Founder Jill Nelson Remains on Ruby Board

Sixteen years after founding Ruby®—CEO & Founder Jill Nelson is retiring and will be replaced by incoming CEO Kate Winkler. Kate, an experienced C-Suite executive and self-proclaimed “data junkie,” brings an entrepreneurial spirit and extensive knowledge in customer experience, software and telecommunications, which provide the foundation for the highly-personalized services Ruby provides to more than 10,000 small businesses across North America.

Said Nelson, “It has been my distinct pleasure to help tens of thousands of small businesses grow. While I remain active with Ruby as a board member, I know Kate will continue to be an incredible advocate for small business, and I am honored to welcome her as the new CEO to lead Ruby through the next stage of growth.”

Read the full press release HERE

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5 benefits of live call answering.

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Live call answering benefits

Are you sending your future customer base to clumsy phone trees? Losing them at voicemail? Maybe not even providing a number where they can reach you?

As the number of phone trees, bots, and impersonal forms grow, so does the importance of real, personal connections.

Live call answering is your relationship-building secret to success.

See the real, measurable impact of live answering in our 5 Benefits of Live Call Answering tip sheet!

DOWNLOAD

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Customer service isn’t what it used to be. As the world approaches the year 2020, the demands on organizations to provide excellent customer experiences are higher than ever before. Your buyers and prospects—be they consumers, clients, patients, or otherwise—expect fast, responsive, personalized, high-quality service. 

In a few respects, however, the keys to extraordinary customer experiences have remained the same. First impressions still matter. Phone calls are still the number one customer service channel. People still prefer to speak to live, friendly, and professional human beings.

In other words, if you think the answer to meeting evolving expectations is technology and technology alone, think again. Consider what the following statistics reveal about customer service experiences in 2020.

  1. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of potential customers want to reach brands by phone. 
  2. Phone calls are on track to influence more than $1 trillion in consumer spending in 2019. 
  3. Total annual calls from mobile click-to-call alone are projected to reach approximately 169 billion in 2020
  4. 29% of calls lead to a purchase. 
  5. 75% of consumers now expect businesses to offer support within five minutes of an inquiry
  6. 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as valuable as the company’s products and services
  7. For 66% of customers, instant, on-demand engagement in a critical decision-making factor in purchasing goods and services.
  8. 75% of organizations believe they’re customer-centric, but only 30% of consumers agree.
  9. 80% of companies believe they provide excellent customer service—only 8% of customers agree
  10. 67% of customers admit that their expectations for good experiences across all of their engagement points with businesses are higher than ever. 
  11. That same pool of customers say they’re willing to pay more for that experience (67%) and that they’re more likely to be loyal to companies that win their trust (95%). 
  12. 71% of American consumers say the messages they receive from businesses never, rarely, or only sometimes feel personal
  13. While 2 out of every 3 customers who receive support resolutions will share their positive experiences, 95% who don’t receive the same quality of support will also let others know.
  14. The average dissatisfied customer will share their experiences with 9 to 15 other people, and some will share with 20 or more.
  15. 74% of consumers say they are “very likely” to choose another business after having a poor phone experience
  16. 77% of customers say they won’t make a purchase if a brand doesn’t offer live chat support
  17. 73% of consumers report satisfaction with their live chat experiences—the highest level of all customer service channels… 
  18. …but just 14% of companies use this technology, and even fewer use it powered by real humans. 
  19. 42% of consumers prefer live chat over other communication channels.
  20. 79% of consumers say the number one reason they prefer live chat is that their questions get answered immediately
  21. Live chat prospects are 4.6 times more likely than other prospects to convert into customers
  22. …and will spend 60% more with the company once they do.
  23. When consumers have negative experiences with a chatbot, 73% will never speak to the chatbot again
  24. A majority of consumers (61%) find negative chatbot experiences more frustrating than human-to-human customer service interactions
  25. Increasing customer retention rates by as little as 5% can boost business profits by as much as 25% to 95%. 

Discover how you can create a customer service experience that counts with the ROI of Personal Connections ebook.

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The Broker Network case study.

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Realtor virtual receptionist case study

Great realtors are more than sales agents. They’re connectors–bringing people together and growing communities.

For the Broker Network, connections are the bread and butter of their real estate business, and Ruby is here to help. Find out how in our free case study!

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How Ruby virtual receptionists work.

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How virtual receptionists work

Missed calls are missed opportunities.

Every call that goes to your voicemail but doesn’t leave a message, is a lost opportunity.

That’s where a virtual receptionist comes in. The word virtual might imply smart A.I., robots, and holographic receptionists, but that’s not what Ruby is all about. Ruby’s live virtual receptionists are real people. Real people making real connections with your callers that help your business grow.

We combine smart technology and highly-trained receptionists to create the best possible experiences for your customers, customized to your needs.

You can download our guide to get the full scoop, or scroll down farther for a quick look into the basics.

What Our Virtual Receptionists Do

While the word ‘virtual’ may bring futuristic images of holographic receptionists to mind, when referring to our award-winning receptionists it describes the sophisticated technology working behind-the-scenes to power every call—supporting (never replacing) real, live human connections.

Here is how Ruby might answer your office’s inbound calls:

  1. We greet your caller.
    “Thank you for calling ABC Company, how may I help you today?”
  2. We dial your line.
    “I’d be happy to try the attorney’s line for you. Will you hold for just a moment, please?”
  3. If you’re available, we connect you with your caller.
    “Hi Morgan! I have a potential new client on the line. Her name is Holly. Would you like the call?”
  4. If you’re unavailable, we’ll take a message or offer the caller a voicemail.
    “Thank you for holding, Holly! Morgan is away from the line at the moment. May I take down your name and number so that they can reach out to you?”
  5. We send an email, text, or app notification with the caller’s message.
    “Holly is a potential new client seeking your services. Her phone number is…”

Part-time, full-time, or just there as a back-up solution for when you can’t be everywhere at once, our virtual receptionists serve as an extension of your in-house team.

The Benefits of Virtual Reception

Bringing a consistent, quality experience to your customers can be the difference between thriving and surviving. And with the right virtual reception service at the helm, you can foster loyalty from they very first “hello.”

To a caller dialing up a company, a virtual receptionist is indistinguishable from an in-house employee. From answering and transferring calls, scheduling new appointments and taking messages to collecting caller information, answering basic FAQs and more, virtual receptionists work the same way conventional receptionists do, at a fraction of the cost.

Unlike the traditional answering service in the form of large call centers, Ruby’s virtual receptionist service is rooted in the small business experience. Ruby receptionists are trained on the value of the phone call for small business and are dedicated to the creation of real, meaningful connections–it’s not just answering the phone. It’s about introducing a wow-factor and taking the time and experience of our customer’s customers to heart.

Looking for more? Download our guide to learn more about how virtual receptionists work, who Ruby is, and how we can help you take your business to the next level.

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We’ve all done it: Hung up when confronted with leaving a voicemail. Calling a business and being asked to leave a voicemail is something no one wants to do. Roughly 76 percent of people will hang up when asked to leave a message.

As you know, real estate is a competitive business that thrives on customer service. The moment a client hangs up, they’re calling your competitor. Is that a risk you’re willing to take? If not, there’s a solution: answering services for real estate investors.

Why should real estate investors use an answering service?

Relationships are a critical piece of real estate and begin with the first phone call. How a potential client is greeted on the phone will make the difference between them becoming your client or someone else’s. Research shows that clients remember the first and last minutes of an interaction more vividly and longer than the rest of it. 

Live virtual answering services for real estate investors, like Ruby’s, answer calls on your behalf. They’re trained, real-life people, available on-demand to professionally represent your business. From answering the phone, transferring calls, taking messages, scheduling appointments, answering questions, and more, Ruby’s receptionists are experts at making your clients feel important and convey the same level of care as you personally would. 

Why is it hard to build client relationships in real estate? 

Building and maintaining relationships with real estate clients isn’t always easy. It’s a competitive business with unconventional hours and out-of-office site visits. This is to say, answering the phone isn’t always possible for you and that’s OK. An answering service is like a life jacket for your relationships — at the minimum, it will help keep them afloat. The best services, however, can act do much more than that.

How Answering Services Can Help Real Estate Investors 

Getting back to clients in a timely manner is critical in real estate. People looking to purchase a home are making a huge financial and life decision. Many are anxious and sometimes rushed due to a job change, health concern, or some other life-changing event. The annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that 75% of recent homebuyers interviewed only one agent. You want to be that agent. 

Answering services for real estate investors create a seamless phone experience for clients. 

  • There is nothing automated about this service. A live human voice answers, greets, and talks to clients. 
  • You have extended and odd hours and can’t be available at all times. Answering services can. Ruby’s virtual receptionists are available 24/7/365. 
  • This service streamlines calls and transfers messages. 

Show Clients They’re in Good Hands 

Clients turn to you for guidance and support in the home-buying process. Many times, clients may feel scared and indecisive. They look to you to be a trusted source and advisor. They want to know you have their best interests in mind, not just your commission. 

When a client calls your office, you want to exude that same culture and feeling you present in-person: honesty, enthusiasm, and competency.. A live answering service helps to establish all of those traits by offering a warm reception, knowledgeable responses and consistency of service. Learn more about Ruby’s real estate receptionists

Your Time Matters, Too

Your time is valuable — and you don’t have a lot of it. Most likely, your clients feel this way, too. One way to make clients feel valued is by being available and responsive. We know this isn’t always physically possible for real estate professionals, but with an answering service, it can be. 

By valuing your own time, you’ll be able to put your focus where it should be: site visits, showings, negotiations, face-to-face relationships, and other higher-order elements of your business. Need ideas on how to free up your time? 

  • Schedule your calendar efficiently
  • Streamline staff training 
  • Communicate via technology 
  • Prioritize messages

Ruby’s Call Handling Guide can help you make the most of your time.

Stay Connected with Clients

Your client relationships are the foundation of your success. Keeping your future and current clients informed — and being informed about what’s going on in their lives creates trust and confidence. That said, it can be nearly impossible to remember every detail about a client and their family, let alone organize a roster of them. This is where tools like message organization and customized notifications come in. Ruby can help integrate your technology, so you can:

  • Automatically sync calls, voicemails, and messages 
  • Track call dates and lengths for easy billing 
  • Gather key client details from inbound calls
  • Link client communications with specific contact and topics

As a real estate investor, serving your community is essential. Technology plays an important role here — it can help elevate your level of service through effective communication, engaging experiences, and constructive feedback. Your outreach efforts can be greatly helped by software that offers lead management and scalable support. See how Ruby can help!

Strengthen Your Real Estate Business with Ruby

No matter what you’re trying to achieve in your real estate business, delivering customized and personalized service will get you there. Using an answering service will not only help you forge and maintain relationships, but it will also allow you to manage your time efficiently. Get started with the Ruby real estate guide.

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Years of loyal business, created or ruined in minutes.

That’s the power of a phone call or online chat exchange. Every conversation with a client, customer, or prospect is a moment that could shape your company’s future—for better or worse. It’s an opportunity to either win someone over or lose them to a competitor, to establish trust or sabotage a relationship. And the outcome, positive or negative, can result from seemingly minor decisions and inadvertent behaviors.

Frequently, it comes down to a few words.

With that in mind, and in the interest of helping more small businesses avoid catastrophic client interactions, here are a few all-too-common phrases to avoid:

1. “I don’t know.”

Unless you run a psychic reading service, you’re probably going to encounter questions to which you don’t have an immediate answer. That doesn’t mean the other person needs to know that you don’t know. Skip the shrug and move on to helping the client or prospect get the information they need.

What to say instead: “Good question! Let me put you in touch with someone who can answer it.”

2. “I’m not sure.”

Like “I don’t know,” “I’m not sure” is a useless acknowledgment of doubt. Moreover, it can cause you to seem disorganized, unprofessional, or lacking in confidence. It’s better to focus on the positive assistance you can offer. (Learn a simple strategy for dealing with uncertainty.)

What to say instead: “I’ll be happy to find that out for you.”

3. “I can’t.”

During an interaction with a client or prospect, your job is to keep the conversation moving. “I can’t” is a dead end. Think of what you can do and offer to do it. There’s always another route to take—perhaps it’s providing an alternative option, following up later, or even just listening and acknowledging the individual’s concerns.

What to say instead:
“I know who can help you with that—let me connect you with them.”
“I can do that! One moment please.”
“Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. We’ll work on resolving it as quickly as possible.”

4. “That’s not my problem.”

Also said as “That’s not my job.” Regardless of your role, department, or area of knowledge, every client or prospect concern should be your concern when you’re involved in the conversation. Again, demonstrate what you can do rather than what you can’t (or would prefer not to).

What to say instead: “Our specialist [name] would be the best person to help you with that. Can I connect you with them?”

5. “You’re wrong.”

No, the customer isn’t always right. But you don’t need to go out of your way to tell them that. Use a misunderstanding or potential conflict to demonstrate empathy, check your assumptions, and gently educate your client or prospect if necessary.

What to say instead: “It sounds like you’re experiencing [specific problem, reiterated back to the client or prospect]. Is that right? Here’s what I can do to help.”

6. “Calm down.”

Urging someone to relax tends to have the opposite effect. Phrases like “calm down” turn what should be a collaborative exchange into an adversarial one. No matter how angry or upset your client or prospect might be, it’s up to you to deescalate the situation. Rather than telling the other person how to feel, acknowledge their emotions and guide them to a resolution that will naturally result in them feeling better.
What to say instead: “I can see why you’re upset, and I’m sorry for any frustration this situation has caused you. Here’s what we can do to fix it.”

Wondering why any of this matters? Discover the ROI of real, meaningful personal connections!

DOWNLOAD

7. The wrong name, pronoun, or form of address.

Referring to someone by the wrong name or identifier is not only embarrassing, but disrespectful—and potentially discriminatory. Know the name of the person you’re talking to, as well as their preferred pronouns (e.g. he, she, they) and forms of address (sir, ma’am, Ms., Mx., Dr., etc.). If you’re not sure how the client or prospect identifies, consider asking. One easy way is to state your pronouns first, thereby offering the other person the opportunity to do the same. 

Many professionals have taken to adding their pronouns to their email signature. A simple (she/her/hers) under your name will do!

8. “We’re too busy for that.”

Busy-ness is great for business—until it gets in the way of new business. Like “I can’t,” “we’re busy” is a dead end. Don’t simply tell a client or prospect they’re out of luck. Instead, set communicate your availability, set realistic expectations, and schedule a follow-up if possible.

What to say instead: “I’m afraid we can’t do that right now, but I would be happy to help you as soon as we can. The next opening we have is [on/around date]—will that be all right for you?”

9. “Just a sec.”

There’s nothing wrong with taking a brief pause to meet a client or prospect’s need. That said, this specific phrase is a little too informal. Trade it for a classier “one moment, please,” and let your professionalism shine.

What to say instead:
“One moment, please.”
“Happy to help! I’ll need to [engage in a certain action] first. Could you give me one moment?”

10. “Hold, please.”

The flipside of “just a sec,” this phrase is too formal—and somewhat cold and robotic. It’s also framed as a command rather than a request. Before placing someone on hold, be sure to ask their permission first. If they decline, respect their decision—don’t press the “Hold” key.

What to say instead: “May I place you on hold for a moment?”

11. “They’re on the other line right now.”

Sure, it might be true that Ms. Smith is on the other line, but maybe don’t tell your caller that. Otherwise, they may infer that Ms. Smith will return the call as soon as she’s off that other line—which might not be true. Another potential hitch: your caller might ask to wait on hold until Ms. Smith is available, and if you’re not sure Ms. Smith wants to talk to your caller as soon as she’s free, trouble could be ahead.

What to say instead: “I’m afraid [name] isn’t available right now, but I would be happy to take a message! Is there anything else I can help you with in the meantime?”

12. “Just between you and me…”

Camaraderie with a client or prospect is a beautiful thing—unless it comes at the expense of your team. No issue is worth throwing someone you work with under the bus, so to speak. The same goes for company policies, values, trade secrets, or anything else your organization holds dear. By sharing confidential matters or your unfavorable opinions with someone outside of your business, you risk that person perceiving you as dishonest or untrustworthy.

What to say instead: Nothing. Raise your concerns with members of your team or keep them to yourself.

13. “I’m not in the mood for this.”

We’ve all had bad days. You don’t need to keep those feelings to yourself, but you definitely shouldn’t share them with a client or prospect. If a conversation is too taxing, consider asking a colleague for help or returning the call or chat request at a later date.

If you’ve got a cranky caller that is testing your charm, we’ve got a list of tips to help with that. 

Keeping up with client and prospect requests can be tough for any growing business. You don’t need to do it all alone. When you work with Ruby, you gain a team of friendly, professional, thoroughly-trained customer support agents who are available when you need them.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Receptionists to learn more about how Ruby can elevate your customer service experience and support your in-house team!

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The art and challenge of business services—with Justin Dunham of ércule

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Ruby customer feature: Rapid resourcefulness with Ashton Taylor

Small Business Tips

Forced changes and success with Loren Feldman

Small Business Tips

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How do you, a commercial real estate agent or broker, find ways to invest in your business with limited time and resources?

Getting a more worthwhile return on your investment is easier than you think! The most efficient–and perhaps most essential–avenue you have to organic growth is to simply build more meaningful connections with your existing clients and prospects.

In this free guide you’ll discover:

  • Why making real, meaningful connections is your secret to unlocking business growth
  • A customer-centric approach to customer engagement
  • How to “WOW” in a high-tech, digital age
  • The ROI of 1:1 conversations

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The Secret to Successful Law Firms

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

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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.