, replying enthusiastically and smiling can boost your endorphins and actually turn your day around!

How do you connect with your callers during brief calls? We love comments — leave one and share your thoughts!

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Rubys' virtual receptionists supporting the Oregon Ducks football team!
Rubys sporting yellow and green in honor of Oregon Ducks football!

Here at Ruby®, we are all about getting to know our clients and Creating Community with everyone we interact with. We answer phones for companies across the nation and Canada, and we enjoy learning about their communities, industries, and businesses, so we thought we’d share a little bit more about where we live and why we’re proud to have our virtual receptionist service in Portland, Oregon.

7 fun facts about Portland:

  1. The Pacific Northwest is known for being green, which aligns well with Ruby’s sustainable business practices. Our office building is LEED certified, and we even have a Ruby Green Team!
  2. Among Portland’s many nicknames are Bridgetown, Stumptown, and the City of Roses.
  3. Portland was ranked the second most bike-friendly city in the world last year, second only to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We also have lots of alternative transportation options, including buses, a light rail system, and a streetcar that stops right outside the Ruby office.
  4. Portland’s home to the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, Powell’s Books. Ruby’s just a few blocks down the street!
  5. There’s a massive food cart culture here — over 200 carts city-wide! My personal fave is the Potato Champion; they have Belgian style fries — yum!
  6. Portland is a very crafty city (and many Rubys are avid knitters, jewelry makers, and artists), and birds are indeed a prevelant motif.
  7. Coffee, coffee, coffee! Like all good PacWesters, we can’t get enough. Local roasters, Stumptown Coffee and Nossa Familia keep our virtual receptionists bright and cheerful all day long.

I could go on and on! One of the great things about a virtual receptionist service is that it can be based anywhere, and the receptionists can sound like they’re right in your office, miles away; however, our cheerful virtual receptionist service is imbued with Portland’s vibrant, friendly culture, it’s no wonder we’re able to sound so happy!

Still curious? Check out this video by local creative agency Sockeye, for a virtual tour of Portland:

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Phone Tips: Connecting with Callers
Image via Wikipedia

Every member of our live virtual receptionist team is superb at fielding calls, but it’s the desire to connect with callers that makes us more than just an answering service. We answer lots of calls at Ruby®, and we know that no matter how brief a call may be, there’s always an opportunity to brighten a caller’s day. If you’re in the telephone answering game, we’d love to help you enrich your exchanges with callers.

You may just have a minute or two with each caller, but here are three ways to make those minutes count:

Kick off your call with an engaging question. 

When crafting your company’s greeting, we suggest including an offer of assistance like “How may I help you?” Asking a friendly question right off the bat shows your eagerness to help, and invites your caller to express any needs, ask any questions, or just chat. Plus, it sounds good!

Use your caller’s name.

You may not have the opportunity to learn a lot about your caller, but chances are you’ll learn one thing: the caller’s name. Why not use it? A simple “Thank you, Charlie,” or “I’m happy to help you with that, Kim,” does the job perfectly. While you’re at it, introduce yourself! “Thanks so much, Henry. My name is Jane. I’ll patch you through to Ms. Smith’s line now.”

Skip the “Hold” button.

When you need a moment to look up a phone number or reference a file, chat with your caller rather than placing the caller on hold. No need to rack your brain for clever conversation starters — standbys like “How are you today?” and “How’s your day going?” are great ways to connect with callers. It may be brief, but your conversation could make a big impact. A bit of friendly engagement might morph your caller’s mood from gloomy to great!

Got any tips for making a big impact on a short call? We’d love it if you’d share — Tweet us @callruby!

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Virtual receptionist registrationIt’s true! If you’re holding a seminar or other event, consider having our virtual receptionists take your reservation calls. Although we cannot keep a master list of who’s attending, if you always have spots open, we can absolutely take care of those time-consuming calls. And we can collect as much or as little information as you’d like. Perhaps you just need the names of those attending, or maybe you’d like a mailing address, too. Want to find out how your callers heard about your seminar and see how your marketing dollars are best spent? Our friendly and professional virtual receptionists can take messages specifically tailored to the details of your event — one of the many ways our virtual receptionist service is customizable to fit your needs!

We can also keep information about the event on-hand like driving directions to the venue and a few frequently asked questions. And of course, our virtual receptionists are happy to transfer anyone to you live who has more detailed questions (or is interested in signing up for your service right away!).

Current Ruby® client Anthony Albertino of Albertino Financial sums it up perfectly:

“I’ve told a few people how much I like this part of what you do for me. The best way to describe it is this: while I like to take a call from a new prospect to engage in a conversation, if it’s just the act of taking the reservation then Ruby does it better. Not every first time caller wants to talk; they really just want to reserve a seat and see what things are about before engaging. When I receive an RSVP message from Ruby, I know that it was done quickly, efficiently, and correctly!”

We couldn’t agree more! Handling your reservation and intake calls is just one more way our virtual receptionist service can make your days easier, happier, and more productive. And we only charge for the receptionist’s time involved — there are no additional fees for this service!

If this seems like it would help your business and give you some peace of mind while you prepare for your event, feel free to give us a call at 866-611-7829. We’d be delighted to help!

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