Best number to reach you

Ah, grammar. In school, you may have been scolded in the past for ending a sentence with a preposition, but it turns out there’s actually no real rule against it. (Get all the details on this grammar myth here.) However, communication counts, and our virtual receptionists strives to make every interaction a professional exchange. To do so, there’s one pesky preposition we typically nix from the ends of our sentences: at.

Three common examples of when Ruby’s phone answering pros would pass on ending with a preposition:

  1. What is the best phone number to reach you at?
  2. When should we meet at?
  3. Where is the conference going to be held at?

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What do these three sentences have in common?

The at can be lopped off of all of them without changing the meaning, and they sound a heck of a lot better without it. Check it out:

What is the best phone number to reach you?

     When should we meet?

     Where is the conference going to be held?

A Small Step for Big Impact: It’s Easy to Have a Professional Exchange!

It’s amazing how one little change makes such a big difference! While there’s technically nothing wrong with ending a sentence in a preposition, our virtual receptionists have learned that ending in at rarely adds anything but awkwardness to a sentence. Since a lot of folks view the preposition myth as fact, and ending a sentence with at can sound a little unprofessional, our receptionists usually skip it when answering phones.

Don’t have time to master call-handling skills yourself?

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Still unsure if a great company culture supports business success? We invite you to take a minute (6 to be exact) to read Katie Augsburger’s article on Medium.com and learn how her skepticism faded and why she believes these 15 factors allow Ruby to live up to the hype while delivering exceptional customer experiences through its virtual receptionist services.

Full article here!

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Is one of your company’s 2019 goals to diversify the team?

Ruby’s Chief Product & Technology Officer, Katharine Nester, shares insights into easy and unique ways any business can change up how they recruit to encourage a more diverse candidate pool. Read all the details here in Katharine’s latest article published in Forbes. This article is a follow-up to Katharine’s earlier article, Why You Need a Diverse Product Engineering Team.

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ASmall business automation tools

What if you could save time, improve efficiency, and provide your customers with a better experience, all while actually taking work off your plate?

Automation is the tool of the innovative business. When you use automation tools, you’re enabling your team to work more efficiently, as well as providing your customers with a better experience. These tools, combined with a talented team, can streamline everything from marketing to customer relations and internal processes. Save yourself time and precious energy with our suggested list of automation tools for small businesses!

1) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Efficiently managing a lead pipeline can be difficult, but customer relationship management software can make the process much easier to manage. With the right tools, you can better target your leads, improve customer experience, and manage your sales process. For example, imagine being able to delight your customers with anniversary emails and product updates, automatically. Implementing a CRM allows you to provide your customers with a premium experience, without the extra work.

Examples:

  • Infusionsoft is a CRM specially tailored for small businesses. Their tool helps small business owners reach the right customers at the right time and provides insights into who customers are and what they’re doing.
  • Clio is designed to help solo or small firm employees build a better practice with case, client, document, bill, and time tracking capabilities. If you’re looking to improve your practice’s efficiency, Clio can help.

2) Invoicing

As a small business, it’s vital you stay on top of your accounting and invoicing. With the help of automation you can streamline recurring invoices, centralize timesheets, and automatically track what’s been paid, and what hasn’t. Put your customers at ease with proper, reliable, and consistent invoicing.

Examples:

  • Freshbooks is easy to use accounting software that streamlines creating professional looking invoices, capturing expense reports, tracking billable moments, and collaborating with others.
  • Harvest empowers you to focus on doing your work, not tracking it. With a straightforward design and all the tools you need to organize your books, Harvest makes wasting hours on invoicing a thing of the past.

3) Social Media Scheduling and Management

In this day and age, social media is a vital part of every business’ marketing efforts—no matter how big or small. Scheduling tools allow you to manage your social media presence across platforms, maintain a personal connection with your customers, and stay organized. Share a product update across your social networks and update your customers about special events automatically. Making a personal connection has never been so easy!

Examples:

  • Buffer and Hootsuite each offer unique platforms that help you to streamline your social media efforts by scheduling posts at the optimum time, posting across social networks, uploading custom photos and videos, and centralizing all of your social efforts.
  • IFTTT is an innovative tool that allows you to work more efficiently by helping you with social sharing, productivity, web alerts, and more. Save time and keep up with industry news with IFTTT.

4) Customer support

Quality customer support automation allows you to provide a personal touch, while also making it easy to quickly view, catalog and reference customer requests. By building out processes through automation, your employees can focus on providing the highest quality of customer care.

Example:

  • Zapier is the tool you want at your side to centralize workflow. By connecting all your apps, automating routine tasks, and building processes, Zapier ensures that everything you need to support your customers is always at your fingertips.

5) Appointment and Meeting Scheduling

Scheduling meetings and appointments can be bothersome with variable schedules and busy customers, and nobody enjoys a missed or rescheduled meeting. An efficient scheduling software simplifies managing your day, while also helps you build trust with your customer base, and makes your company feel more approachable and accessible.

Example:

  • AppointmentCore is a fantastic tool that integrates with major calendar and meeting apps. This innovative software creates timeslots for your customers, update internal schedules, and displays easy to navigate calendars. You’ll never double book an appointment again.

6) Collecting Feedback from Customers

Customer feedback helps your company grow. Unfortunately collecting customer feedback can be, you guessed it, time-consuming. As your customer base grows, it gets harder and harder to reach out to each individual and request personalized feedback. Luckily there are tools to help!

Examples:

  • Mailchimp’s tagline is “send better email, sell more stuff.” It allows you to skip the process of selecting who to email, what to say, and when to send it by automating the whole process. Want to send a follow-up email right after a customer makes a purchase? No problem. Email is powerful, and Mailchimp puts this power at your fingertips.
  • SurveyMonkey enables you to make, deliver, and record the results of surveys, quickly and easily. Send your survey via mobile, web, or social media in an accessible format that clients can fill out effortlessly. Plus, it integrates with Mailchimp!

7) Office Supplies – Amazon Dash & Subscribe & Save

Shorten your work week and save time by automating your office supply orders. Avoid submitting the same supply order manually every month and have your orders sent out automatically, without a  second thought.

Examples:

  • Amazon Dash is the new way to shop. Using a simple button or wand, you can order new supplies quickly and effortlessly. It doesn’t get much more streamlined than this.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save is perfect if you need the same supplies on a month-to-month basis. You just select an item, schedule deliveries, and subscribe to your order. Every month you’ll get your supplies and save up to 15%.

There’s a lot you can automate as a small business but you should never ever automate your phone service.

Nobody likes a robot! Try a virtual receptionist instead.

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Proper business greeting

First impressions: you never get a second chance to make them, and at Ruby® Receptionists, we’re all about making them great.

For our virtual receptionists, answering the phone is a chance to show off our super-friendly stuff. A company’s greeting plays a key part in making an impeccable impression on a caller, and we love helping new clients craft greetings that wow!

Without further ado, here are three Ruby-approved elements to use when answering the phone:

A greeting.  

I know, you’re shocked.

But, first things first: simply stating your company name isn’t enough. Begin your company’s greeting with “Hello,” or “Thank you for calling,” or, if most of your callers are in the same time zone, try “Good morning/afternoon.” Better yet, combine two or three of these options in your greeting!

Welcome your callers with a few warm words before saying anything else. A little courtesy goes a long way!

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Your company name.

Now, “Hello” is a great way to begin a greeting, but it does not a greeting make. If your business is answering the phone with “Hello” alone, call a company meeting pronto and nix that nuttiness. In fact, a plain “Hello” can be confusing to callers, and it’s likely to make them question whether they’ve dialed the correct number. Always state your company name when taking calls. You’d hate to have a potential client hang up on you because they think they’ve misdialed, right?

An offer of assistance.

“How may I help you?” Ah, what beautiful words. Let your callers know you’re raring to make their day by rounding off your greeting with a question. “How may I help you today?” and “How may I assist you?” are two rock-solid options. Are you routing calls rather than addressing questions when answering the phone? Perhaps try “How may I direct your call?” Is there a question you need to ask every caller? Ask it! (“May I have your account number please?”)

Because every customer wants to feel considered, ending your greeting with a helpful question makes for a great customer experience every step of the way.

Your Gleaming Greeting:

After all is said and done, here’s what the finished product should look like, er…sound like, rather: “Good morning! Thank you for calling ABC Company. How may I help you today?”

I feel good just reading it. Sure beats the heck out of “Hello”!

Of course, your greeting is only part of the amazing-memorable-unbeatable call handling equation. Get our full walkthrough in our comprehensive guide to call-handling!

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The 2018 Clio Cloud Conference has brought Ruby down to New Orleans. It’s been a real treat to interact with customers and get to know the attendees!
While here, we’ve announced our two exciting new features: text message capabilities and voicemail transcription! Check out our latest press release for the full scoop here.

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When we asked our customers what features they would most like to see from Ruby, there were two very clear frontrunners—the ability to text from their business number and read their voice messages. We heard that together, these features would streamline the flow of communication and save time for our busy customers, helping them focus on growing and running their businesses. Today we couldn’t be more excited announce their release!

Texting isn’t just for friends and family anymore. It’s fast, familiar, and convenient, so it’s no surprise that today’s consumers want to do business through texting as well. With the Ruby mobile app you can use the cell phone you already have to send and receive SMS messages from your business number, giving you one more method to engage your existing customers and win new ones. The best part? You’ll never have to share your direct cell number with the outside world unless you want to, so you can keep your personal number private while you run your business. Texting is available in the Ruby mobile app to the Ruby account administrator, and it is included in all Ruby plans.

Speaking of running a business, every moment counts in the busy world of entrepreneurship. A few seconds here, a minute there. They add up! With Ruby’s Voicemail Transcription feature, you’ll be able to read your voicemails and see which ones are important before you spend time listening to them, helping you focus on the things that matter most. Voicemail Transcription is available in the Ruby app and my.callruby.com for all new voice messages.

We’re constantly building new products and features that will make your day run smoothly and help you stay connected to your customers, and we certainly aren’t done yet! Stay on the lookout for these and other exciting changes from Ruby.

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Between email, social media, and chat services, there are plenty of ways for your clients to reach your construction business. But it may come as a surprise that 48% of new clients prefer a phone call as the first point of contact for a local business. Though many of us may shy away from phone calls in favor of text messages in our personal lives, professional telephone etiquette remains a critical skill for all businesses.

In a recent survey, only 21% of clients reported being satisfied by phone interactions with construction professionals, making construction the sector of the survey with the most room for improvement.

It’s important to stay on top of new client relationships as well as existing projects with friendly and approachable phone etiquette. Whether you have a dedicated receptionist or answering your business phone is a shared responsibility, every time your phone rings you have an opportunity to impress (and win jobs).

From the moment a potential client decides to call your business to your parting goodbyes, there are a few simple phone tips that your construction business can make every phone call count.

Be Accessible

Rule number one to growing your business: give clients ample opportunity to connect. When someone realizes they have a problem that you can solve, picking up the phone and dialing in should be as easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Make your phone number easy to find.

    Don’t play hide-and-seek with potential clients—your phone number should be visible on every page of your website and empowered with click-to-call. In fact, wherever your business name appears (Google, Yelp, etc.) make sure your phone number is present and up-to-date!

  2. Make it memorable.

    In a time where cell phones dominate how we connect with one another, the odds of clients (potential or current) memorizing your business number are slim. Stay top of mind by creating something catchy. Think jingles and soundbites that speak to your expertise, something like 1-800-ROOFERS.

  3. Make it a point to pick up.

    What’s the point of driving traffic to your business phone if you’re just going to lose callers to an automated phone system or deflating voicemail? Missing calls is a great way to send business straight into the arms of your competitor.

Discover the ROI of virtual receptionists for your business!

CALCULATE MY ROI

Be Impressive

Remember that daunting stat we gave you at the beginning of this blog post? While a 79% dissatisfaction rate is pretty alarming, the good news is: you’re doing more than most contractors can by simply picking up the receiver. While this is a great first step, failing to impress while actually speaking with a client can be just as harmful as an impersonal phone tree. Woo your callers into clients with these little bits of Ruby magic:

1. Create a great greeting.


We’ve written a handy how-to for great greetings here, but in summary, your business’s standard telephone greeting should sound something like this:

“Good afternoon! ABC Construction. How may I help you today?” or “Thank you for calling ABC Construction. How may I assist you?”

2. Use hold wisely.

The location of the hold button is one of the first things you learn on your business’s phone system. But how do you communicate your rationale for putting a customer on hold? When it comes to putting a customer on hold, it’s better to ask than tell. Ask your customer’s permission to press the hold button with a simple “May I put you on hold?” Of course, your caller may prefer to stay on the line. If that’s the case, stay on the phone and communicate how it is you’re addressing their question or ask how their day is. A hold button is a valuable tool for your business, but wield it’s power wisely.

3. Be polite.

Incorporate politeness into your client service strategy with a few key phrases. While there’s no shortcut for great phone etiquette, saying “please” and “you’re welcome” will go a long way. Phrases like “my pleasure,” “may I,” and “I’d be happy to…” make a conversation feel balanced, pleasant, and natural—especially when it’s your client’s first point of contact with your business.

4. Smile!

Be sure to smile. You may have heard this piece of advice before, but did you know that you can hear a smile over the phone? Callers will be able to hear the warmth in your voice, and you may find yourself feeling more positive. No one can truly anticipate all of a client’s unique needs, but a smile is an important first step to keeping the conversation upbeat.

5. End the call in style.

When the conversation is winding down, reverse our three-stage greeting for a professional sign off. Be sure that you’ve addressed your customer’s reason for calling by asking if there’s anything else they may need help with. Once the conversation is at a close, thank your caller for reaching out! They’re expressing an interest in your business, so regardless of how the call ends, be sure to thank them for their time. Your final exchange for every call will sound something like:

Is there anything else I can help you with today? Thank you for calling ABC Construction. Have a great day!

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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.