Paging Dr. Ruby

We received a wonderful comment from blog reader Samantha requesting a bit of advice. Says Samantha, “I’m the nicest person, but sometimes my choice of words makes me seem rude or in a hurry.” We’re so glad you found our blog, Samantha! Learning how to make the best impression over the phone is an important skill, and thankfully it’s an easy one to master with the right tools.

In honor of Samantha’s question, today’s post includes some of our favorite must-have habits for WOWing callers.

  • Speak in an inviting tone. From word one, aim for a tone of voice that says I’m friendly, professional, and so glad you called! I’m here to help you. A surefire way to ensure a welcoming tone is to smile. Pretend you’re face-to-face with your caller, and show your grin as you speak!
  • Match your caller’s pace. If your caller is brief and to-the-point, strive for concise, pleasant responses. Likewise, take your time with callers who speak more slowly, or those for whom English may not be their first language. A fast rate of speech can sound intimidating or confusing to a slower-talking caller, so if you know yourself to be a fast talker, take special care to slow down when your caller’s pace does.
  • Ask permission. When asking questions of your caller, begin with May I, as in May I ask who is calling? or May I place you on hold for a moment? Skip commands like I need your name and Hold, please. And when a caller gives you what you want, be sure to…
  • Say thank you! These beautiful little words never go out of style! Pepper thank you into every conversation.
  • Be enthusiastic. Look for opportunities to use powerfully positive words like absolutely, certainly, wonderful, I’ll be happy to, and I’ll be delighted to.
  • Show what you can do (and not what you can’t do). Don’t worry about having the right answer to every question. Instead, be prepared with an upbeat reply that shows your dedication to finding the answers: That’s a great question! I’ll do my best to find the answer for you.
  • Lend a hand. When you need to verify or clarify a piece of information, try prompting your caller with your best guess: Thank you! Is that Tara with a T as in terrific?
  • Be extra nice when you need to ask twice. If you’re having a hard time hearing your caller, pour the politeness on thick: I apologize — I’m having a bit of trouble hearing you. Would you mind repeating that? (Sounds a heck of a lot better than Uh, what?, right?)
  • Say thank you again. Seriously, these two little words are your best friends —  use them liberally! Saying thank you is the perfect way to show your friendliness and dedication to service.

Do you have burning questions for “Dr. Ruby”? Share away in the comments below — we’d be happy to answer them in a future blog post!

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This year marks Ruby’s seventh year on the Fastest Growing Companies in Oregon list! But did you know that a few years ago, we deliberately tried not to grow as a company? What happened next changed the way we thought about Ruby — and the way we thought about growth itself.

Ruby has grown every year since we opened our doors, but in 2008, we had a particularly rapid growth spurt. To make sure our customers were getting top-notch service, we decided to take a breather. We turned off our advertising and focused on what we did best…and, thanks to positive word-of-mouth, we still grew 15%. But at this pace, we weren’t able to make any technology improvements for our clients. We weren’t able to promote any of our employees, and we didn’t add any new benefits. And honestly, it was a little stale. Coming to work felt for the first time like work. That year, we learned a valuable lesson: If we’re not growing, we’re not Ruby.

Growth has become such an important part of our culture that we added “Grow” as our fifth core value:

Grow

Whether we’re growing personally or professionally, we’re always up to the challenge. We aren’t afraid to make mistakes; we’re risk-takers at heart and each decision makes us wiser. Change inspires us, and learning is a life-long passion. We adapt, transform, and get excited about what lies ahead.

We thrive through growth.

In this our seventh year as a Fastest Growing Company and our sixth time in the state’s top 50, we’ve been able to make some major technology upgrades that will go into effect in the coming months. We launched a Leadership Development Program to support a myriad of promotions from within. And several employees were able to take sabbaticals, fulfilling lifelong dreams and returning inspired and ready to take on new challenges.

Heartfelt thanks go out to everyone whose hard work and commitment to growth got us here. Can’t wait to see what you make happen next!

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Ruby’s commitment to exceptional customer experiences propelled yet another year of rapid growth, earning a spot on the Portland Business Journal’s list of Fastest Growing Companies in Oregon for the seventh consecutive year.

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When you’re in a meeting, on vacation, or any time your receptionist needs to take a message, which creates a better experience for your clients: Voicemail, a written message, or a choice between the two? The answer: Whichever option ensures a faster reply from you!  Clients call because — you guessed it! — they want to talk, and the sooner they hear from you, the happier they’ll be.

Here are some things to consider when choosing your preferred message option:

Accessibility. Is it easier for you to listen to messages while you’re on the go, or read them? Consider where you’re likely to be when you’re not able to take calls. If you’re often in court, for example, you may not have the chance to listen to voicemail, but you may be able to access your email and discreetly check for new messages.

Detail. Voicemail allows people to talk candidly and directly to you, so if you value that openness, voicemail might be best. On the other hand, if it’s best for callers to leave a key piece of information with most messages, such as an case number, a receptionist can gather and confirm that info each time, whereas folks may forget to leave it on voicemail, even if your outgoing message includes a reminder.

Storage. Generally, an email will stick around as long as you want it to. Sorting and searching is also a snap with email, so it’s a great way to go if you’d like to archive emails and/or drop them in a customer’s file.

Finding an old voicemail, on the other hand, isn’t always easy. If keeping old messages is important to you, check out your voicemail system specifications, as many systems delete old messages automatically after a certain period of time. (Ruby clients get the best of both worlds — our virtual receptionists can email written messages to clients, and we email .wav files of all client voicemail messages, so both are easy to save for as long as desired.)

Your habits. If you check your email every other minute, but just plain hate listening to voicemail, written messages are clearly the way to go. A good receptionist will happily steer callers in the direction that works best for you.

Still not sure? Let your callers choose! If neither route stands out as a clear winner, ask your receptionist to leave the choice in the caller’s court with a friendly phrase like “She’s away from the phone at the moment, but I’d be happy to take a message or offer you voicemail!”

Love to hate voicemail? Think written messages are dreamy? Share what method you prefer and why with us on Twitter, @callruby!

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*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.