Oregon Business magazine selected Ruby to take home the #38 spot on their annual “Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon” list. Our fourth consecutive year on the list, this year’s rankings were compiled from more than 20,000 employee surveys from 440 organizations across the state.

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Homemade Smiley Face French Fries with Ketchup

Everyone has bad days, and callers are no exception. As Ruby virtual receptionists, we have training on how to defuse a frustrated caller. I had the opportunity this week to turn a particularly upset caller into a happy caller.

After I read the company’s greeting and asked, “How may I help you?” the caller responded, “Well, Whitney, I am not happy.” I knew I was in for a doozy. I immediately turned on my Ruby charm and began to try to help the caller to the best of my ability. Apparently, the caller had been having some technical issues with a product that he had purchased from the company. On top of his technical issues, he had been having a hard time getting in touch with anyone who could help him.

Using these techniques, Rubys are able to turn tense callers into satisfied, and even pleased ones – and you can, too!

Listen.

On every call, but particularly on calls in which the caller is frustrated or upset, I make sure that I am actively listening and understanding their problem. The better I understand what is happening, the better I can direct them to who can solve their problem. And if I cannot get them in touch with someone directly, I am able to relay the nature of the problem in a detailed message to our client.

Talk it out.

This caller had already been trying to get in touch with the company for technical support. At this point, I knew that I had go beyond just trying to connect him to the support department. I kept the caller in the loop and let him know everything I was doing to aid in solving his problem. When I was not able to reach anyone, I let him know that I would take a detailed message, along with the point that he had been having difficulty trying to reach anyone and send it to multiple people.

Be transparent.

After every line I tried, I would go back to the caller and let him know my next step. “I am going to try to reach Brian Smith, the president of the company, for you. One more moment while I try his line.” By letting the caller know everything I was doing and every action I was taking, he knew I wasn’t just putting him on hold and that I was actively trying to solve his problem.

Sympathize.

When the caller feels like their emotions have been acknowledged, they are more likely to appreciate you. I try to work phrases like, “I understand why that would be frustrating.” or “Absolutely, I would be frustrated too,” into my conversation.

Offer further assistance.

By simply saying, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” you are showing the caller that their time is valuable. Most of the time their answer will be “no,” but it is the gesture that counts. It shows that the caller is more than just one problem and you are genuinely interested in how you can help.

While I was not able to get this particular caller in touch with anyone at that very moment, I used communication, transparency, and sympathy to guide the call to a helpful resolution. I let him know what I was going to do to relay his problem to the people who would be able to help him. At the end of the call, I offered any further assistance. His reply was better than anything I could have hoped for: “Whitney, the only way I could be happier is if there were two of you working on this!” It was then that I knew I had done my job and successfully turned the caller’s experience with that company positive.

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Bullseye

As a Problem Solver and Happiness Maker, I chat with our clients about their accounts daily, answering any questions, making updates, adding new employees, and generally ensuring they’re using Ruby to the fullest. I might even be the first person a new client has ever talked to when I set up their Ruby account.

Clients always tell me how much they love Ruby and how our friendliness and professionalism is a breath of fresh air — proving that people will do business with people they like. You might be wondering how I solidify those connections. The answer is simple: Create a lasting and positive first impression.

Here are three ways I cultivate connections every day:

  • Courtesy. Remember “The Golden Rule?” Well, it can make a world of difference for your first impressions. Treat first-time callers the way you’d like to be treated if you were a first-time caller. Engage callers with questions and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. After all, you are there to help – and the sooner your caller recognizes this, the sooner you can build trust and rapport.
  • Professionalism. Grammar is key! Avoiding slang and filler words will show your first time callers that you mean business. “Um” is your arch enemy! You are smart and capable, and callers will know right off the bat with correct grammar. Speaking clearly means lessening the chance of miscommunication, less frustration, and true understanding on your part and the caller’s.
  • Accuracy. Do your best to always provide accurate information. It’s okay not to know! If you’re ever unsure of the answer to a caller’s question, let them know. Framing what you can do, rather than stating what you don’t know, is an easy way to provide excellent customer service. Using phrases like, “Gosh, I’d love to find out for you! May I place you on hold while I ask my team?” and “I’d love to research more and get to the bottom of this! May I call you later today to let you know what I’ve found?” are great examples of this. Not knowing is perfectly acceptable; we are all human. It’s your willingness to find out that can impress even the most dubious first-time caller and set your business apart from the competition.

A great first impression is the path to a solid and meaningful connection. Using the tips above, clients feel heard, cared about, and most of all – loyal. With the valuable feedback they feel comfortable to provide, I’m certainly able to problem solve and create happiness along the way!

Photo via Flickr user Bogdan Suditu

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Phone Tip: Making Callers Comfortable

When a potential client interacts with your business for the first time, you may need to ask for a few pieces of information in order to begin working with this new person. Asking someone to share personal information isn’t always easy; however, there are ways to make the interaction more comfortable for everyone involved, and it all begins with your approach. Here are some tips to set you up for successful screening!

Here are some tips to set you up for successful screening!

  • Your questions are coming from a place of helpfulness.  Surely, the reason you ask a caller for their email address, financial information, or the details of their case is so that you and your company can provide them with the optimal support and assistance. Keep that in mind as you move forward with gathering personal information, and your good intentions will naturally come through in your questions.
  • Ask confidently.  It’s no secret that self-assuredness is the key to success, and when we portray confidence, the people we interact with will in turn have confidence in us! If a caller senses a tone of uncertainty, they may feel hesitant to give private information.
  • Create a conversational tone. Start by asking how they heard of your company and what brought them to you. It’s a great opener and a fantastic way to break the ice!
  • Tell them why — people love to know! If a caller seems uncertain about answering your questions, tell them, if you can, why providing this information is beneficial to them as a customer.
    • We typically correspond through email, if possible. That way you will receive documents immediately rather than having to await their arrival in the mail.
  • Know when to fold ‘em. Don’t push too hard if someone declines to give information right away. You can always ask again once you’ve established a more solid working relationship. By letting them create the boundaries they need, you show flexibility and willingness to work within their comfort level. Even though it may be a small inconvenience, you’ll make a great first impression!

You may find yourself in the opposite position, and your caller will want to provide much more information than is necessary during that first interaction. For tips on guiding a talkative caller in the right direction, check out the post, Make the Most of Your Conversations by Guiding Chatty Callers.

Photo via Cathy Cheney of the Portland Business Journal

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Virtual Receptionists Outbound Calling
Virtual Receptionist Crystal G.

You’re in court and your virtual receptionist sends you a timely message, but you can’t return the call. You’re at the worksite all day and can’t be interrupted, but you forgot to cancel your 2:00pm appointment. Your whole office is in meetings for the day and you need to remind a client to bring in paperwork for you to sign tomorrow.

Never fear – Ruby’s here! Let us make the call for you.

As a Sales Associate, I often get asked, “Can Ruby Receptionists make calls on my behalf?” And I’m glad to say, “Absolutely!” Our receptionists are happy to place outbound calls to confirm appointments, relay information, or gather more details on your behalf.

But how does it work? You can make an outgoing call request, or “Assists” as we call them, in a number of ways:

  • Simply reply to a message. When you receive a message from Ruby, simply hit “Reply” and add a note on what you’d like us to say: “Please call Dave back and let him know that I mailed his paperwork on Friday.”
  • Email us. Send the person’s name and phone number to staff@callruby.com, and we’ll gladly place the call on your behalf: “Hi Dave! This is Ruby calling from Mr. Smith’s office. He wanted to let you know that he mailed your paperwork on Friday. Is there anything else we can do to help?”
  • Call us. You’re always welcome to call us at 866-611-7829 to place your request. Any receptionist who answers is able to take down the information and get our specially-trained A-Team on the case!

Feel free to use Assists as often as you like! They are completely optional, and you are only billed for the time you use.

Questions? Feel free to give me a call at 866-611-7829 or Tweet us @callruby. I’m happy to help!

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It is with great pride, pleasure, and excitement that we have opened a second office in nearby Beaverton, Oregon! It’s all thanks to our amazing clients for spreading the word about Ruby and helping us grow so that we can make stellar first impressions for even more businesses!

Yesterday, Ruby Founder & CEO and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle cut the bright pink ribbon to officially open our new office, followed by a spectacular open house filled with Rubys, clients, and friends.

Ruby Receptionists CEO Jill Nelson and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle cut the ribbon
Ruby Receptionists CEO Jill Nelson and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle cut the ribbon

Ruby Receptionists Beaverton Office Grand Opening
There’s no better office warming than celebrating with our clients and friends!

We’ve been settling into our new office for a few weeks, making sure that conditions were perfect to deliver our knock-your-socks-off service, and are thrilled to officially call Beaverton home!

See more photos in the Portland Business Journal here, and follow us on Facebook for more pictures over the coming days!

 Photo via the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce

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Our two stellar Rubyinators, Emily and Monica
Our two stellar Rubyinators, Emily and Monica

Walking into Ruby on your first day, you’re sure to say “Wow!”

We’ve perfected the art of first impressions, and not just over the phone. First days are perfect opportunities to introduce new employees to your company culture, get them excited, and set them up for success.

At Ruby, our warm, smiling front desk receptionists will greet, seat and treat you, followed by your manager who whisks you to your desk where you’ll find a brightly-packaged gift and handwritten notecard welcoming you to the Ruby team.

Then, Culture Champion Amy Lix gives you a tour of our modern office, introduces you to the rest of the team, and familiarizes you with Ruby’s Core Values and mission before you settle in with your trainer, who we call “Rubyinators” (any Phineas and Ferb fans out there?).

It’s only after you’ve experienced our friendly culture, do you start learning the day-to-day aspects of the job. We treat our receptionists exceptionally well, because we know that happy employees lead to exceptional customer experiences. And it starts on Day One!

Do you roll out the red carpet for new employees and build on their excitement? What do you do delight new employees and make their first days memorable?

 

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Please use other door

A close friend of mine works at a boutique app development company, and he told me the other day about a French woman who called and was having some difficulty with an app they had designed for a client. Speaking in impeccable English, though more slowly than a native speaker, she began describing every detail that led up to receiving an error. Some of the information was useful, but much was not related to the issue. My friend listened patiently, but it was clear within a few minutes that the client he developed the app for was the only one with the power to fix it.

What was he to do? It felt rude to interrupt, or tell her that he didn’t need to know all of the information she was taking such great pains to describe. He genuinely wanted to help her, but his hands were tied; she had to contact the company who commissioned the app and go through the whole story again. He told me, “I really wanted to tell her I sympathized and be able to offer her a credit for her trouble — or even just give her a couple bucks of my own money!”

It can be frustrating when you don’t have all the tools to solve someone’s problem. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help!

  • Step 1: Empathize. My friend was on the right track; it’s always nice to hear someone’s on your side! Remember to frame things positively; rather than commiserating, try saying, “That does sound frustrating; I would feel the same way!”
  • Step 2: Guide them. It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes interrupting is helping! Repeating the same information to multiple people is a common complaint among customers. Anyone who’s ever called their cable company can attest to that. Listen for a pause and interject, “I hate to interrupt, but I think I know what the problem is. ABC Company would actually be able to help you with this,” or “I’m sorry for the interruption! John in Support would be the best person to speak with about this type of error.”
  • Step 3: Offer assistance. Ok, so yo might not be able to give them a credit or fix the problem. But there is always something you can offer. Perhaps it’s just looking up the phone number to the company that can help. Maybe it’s offerring to jump on a conference call to cut through the technical jargon, or sending an email with a succinct description of the issue that they can read to the customer support tech. Nine times out of ten, they’ll decline, but anything that shows you want to help is a huge comfort. Even a simple, “If you have any more questions or there’s anything more I can do to help, please let me know!” will help!

Your customers are people, too. Focus on connecting with your caller on a personal level and treating them how you’d like to be treated, and you’ll both feel better!

Photo via Flickr user James Cridland

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The Secret to Successful Law Firms

The inside scoop on Clio’s latest legal trends report.

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

Ready to turn more callers into customers?

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.