On Friday, a group of our fabulous virtual receptionists stepped out to celebrate with Dress for Success’s annual fundraising dinner and fashion show! We we were thrilled to sponsor a table at the event, and we enjoyed meeting some extraordinary people, hearing lots of heartwarming stories, and checking out some out fashion from local designers.
As a company primarily made up of women, Dress for Success is an organization near and dear to our hearts. Not only that, our own receptionist extraodinaire, Emily B., came to Ruby two years ago through the support of Dress for Success, and we could not be more proud to have her as part of our team! She’s wonderful to work with, a delight on the phone, and is a large part of what got us involved with this great organization!
This was our second year sponsoring a table at Celebrate Success, and recently our CEO, Jill Nelson, was honored to speak at their “Going Places Network” series about keeping a positive outlook during the job search.
To learn more about Dress for Success or make a donation, check out their website!
Missed calls are missed opportunities to engage potential clients and create a lasting impression for your business. Providing the best possible customer service for every caller will set you apart from competing firms—if you can manage to answer those calls to begin with.
That’s why financial planners have started embracing answering services. A team of professional receptionists, customizing their knowledge base and language for your business and clients, will enhance customer service at a fraction of the cost for in-house employees.
Answering service agents make stellar first impressions.
Your days may be full of back-to-back meetings and scheduled calls; who greets your clients: a cold, impersonal voicemail box or a welcoming, friendly, live person? The virtual receptionists at an answering service will promptly answer your calls and can even answer basic FAQs about your firm.
Financial planners focus on financial planning (without distraction).
When you’re plugging away on something that requires a high level of concentration, an interruption like a phone call can interfere with your workflow and may increase the time it takes to finish your project by a factor of 25(!). You can update your availability at any time via email, phone, our free iPhone app, or mobile-friendly Member Services Area. This can be anything from, “Hold my calls until 1:00,” to “In a meeting from 9–10:00,” to “Working from home; transfer calls there”—it’s like giving us a virtual tap on the shoulder!
Answering service agents do more than answer phones.
Virtual receptionists can also perform different actions based on the type of call. For example, they can…
Ask potential clients how they heard about you and what services they’re interested in
Track you down for urgent calls or only take messages for current clients
Compile contact data for lead conversion
Answer standard questions for callers so you can focus on higher-order inquiries
How a receptionist handles calls is entirely up to you.
Planners can take breaks without missing anything important.
You don’t have to be chained to your desk, waiting for the phone to ring; our virtual receptionist team can transfer calls to you wherever you are, whenever you like. When you can’t or don’t want to be reached, an answering service can email and/or text your messages to you immediately, so you’re always in the loop.
Explore your answering service options.
At Ruby, we love working with financial planners; after six years of answering calls for investment advisory firm Chartered Advisory Group, we asked Bob Pedrick what he thought of Ruby. Here’s what he said:
Ruby brings extraordinary value and efficiency to our practice. When our clients call, a super nice person – not a machine – answers the phone and is able to connect that client to us no matter where we are. Ruby works 13 hours a day during the week, never gets sick, never takes a day off, never complains, and can handle as much call volume as you can throw at her for a price you just have to see to believe.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with solo attorney Anthony Bompiani for the past 3 years. In addition to his successful law practice, Anthony is currently presenting CLEs throughout Pennsylvania for several county bar associations, particularly focusing on using technology in law. Subjects include smartphones, eReaders, apps, social media, as well as our live virtual receptionist service!
We chatted with Anthony and asked him about his solo practice, ways to improve productivity with tech, and how he’s able to balance work with raising a family.
I started Bompiani Law Group LLC in January of 2009. Right now I have two offices – one in Youngwood and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’m currently serving clients in 6 Counties in Southwestern PA. The practice focuses on criminal defense, family law, and personal injury.
You were named one of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 in 2011 and one of Super Lawyers Rising Stars in 2010. Can you tell us a little more about them?
The Super Lawyers Rising Stars award was based on leadership in the legal community and outstanding service. The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 award was for my performance and results in jury trials and outstanding service to clients. I’m very proud of both awards. They both mean a lot.
What’s your best advice for a solo attorney who’s just starting out?
Capitalize on the benefit of technology! Today’s technology makes the actual practice of law so much easier. We can literally practice from anywhere and still be in touch with clients.
Do you have a favorite productivity tool or app that helps you maintain a good work/life balance?
Ruby is a great productivity tool and has made my practice a lot more efficient. I also use Rocket Matter and Dropbox every day of the week.
Did you answer your own phone before you started using Ruby’s virtual receptionist service?
When I first started I answered my own phone and then my secretary took over. But now, with the help of Ruby, we can focus on productivity and efficiency. Ruby allows my secretary to focus on productive work instead of constantly answering the phones. You’ve made life a lot easier, for sure.
These days, exceptional customer service is one of the best ways businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors. According to a survey by ClickFox, 64% of consumers say that a company’s reputation for customer service heavily influences their decision to do business with them, and it’s more important than price in keeping them as a customer. So how can you create WOW-worthy customer service to grow your business? Make your employees happy!
Here are three ways a joyful staff can make a big splash:
Happy employees do better work. It’s been proven that happiness raises productivity by 31% and accuracy on tasks by 19%. A high turnover rate means more mistakes as new folks adjust. If you find meaning in your work and are happy in your job, you’re more likely to stay with that company for longer, all the while getting better at what you do. Plus, if you love what you do, you’ll be more attentive and put more energy into your work.
Happy employees are more likely to go above and beyond. Feeling empowered is a key part of happiness on the job. Fear of punishment for making small mistakes can be draining and takes away motivation to think of new solutions for customers’ pain points. Management consultant from the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology Nicky Garcea observes that even among leaders in “high risk” environments such as defense, engineering, or medicine, “there is a view that suggests that employees who are prepared to push the boundaries and sometimes make a mistake are more creative than those that do not.” Happy employees are more likely to go that extra mile and truly WOW customers (who will, in turn, tell their friends all about it!).
Happy employees, happy customers, happy business.
To learn more about how to implement knock-your-socks-off customer service at your company, check out Ruby CEO Jill Nelson’s ongoing series on the Ruby Service Pyramid!
Ruby is a family. That, more than anything, is something that makes my day-to-day job so fulfilling. I have worked at Ruby Receptionists as a virtual receptionist for nearly four years and take pride in how far the company has come while still maintaining a close-knit, caring sense of community.
Jill Nelson, our CEO, envisioned “Ruby” not only as our mascot, but also as the representation of our Core Values in action. When I first joined the Ruby team, Jill was a leader who knew me by name and always had a word of support.
For some companies this would be the part of the story where a “but” might be in order. “But, then what happens? Ruby has grown! Surely such a fast-growing company has lost its sense of intimacy?”
As one of Ruby’s “Receptionist Ambassadors,” I have had the ear of Jill and the Leadership Team on a regular basis. Each month, I and a fellow virtual receptionist, hold an open meeting where we discuss the concerns and needs of our receptionist staff and create an open dialog about innovation and employee fulfillment. We brainstorm professional development opportunities and green-lighted office-space enhancements (like cable in the break room… because Mad Men’s back on!).
The Ruby Ambassadors change every quarter, but thanks to those discussions, I had the opportunity to meet with Kevin, our Marketing Director, to discuss professional development and learn more about the sales and marketing teams at Ruby. We were to have a lunch meeting, but time was short. Fifteen minutes into our meeting, I began to worry I had crashed his lunch hour. Just then, a knock at the door announced Jill, bustling in with sandwiches and a cheerful insistence that she would be back with plates and napkins in a minute.
Cue record scratch: My CEO is bringing me lunch?!?!
Ruby is a company that excels in seeing the visionary capacity of its employees, top to bottom. Ideas, no matter how large or small, are encouraged and nurtured. This is what makes Ruby an exceptional company. This is what makes me feel like family.
We don’t mean to brag, but the Ruby® crew is pretty good at what we do — in fact, our clients consider us the best virtual receptionist team around, and that makes us beam with pride. Taking great messages is one of the ways we shine, and today, we’d love to share a few simple ways to Ruby up your message-taking skills.
Here are three ways to make your every message magnificent:
Start typing as soon as your caller starts talking. Keep a word processing document, text doc, or blank email up at all times, and type what your caller says from the get-go. It’s a great way to keep your transcription skills in shape, and if you end up taking a message, you have notes ready to copy and paste. Handwritten notes are great, but if you’re using a computer, do yourself a favor and type notes — it’s much faster, and chances are it’ll be easier to check your spelling.
Create shortcuts. Do you have a few favorite phrases you regularly add to messages? Our telephone answering pros do, and we love ShortKeys for just that reason. ShortKeys is a supercool, super user-friendly program that allows you to type a whole lot of words in just a keystroke or two, and — Bonus! — there’s a free version!
Recap before you hang up. At the end of your conversation, paraphrase the content of your message to your caller. It can be as easy as saying “I’ll have her call you!” or “I’ll let her know that 2:00 next Wednesday is the best time to meet.” Recapping is the perfect way make sure you capture all the key details, and a recap shows your caller how how gosh-darned helpful you are. If you’ve taken a long or complicated message, try reading it back to your caller word-for-word: “I’d love to make sure I’ve noted everything correctly. Let me read this back to you…” One final touch: After your recap, give your caller the opportunity to make additions with a friendly, “Is there anything else you’d like me to include?”
Got any message-taking tips to share? Tweet us @callruby!
If, like us here at Ruby, you’ve decided the way to grow your business is through providing legendary service, you know you must absolutely follow through on your commitments. Doing what you say you will do (or DWYSYWD), while such a fundamentally basic principle, seems to be so lacking in today’s climate, that simply adhering to it can make you stand out from the crowd.
We know that if we aren’t delivering consistent, reliable service, little flourishes of thoughtfulness aren’t going to win any loyal fans. Thus, we call DWYSYWD our table stakes. We don’t get to play the rest of the customer experience game without it.
Here are our favorite Do What You Say You Will Do tips:
Timing, Quality, and Accuracy: Three Opportunities for Commitment.
Whatever your product or service, customers want to know when it will be provided, how valuable the product or service is, and how close what you promise them matches what they receive. Be mindful of these three areas and be very clear on communicating what customers may expect. Know your own limitations, and make commitments you know you can keep.
Hedging Doesn’t Count. Commit to Something!
I know, the easiest way to always DWYSYWD is to make no commitments at all! Heard any of these before? “I don’t know when it’ll be ready,” “I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this statement,” or my personal favorite, “As is, no warranty.” But these statements don’t count. Figure out what you CAN commit to and put it out there. At Ruby, answering every single business day call by a live, friendly person is something that almost no other service does, but we put that stake in the ground and have stuck to it from Day One.
Be Increasingly Bold in Your Commitments.
To me, the poster child for DWYSYWD is Fed-Ex. It is a marvel to me that I can have a package picked up at 3pm in Portland today, and have it arrive in Orlando by 8am tomorrow. And yet, if I choose “first overnight,” I have absolute confidence the package will make it. They didn’t always offer this crazy offering. They took their standard promise, and made it even bolder. By making and delivering audacious promises, you set yourself apart. What is one bold promise that you can make?
Create Systems to Increase Consistency.
Our wonderful virtual receptionists come to work every day ready to give their most outstanding efforts. But, as members of the human race, it’s inevitable that from time to time, a mistake or two will slip through. To combat mistakes, we turn to technology, our reliable although less personable partner. In 2011, we launched our unique ROS software, the culmination of two years of feedback from everyone on how technology could improve our consistency and accuracy. Mistakes went down, productivity went up, and receptionists are now better equipped to answer callers’ questions. Improving accuracy with technology is also a great way to improve your bottom line, as the time spent fixing mistakes can be costly.
When You Miss the Mark, Overcompensate.
In the unfortunate circumstance where you aren’t able to deliver on your promises, what you choose to do about it can help maintain your clients’ confidence. First, own it. Come right out and say, “I know I made this commitment to you and we did not deliver.” Second, apologize sincerely. And third, compensate with a gesture of such significance that the client’s only logical conclusion is that this kind of miss must be completely out of the ordinary, because you would go broke if you made these kind of gestures on a regular basis. Refund charges. Offer additional services at no charge. Send flowers. Do something. Make the client understand that what happened simply does not reflect business as usual.
Have any DWYSYWD stories or tips? Tweet us at @callruby; we want to hear from you!
It seems we don’t always give great thought to our behavior on phone calls these days. With smartphones we’ve even lost those last precious moments of dialing time, which used to allow us to get into a proper “phone call headspace.” The thought of a rotary phone, watching each number inch back around to its starting position, makes me squirm impatiently in my swivel chair. But recently I watched a TV series set in 1914, just before the commencement of WWI, which focused on the estate life of a wealthy family and the help it employed. At Downton Abbey, the primary concern of the staff members was upholding dignity in their post, but navigating the modernizing world around them with these traditions in mind was difficult.
What struck me the most was the episode when the estate installed its first phone. The butler, who greets guests at the front door, is naturally assigned the new duty of answering the phone. He sneaks away to a private room and practices a few different greetings. Suddenly, the operator says something back to him. He was not expecting anyone to hear him and he explains that he is testing proper ways to answer the line. She presumably mocks his attempt and he shouts, “Well, I am sure a lot of the things you say sound silly, too!”
We now seem to be born with a clear technical understanding of how to place phone calls, but as new technology decreases the time it takes to connect to people, we’ve also decreased the time we spend practicing etiquette and connecting with people.
Answering the main phone for a business is a lot like answering the front door. Not everyone is trained in this art, just as the butler was the only one at the estate trained to answer both the door and the phone. It was the operator’s duty in the story to kindly assist the butler as he learned how to behave on a phone call. As a virtual receptionist, I still consider it my duty to lead by example on each call I take.
At Ruby, we begin etiquette training by ensuring that our callers can hear us properly. Nothing starts a call out better than a connection free of worry about static or feedback. After all, you wouldn’t have to worry about that if you were talking to someone in person! We are also trained to use proper grammar in order to sound professional as well as polite. Collecting a name or phone number by asking “may I have” creates a personable tone, rather the demanding tone of “can I get.” If a caller sounds frustrated, we strive to maintain a helpful demeanor. It can be difficult to express empathy without the help of body language, so we provide additional help by letting the caller know everything we are able to do for them. And what about our clients? I love that by letting them know who’s on the line before connecting the call, we are able to give them time to compose themselves and really settle in before taking the call. We also assist their conversations by collecting all of the information they need before transferring their calls and by taking clear and concise messages in their absence.
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.