Ruby CEO Jill Nelson, Sales Associate Ashley Fisher, Director of Marketing Kevin Gillam, and I are in the Windy City for the annual ABA TECHSHOW! Delighted that many of our clients are in attendance — a few are even on the faculty — and we’re thrilled to be able to finally meet them in person after speaking on the phone so many times!
Ashley and I are the friendly faces at booth #513 in the Exhibit Hall if you’d like to stop by and say hello! Or message us on Twitter — we’d love to meet up!
Ruby’s video, produced by innovative branding agency Sockeye, has won an Oregon ADDY® award in the internet commercial category! The video portrays Ruby’s unique vision of customer service: creating meaningful, personal connections in a virtual world. Featuring both animation and documentary-style video, it shows an animated portrayal of a typical call — complete with a real receptionist as the voice of Ruby — and the testimonial portion features Ruby clients and several of our virtual receptionists. Watch the award-winning video on our homepage or on YouTube!
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Being a standout receptionist is not only easier than it might seem, but as the live virtual receptionist team at Ruby® knows, it’s incredibly rewarding. Our telephone answering experts love finding little ways to connect with callers, and provide the best possible call experience.
If you’re looking to do the same, here are four habits to add to your phone repertoire:
Repeat your caller’s name.
As soon as you catch a caller’s name, say it back to ’em. Using a caller’s name is a great way to show you’re listening, and it creates instant rapport. A simple “Thank you, Karen!” does the job perfectly, and if you want to go the extra mile in engaging your caller, add a friendly question: “Thank you, Karen! How are you today?” They may not seem like much, but those seven little words might just make your caller’s day!
Make the most of caller ID.
Got a crackly connection? Not sure how to spell your caller’s name? Didn’t catch the last digit of that phone number? Check caller ID — if what you see is similar to what your caller said, you’ve got a good jumping-off point. Caller ID info isn’t a reliable replacement for basic questions like May I ask who is calling? and May I have your number?, but it’s a helpful tool when your conversation isn’t crystal clear.
Check your work.
Always read phone numbers back to callers when taking messages — it’s the easiest way to confirm you’ve taken a number down correctly, and it reassures the caller that the person they’re trying to reach will be able to return the call. The same goes for email addresses, web addresses, and physical addresses. Read all contact info back for confirmation, and use a spelling alphabet to confirm any tricky letters.
Don’t miss out on manners.
Say “please” and “thank you,” and say them often. When you’re thanked, reply with a heartfelt “You’re welcome!” And if your caller is kind enough to ask how you’re doing, show your appreciation, then do the same: “Thanks so much for asking, Karen! I’m having a great day. How about you?”
“Yeah runnin’ down a dream that never would come to me; workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads. Runnin’ down a dream….”
Every morning at 10:10, the Ruby Leadership Team and support staff file into our “Innovate” conference room to the rockin’ tunes of Tom Petty and begin our daily 10-minute standing meeting. As leadership expert (and Ruby client!) Verne Harnish outlines in his book Rockefeller Habits, we go around the room and say what our day looks like — keeping everyone informed of meetings, service upgrades and changes, and marketing efforts, with plenty of personal triumphs and announcements, sprinkled in. We also invite 2 receptionists to join us, alternating who attends so that all of our receptionists get to attend the huddle at least once a month.
After going around the room, we look at our KPIs; as you know, we love looking at our call data! We monitor client metrics so we are always cognizant of how fast our virtual receptionist service is growing and when we need to hire the next receptionist, Problem Solver & Happiness Maker, or salesperson. We also look at receptionist metrics such as today’s attendence and how many minutes on average per receptionist the day before; we like to keep our staff happy and stree-free (we weren’t named the #3 best medium-sized business to work for for nothing!), so it’s important to keep these stats top-of-mind.
After looking at all our metrics, we add our own little twist to the daily huddle with “The Finish Line.” One one side of the whiteboard, we jot down large projects we’re working on — anything outside of normal business that could easily get pushed down your to do list if you’re not careful.
For example, we’re attending the ABA TECHSHOW 2012 at the end of March (let us know if you’re attending; we’d love to meet up!). I’m gathering the materials we’d like to bring — pens, handouts, testimonials, etc. — and it would be easy to focus on the day-to-day and put it off, but since I’ve written my project on the whiteboard, in front of all my fellow Rubys, everything will be ready to print and box up tomorrow!
Once a task is completed, we move it over to the other side of the board, usually with a flourish and round of applause. The daily huddle and Finish Line are great motivaters, and they’re fantastic for taking a moment and celebrating successes!
Do you hold a daily huddle at your office? What are your tips and tricks to making it fun and inspiring? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
We love data. And we’re kind of obsessed with KPIs. We keep tabs on call volume, call times, and a range of other metrics so that we can plan for the best virtual receptionist staffing throughout the day, ensure that our clients’ calls are answered promptly (within 4 seconds, on average!) and keep our virtual receptionists happy and stress-free. If you’d like to geek out with us for a moment, we thought we’d share a little about the over-arching trends we’ve noticed.
Below are a few graphs of Ruby’s clients’ total call volume and what we’ve extrapolated from patterns over time.
(Large dips are major holidays when we’re closed like Thanksgiving and Christmas)
People work less (or at least call businesses less often) during December. People take more vacations towards the end of the year, so it makes sense that call volume would start to drop off after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Folks are back in action on the first business day after New Year’s. The skinny sliver at the end of the graph above is the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the lowest call volume of the year. Possibly a testament to strong resolutions, the first business day after January 1st marks the largest jump in call volume all year, and things steadily ramp up again until November.
People work much harder the week following a working holiday. The large dip on the graph above shows President’s Day last month; more people called the day after than on a typical Tuesday, and usually the call volume stays above normal for the rest of the week.
People work hardest on Monday and Tuesdays. Ruby clients tend to receive the most calls at the beginning of the week. Conversely, Friday is the least busy day — perhaps because folks are finishing projects and saving their phone calls for Monday.
We get a little giddy looking at all of our data and love thinking about the larger trends behind the peaks and valleys — we hope you had just as much fun taking a peek behind the Ruby curtain!
Our third year on the list, our virtual receptionist service earned the #3 spot on Oregon Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon” list. Fifty of our virtual receptionists and staff attended the event and proudly marched on stage to accept the award. We were also honored to be named second in the categories of “Management and Communications” and “Decision-Making and Trust.” We’re extremely thankful for all the hard-work and creativity that everyone brings to Ruby and are grateful to have such wonderful clients who make this such a special place to come to work!
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Last night, a group of 50 of our virtual receptionists and staff took the Oregon Convention Center by storm to celebrate at the Oregon Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon” awards dinner. It was Ruby’s third year to make the list and as always, we brought our Ruby enthusiasm to the party!
We are so proud to tell you that our virtual receptionist service was named the #3 best medium-sized company to work for in the state of Oregon!
This award is one that we really hold near and dear to our hearts, because it is in large part based on a survey of our employees. It really means the world to us to know that we are achieving the mission of our Core Values and creating a happy work environment for our team. We are honored to learn we were #2 in the categories of Management and Communications and Decision-Making and Trust. It’s definitely a testament to the fabulous managers and leadership here at Ruby, and we are lucky to have them on our team!
We are always striving to be better for our employees. We stepped up our game this year with some awesome new benefits. We added a six-week paid maternity and paternity leave, our “Five at Five” paid sabbatical program, increased the amount of paid time off for our staff (by a whole extra week!), and expanded our wellness program. So, what’s next for the Ruby team? The sky is the limit!
The virtual receptionist team at Ruby® knows that the easier we make things for our callers, the happier our callers will be, and nothing delights us like happy callers! When collecting information from callers, we’ve found it’s not the number of questions we ask, but how we ask them that counts.
With just a few first-rate questions, you can meet your callers’ needs and gather accurate information, Ruby style! Here’s how:
Give your caller an assist.
Rather than making callers do all the work, meet them in the middle by asking quality questions. Instead of “How is that spelled?” or “Would you spell that for me?” prompt callers with your best guess: “Nichols – is that N as in November, – I – C – H – O – L – S?” If your guess is right on, you’ve made your caller’s response super simple: “Yes!” And even if you’re a little off, you’ve shown your caller you’re listening, and that you’re dedicated to getting things right. Our phone answering pros like keeping a spelling alphabet handy for confirming similar-sounding letters.
Use your clues.
When confirming information, take a moment to glance at caller ID. This is especially helpful when your caller has a name or company name you’re not familiar with, or if you’re having trouble hearing your caller. If the name or company name shown on caller ID sound like the one your caller has given you, you’re in luck! Caller ID might not be 100% accurate 100% of the time, but it can be a great jumping-off point.
Know when not to ask questions.
Every good receptionist strives for accuracy, but even the best virtual receptionist may be a bit bothersome to callers if she asks too many questions. When you’re screening a call before transferring, limit the number of questions you ask; a simple question like: “May I ask who is calling?” may prompt a response with just what your teammate needs in order to decide whether to take the call. We recommend skipping verifying spelling or asking a lot of additional questions when screening a call — wait until you’re taking a message to bring out the big guns.
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.