Don't let a tricky call stump you!
Photo by tinyfroglet

The Ruby® Receptionists team fields lots of questions from callers each day. Many of them our virtual receptionist team can answer (with the help of client-provided FAQs), but some could leave even an in-house receptionist stumped. Although a Ruby phone answering pro may not always have an answer on the tip of her tongue, she’s always ready with a helpful reply.

The next time a caller asks you a tricky question, try using these magic words: let me and I’ll be happy to.

Ruby rule: When we don’t have the answer you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it. Being a stellar receptionist isn’t about knowing all the answers — it’s about helping callers find the info they seek. Beginning a reply with the words “let me” or “I’ll be happy to” lets callers know you’re on board and ready to assist them.

The key to using “let me” and “I’ll be happy to” is to use them instead of negative phrases like “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.” The fact that you don’t know or aren’t sure isn’t important to your caller. Your desire to help is, so let it show!

When you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s second nature to reply with “I don’t know,” but it’s a habit worth breaking. Check out this exchange:

Caller: What’s Jim’s email address?

Receptionist: I don’t know.

Ouch! That receptionist sure doesn’t sound helpful. Let’s try that again:

Caller: What’s Jim’s email address?

Receptionist: Let me find out!

The “let me” reply is a world apart. Positive replies beginning in “let me” and “I’ll be happy to” are the perfect segue into finding a caller’s answer. What’s more, these great starters work wonders in lots of situations — you don’t have to save them for your next phone call! There are many more like them, too: I can, I’d love to, I’ll be sure to, and the list goes on. The key is to resist the urge to say you “don’t know,” and dive in to finding out.

What helpful phrases do you use on the phone? Share by commenting on this post!

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Our virtual receptionists are great at knowing what to say to make a caller’s day, and they’re also pros at knowing what not to say. At Ruby®, we love sharing our telephone answering knowledge!

If fielding phone calls is part of your job, the Ruby team suggests avoiding these five phrases:

“I can’t.”

As a receptionist, you want to help your callers get to where they need to go, and “I can’t” is a dead end. Even if you can’t do exactly what your caller asks, you can provide some kind of help. Think of what you can do, and offer to do it. Instead of this…

Caller: I need to reset my online password. Can you help me with that?

Receptionist: I can’t. I’ll connect you with our tech support department.

…get rid of “I can’t” and move on to the good stuff.

Receptionist: Let me put you in touch with our tech support department. They’ll be happy to help you with that.

I don’t know.

You may not have the answer to your caller’s question, but saying “I don’t know” gets you nowhere. Bypass “I don’t know” and move on to the next part: putting the caller in touch with someone who does know.

“Great question! Diana in our sales department will be happy to answer it. Let me put you in touch with her.”

“That’s a good question! Let me find the best person to answer it.”

She/he is on the other line.

Although it may be true, telling your caller that “Ms. Smith is on the other line” can cause trouble. Your caller may infer that Ms. Smith will return the call as soon as she’s off that other line, and that may not be true. Another potential hitch: your caller might ask to wait on hold until Ms. Smith is available, and if you’re not sure Ms. Smith wants to talk to your caller as soon as she’s free, things can get tricky.

Hold, please.

Sure, you’re going to need to place callers on hold from time to time, but it’s best to ask permission first. Rather than “Hold, please,” go with “May I place you on hold for a moment?” Our live virtual receptionist team always asks first, and when a caller declines to be placed on hold, we don’t press the Hold key.

Just a sec.

This phrase is a little informal. Trade “Just a sec” in for the classic, classier “One moment, please,” and let your professionalism shine!

Not sure your call-handling is up to snuff? Not sure if you care? Discover the ROI of personal connections in our free guide!

Free guide: The ROI of Personal Connections

 

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First impressions when answering the phone
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The virtual receptionist crew at Ruby® shared some tips for creating a standout company greeting in a previous post, and today, we’ve got a few more thoughts on this popular topic. Our telephone answering pros recommend ending a greeting with a friendly question that offers assistance. If you’re crafting a greeting and looking for the best way to show callers you’re ready to help, here are some welcoming words to consider:

  • How may I help you? This standby is a wonderful way to invite questions and comments from callers. If your phone answering team loves fielding questions and chatting with callers, consider wrapping up your greeting with these friendly words. Just because it’s a common part of many greeting doesn’t mean it’s ineffective — asking “How may I help you?”  lets callers know you’re on their side and ready to lend a hand, and that’s great news for them!
  • How may I direct your call? This question allows your phone answering team to speedily route calls where they need to go. If you’re a Ruby client hoping to reduce your receptionists minutes, this offer of assistance may help, because it politely prompts callers to give our live virtual receptionists the info they need to direct each call quickly. Looking for tech support? Have a question about your bill? Calling to chat with a salesperson? Callers need only say the word, and the Ruby crew will get each one to the right place.
  • A custom question, like How can I make you smile today? Customizing every element of your greeting can be a great way to make your company stand out among competitors. Your greeting may be a potential client’s initial impression of your company, so why not use the first words of each phone call to make that impression a lasting one? If you feel like being quirky, funny, or extra-engaging with callers, a custom question might be the ticket.

Can you think of any company greetings that stand out to you? What do you think makes a greeting great? We love comments — share your thoughts by posting one!

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Welcome gift
A welcome gift can also set the stage for a great first day!

We’re all about great first impressions at Ruby®, and making every new member of our virtual receptionist team feel welcome on day one is especially important to us. If you work one-on-one with a new hire, you have a great opportunity to establish a connection from the get-go. But you don’t have to be a new employee’s trainer or manager to connect — in fact, it takes just a minute or two to make a positive impression.

Here are three easy ways to welcome the latest addition to your office:

Say more than “Hello.” When you’re introduced to a new employee, don’t stop at “It’s nice to meet you!” Try asking a get-to-know-you question or two when you meet. Anything that sparks a bit of dialogue will do — it can be as simple as asking “How is your first day going?” or “What do you think of the office?” You may be having a busy morning, but take a moment to learn a little about your new teammate. A quick conversation will establish rapport and help the new employee remember your name.

Offer to help. Being the new kid on the block isn’t easy, but you can help put a new employee at ease by letting your teammate know you’re happy to lend a hand. You don’t have to offer anything grand to show you care. Here are some examples:

“If you have any trouble with the copy machine, I’d be happy to help you!”

“Let me know if you’re looking for good restaurants nearby for lunch!”

“If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know!”

Check in. After you’ve met, make a follow-up visit to your new teammate. It’s as easy as swinging by your newbie’s desk to say hello and chat a bit. This is a great opportunity to offer help, if you haven’t had a chance yet. A quick conversation will mean a lot to your teammate, and ease new-hire jitters. You might just get a new friend out of the deal, to boot!

How do you and your teammates welcome new employees? Comment below with your suggestions!

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Good mood tips
Amanda D.

For this Friday’s “Ask a Virtual Receptionist!” feature, we thought we’d shake things up a bit. For the most part, we’ve been answering questions about how our virtual receptionist team handles tricky questions politely and professionally or about how they’re able to sound like they’re sitting in your office, miles away.

Another thing our virtual receptionist service is known for is our ability to sound incredibly cheerful over the phone. In fact, virtual receptionist Marie R. recently wrote a guest post on her good mood tips for long days, so I thought I’d ask another receptionist her thoughts on the subject.

Today, I picked virtual receptionist Amanda D.’s brain and asked her, “What’s your best advice for sounding cheerful on the phone?”

Amanda D.: “I like to smile as I’m talking; it instantly puts you in a good mood, and the client can hear the happiness in your voice. Also, asking someone a genuine, ‘How are you doing today?’ does wonders for creating a special bond. It opens up the door to more conversation and the ability to learn more about the client or caller!”

What’s your favorite way to boost your mood throughout the day? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Tweet us @callruby.

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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 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.