Swellness campaign

I’ll be the first to admit I’m annoyingly stubborn when it comes to being sick. I’ll deny I’m ill until I’m running a high fever and can no longer speak in clear sentences. Then, I’ll be dragged to bed, only to whip out my laptop and continue to work from home.  And while I may view this stubbornness as dedication and commitment to my job, let’s be honest—I’m doing no one any good working at less than 100%.

In 2014, researchers estimated the total cost of presenteeism—showing up to work, but not fully functioning due to illness—had risen to $250 billion annually. Not only is the sick employee performing at a reduced capacity, they risk the health of other employees, and the employee’s families—a sickness spiral that can go on for months.

To truly Foster Happiness at Ruby, it’s important our employees feel healthy—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and take the time to heal at home. So, we’re combating presenteeism by redefining the concept of “sick time,” a term we feel focuses on the problem rather than the outcome. After all, the reason you stay home sick is to get well!

Announcing “Swell Time”

Earlier this month, Ruby launched our “Swellness” campaign. Running through the entire month of May, the Swellness campaign is based on four pillars of wellness: happiness, movement, connections, and nutrition, and will include weekly actions supporting those pillars. Team members received their very own beautifully designed Ruby Mandala poster and a list of activities—ranging from “Get your daily 8+ glasses of H2O” to “Explore the therapeutic process of coloring for 15 minutes,” to “Attend a fitness class.” Additionally, team members were given a Swellness Journal with more than 75 pages of prompts to encourage reflection on their emotional health.

Mandala in processAs team members complete the listed activities, they color in the corresponding spaces on the Ruby Mandala. There are three speeds of actions: “Just The Basics Baby”, “Take It Up A Notch”, and “Push The Limits.” This allows employees to choose their focus, level of activity, and complete the actions that make the most sense for them. As an incentive, team members can enter for prize drawings, which occur each week on “Swellness Wednesdays.”

The best part? We want to share this campaign with you! If you’re considering launching a wellness program for your employees, let us know. We are happy to make the mandala design, activity booklet, and journal available to you as a guide.

When it comes to your health, focusing on wellness versus overcoming illness can be just the perception shift you need to get better quick, and avoid the sickness spiral!

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Customer service touchpoints

In honor of National Small Business Week, we’re celebrating the fact that small is big—in a lot of different ways. The little touchpoints your customers experience when interacting with your business add up to a big overall impression. Make the most of these opportunities, and you’re sure to create happy, long-lasting relationships with your customers! Here are 15 important touchpoints you don’t want to overlook:

1. Your telephone number. Is it easy to find? Easy to click? Be sure your number appears on every page of your website, and aim to make it clickable so smartphone users can reach you with a quick tap.

2. Who answers. Do your customers reach an impersonal voicemail box, a confusing phone tree, or a live voice? A cheerful, live person ready to help will make a fantastic impression on your callers.

3. Your office. Time to ditch the dying plants and dusty furniture! This touchpoint isn’t just important to clients who visit—a pleasant workspace can do wonders for your team’s attitude and productivity, and yours as well. If money is tight, try these low-cost tips for making your office inviting.

4. Your website. Prospective clients are likely to peruse your website from smartphones, so if you haven’t optimized your site for mobile yet, now is a great time. Be sure your phone number is prominently displayed and clickable—many mobile users would rather click to call your company than scroll through your site to find answers.

5. Your advertising. Print and online ads are a great way to show who you are as a company. These tips can help you create an appealing and effective look without breaking the bank.

6. Your blog posts. A blog is an ideal place to have a conversation with current and prospective customers. Sharing your knowledge and experience through blog content allows you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your field while giving readers a sense of your values and mission.

7. When you send a gift. Not all touchpoints are digital! If you have the budget for client gifts, try setting up a routine so you don’t leave anyone out. Generally, there are two reasons to send a client gift: to mark a standard milestone (you might send a welcome gift when a new client signs up), or for a special occasion (perhaps when a client gets married or has a child). Choosing specific, meaningful reasons for sending gifts will help ensure they make an impact.

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8. When you send a card. A card is not as strict as a gift—in fact, any time you feel moved to write a note to a client, we recommend you do so! A friendly notecard can have an even bigger impact than a gift, for a fraction of the cost.

9. Your email communication. A collection of well-designed email templates can make your life a heck of a lot easier, and ensure your clients get the information they need when they need it. But avoid the temptation to cut and paste every time—when you have the opportunity to create a connection through email, add that personal touch.

10. Your packaging. Whether it’s a gift or a simple envelope, the container counts. When our receptionists order WOW gifts for clients, we ship them to our offices first so we can wrap them and add a card. Receiving a mysterious cardboard box just isn’t as fun as a hand-wrapped gift!

11. Your invoice. Yep, even when you’re asking for money, you can make raving fans out of your clients. This article proves it.

12. Your web forms. We’ve probably all had a frustrating experience with a poorly designed web form. If you ask clients to submit information online, be sure your web forms are easy to understand and easy to complete. Need help? Find design tips here.

13. Your follow-up. Doing what you say you’ll do is key here. If you commit to connecting with a client by a certain time, make sure you do, even if you don’t have anything new to report. Reliable follow-ups build trust, so set reminders to ensure you don’t miss them. If you’re new to a follow-up routine, start small—don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you check in once a week for four weeks, then switch to every other week without warning clients, they’ll likely feel let down.

14. Your social media response time. A speedy social media response makes you look good, while a slow (or no) response seems sloppy. It may feel trivial at times, but replying to blog comments, tweets, and Facebook posts lets customers and potential clients know you care. If you use social media for your business, be ready deliver timely, friendly responses.

15. Trade shows and networking events. Nothing makes an impression like a face-to-face conversation. Grab those business cards, polish up your networking skills, and get ready to mingle! Headed to your first trade show? Congratulations! These ten lessons can help you make the most of the experience.

Is there a customer touchpoint that’s had an effect in your business? Tweet us @callruby to share your story!

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With millions of delighted callers and thousands of businesses grown, Ruby Receptionists® has a lot to be proud of—but it didn’t happen overnight. When we started in 2003, we had just four receptionists, one of whom was our Founder and CEO Jill Nelson. We originally went by the name “Worksource Inc.,” and we offered all sorts of services, including web design and copywriting.

As we grew, however, we found our clients really enjoyed one piece of our service best. We were hearing, “Gosh, your receptionists are so nice!” and “I have such peace of mind. I can focus on my business because I know when the phone rings, your receptionists will do whatever it takes to help me, that caller, and my company.” Clients even told us our receptionists were winning them business.

Gradually, we realized our strength was in making other people’s days through personal, meaningful connections. We decided the brand “Worksource Inc.” didn’t fit, and we became “Ruby Receptionists.”

Revolutionizing Company Culture

Around the same time, we gave our first employee survey. The results were generally positive—employees liked their coworkers and felt they were paid well. Yet, one theme emerged: many receptionists didn’t feel they were doing valuable work.

CEO Jill Nelson was concerned by this feedback. At the time, Jill was in charge of customer service and sales, and she routinely heard stories from clients about how our receptionists made their day and won them business. Jill knew firsthand our receptionists were doing incredibly valuable work! She vowed to make that clear to the team, and started with two big changes:

  • Sharing the inspiring feedback we receive from clients and callers through a mass email to the whole team via our “WeRock” email list.
  • Changing our hiring practices—rather than seeking employees with years of receptionist experience, our job ads beckoned: “If making someone’s day makes your day, we want to hear from you!”

Learning Through Adversity

Ruby’s true test came in early 2009 with the severe economic downturn. Many of our clients were struggling to keep their doors open, dropping services left and right to stay afloat. We knew our service had to be invaluable in order to make the cut. Clients needed to know we were on their team, and their success was our success. We launched our initial four core values during this time: Foster Happiness, Practice WOWism, Create Community, and Innovate. And staying true to those values worked—despite the tough climate, we grew our revenue 30%!

As our growth continued over the following years, the question became: how do we continue to nurture the Ruby culture, and make sure each employee knows they are empowered to positively impact and brighten our clients’ days? Jill sat down with every employee in the company and posed exactly that question. The Ruby Service Pyramid, the Ruby Spelling Alphabet, and our WOW Station were born out of these brainstorming sessions—just a few of the many ways we Incent, Inspire, and Empower® all employees to make meaningful connections on their own. And speaking of growth, in 2012 we realized something was missing from our core values, so we added a fifth value: Grow!

The Ruby Service Pyramid created by Jill Nelson

Looking to the Future

To help us reach our next stage of growth, Updata Partners acquired a majority share of Ruby in 2014, and we became Ruby Receptionists® Incorporated. The Updata investment allowed Ruby to transition from a service company to a tech-enabled company. As Jill put it: “The goal is to replace the phone company and allow a small business to run on Ruby and a cell phone.”

We rang in 2016 by moving to our new headquarters in downtown Portland’s Fox Tower, creating room for more friendly, professional Rubys in our Lovejoy and Beaverton offices. And it was with great pride that Ruby earned a top ten spot as a Best Company to Work for in Oregon for the seventh year in a row.

Our success over the years has proven that values aren’t a bunch of fluff—they’re a bottom-line concept. We’re grateful each day to do work we believe in: helping small businesses grow by creating personal connections in an era of impersonal service and robotic answering machines. With our values in mind every step of the way, we can’t wait to see where the future takes us. We hope you’ll join us for the journey!

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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 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.