How 'Google My Business' changes affect you.

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Your life has changed. Your business has changed—and the tools you use are changing right along with it. 

Like many of you, Google has sent staff to work from home or reduced staffing in specific departments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These reductions have meant changes for their popular listing tool, Google My Business (GMB).

In case you’re not familiar, Google My Business is a free tool that enables you to manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. This includes your business name, location, hours, as well as monitoring and replying to consumer reviews, questions, photos, and more. 

Due to the reduced staffing, GMB has prioritized support for essential businesses, such as healthcare, restaurants, and grocery stores — those with employees on the frontline. As a result, other industries are seeing limited functionality, delayed review posting, or unusual rejections of updates to profiles. Despite the changes, there’s still a lot you can do with Google My Business to keep your customers informed and earn brownie points with Google. We talked with Nalini Prasad, Chief Strategy Officer at BluShark Digital, to give us the lowdown on the changes and provide some actionable steps to combat the effects.

What’s Changed

Editing Business Information: For those businesses considered non-essential, you may experience publishing delays when attempting to edit or update any information about your business. If this should happen, let your customers know about the updates on other channels like social media.

New Listings, Claims, and Verifications: Businesses must verify ownership and location information with Google My Business. Google confirms this information by sending a postcard with a code to the physical address of your business. You then must enter the code into Google and voila, you’re verified. As most of Google’s employees are working from home, expect delays on these postcards unless you’re an essential health-related business.

An uptick in Rejected Posts: You may have noticed benign posts, such as special offers or updates on service, are being rejected by Google My Business. Again, this is due to Google not having the staff to approve the posts, so the system automatically rejects them. The same goes for reviews. GMB is working on re-processing the backlogged requests, so be sure to review your profile to see if they’re live in the several weeks. If not, you can reach out to Google support or create a new post. 

New Features to Utilize

COVID-19 Update: You can use the new COVID-19 update feature on GMB to create posts related to your business and the pandemic (ex. you’re short-staffed or will be slow to respond). The post is then prominently displayed on your profile.  

Temporarily Closed: Use this feature to communicate with your consumers if your business is closed during the pandemic. Make sure to update your phone number to your cell phone or regular phone number in the interim. Are you looking to transfer business calls to your cell phone or choose your caller ID when returning customer calls? We can help with that! 

Special Hours: If your business is open with reduced or different hours because of the pandemic, use the Special Hours feature to override your regular business hours. Changes are displayed immediately as they are critical for your audience. 

Business Name: You can add pertinent information to your GMB title, such as “Curbside Pickup,” “No-Contact Delivery,” or “Takeout Available.” Under normal circumstances, adding service information not part of your business name is not permitted, but in the current pandemic-life, this is temporarily allowed. 

As you know, there has been much disruption to how your business operates, making it critical to communicate with your audience. GMB is one fundamental way to achieve this. If you haven’t already, you may want to update Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Apple Maps, and any other channel that makes sense for your business.

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Webinar: Taking Your Business Virtual

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Very busy young architect working at home

Date: Wednesday, July 22nd
Time: 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM PST

Twitter, Square, Google — some big names have announced permanent work remote programs, and the rest of the world isn’t far behind.

Times are changing, and there’s never been a better time to take your business virtual. From reducing overhead costs and increasing your billable hours to achieving that elusive work-life balance, there are several benefits—but is it right for you?

Join Ruby on July 22nd at 11:00 AM PST and we’ll walk you through the advantages of a virtual office, considerations, as well as how Ruby can build a communication hub to keep everyone informed.

In this 45-minute webinar and live Q&A session, we’ll cover:

  1. Value of a virtual office to your bottom line
  2. Evaluating your current business needs
  3. Tools & tech you’ll need to succeed
  4. How & when to utilize virtual employees

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up

¿Hablas español? You might not, but your customers do. With over 41 million native speakers and 12 million bilingual speakers, the United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world—and we’re on track to become número uno by 2050

This poses both opportunities and challenges for growing businesses. On one hand, multilingualism is undeniably good for us as individuals and as a society. Compared to monolinguals, people who can speak more than one language are, well, smarter. They learn better, solve problems easier, understand the world more deeply, and exhibit more cognitive resilience. 

Organizations with multilingual workforces can tap into their collective brainpower to stand out and become industry leaders. As Microsoft points out, language diversity leads to innovation, ultimately fueling business growth.

On the other hand, there’s the issue of the language barrier. If you’re not already multilingual, learning a new language can be—how should I put this?—hard. Really hard. Children seem to be natural linguistic sponges, absorbing new words with little effort. Adults, not so much. If you’re over 18—or over 50—it can take months or years to become fluent in a different language.

Do you need to learn a new language to run a successful business?

Plus, let’s face it: most business owners are simply too busy as is. When you’re spending 40, 50, 70, 100 hours a week working, hustling, making connections, managing employees, wrangling technology, and navigating disruptions like—I don’t know—pandemics, the last thing you need is that Duolingo owl shaming you for not learning Spanish faster. 

Consider the fact that the average lawyer spends only 29% of each workday on billable time, using the rest of their hours to manage administrative tasks and business development essential to their practice’s survival. 

Good luck fitting vocabulary lessons into all that.

The struggle is real.

These aren’t just concerns for people, like attorneys, who rely on their words. The limitations of time and learning ability are obstacles for any business that serves clients or customers who speak different languages, but they can be particularly vexing in professions where language isn’t a prominent focus. 

When your job is to install HVAC systems, clean homes, repair cars, or engage in another hands-on activity, it doesn’t really matter what language you speak—until you’re doing something besides the work itself. I’m talking about booking appointments, explaining your services, collecting payments, and engaging in all the incidental but crucial forms of communication speakers of the same language take for granted. 

Customer satisfaction suffers as a result. Look at reviews of practically any home services business and you’ll find at least one person frustrated with the language barrier. 

Overcome the barrier with Ruby.

So, what’s a time-strapped monolingual to do in an increasingly bilingual world? 

How can you ensure you’re not leaving any customers or clients out—that you’re delivering the same quality of service to everyone you do business with, regardless of which language they speak?

How do you communicate respectfully, professionally, and authentically across the language barrier?

I’m glad you asked! You don’t need to hire new employees, try to translate conversations on the fly, or listen to language tapes while you sleep in the hope that you’ll learn subliminally. Ruby’s bilingual answering service can delight your callers in English and Spanish.

With Ruby, you can be sure that Spanish and English-speaking callers are receiving the same continuity of care, as our team of bilingual virtual receptionists can handle customer inquiries and communicate about your business on your behalf.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your incoming calls go straight to Ruby, and we greet your customers in English, Spanish, or both.
  2. Ruby’s bilingual virtual receptionists ensure your clients feel at home and heard in their preferred language.
  3. We can connect callers directly to you, take a message, and more—all based on your directions.
  4. Your virtual receptionists will keep you up-to-date on your messages with an email, text, or Ruby app notification.

Our receptionists ensure your clients and customers feel comfortable, understood, and taken care of. They’ll trust you—and you can trust us to make it happen. It adds up to better, more inclusive customer service, along with more time in your day to focus on your business… or those language courses you’ve been putting off.

Learn more about Ruby’s bilingual answering service.
For more information about how bilingual professional answering services can help your business, check out our explainer.

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It is estimated that around three-quarters of American adults are active on at least one social media channel, so it stands to reason that social media should be a vital component of your business and marketing strategy.

It is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways of connecting with people who are already familiar with your brand. Or if they aren’t, it is a great way of reaching out to those who are yet to hear from you.

Despite this, many small businesses are still not using social media to its full potential. They are either rushing through it, using it purely to promote themselves, or avoiding it like the plague, believing it to be too difficult and just another chore. However, when used correctly, it can be one of the best tools in your marketing toolbox

Here, we look at some of the best social media hacks to help you drive sales, reach new markets, and build brand awareness.

Have a social media strategy in place.

Social media is so easy and inexpensive that it can be tempting to dive straight in. However, without a strategy in place, you have no real focus or goals to measure your success against. Before you post anything, sit down and build a plan to support your specific business goals.

Make sure that your set goals are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Base them on metrics that will have a direct impact on your business.

Have a look at what your competitors are doing. What are they doing that works well? While we advise against copying them, looking at the success of their platforms to create ideas on how to build yours. 

If you already have a social media presence, you may want to carry out an audit of it at this point. Look at the insights provided by most channels to find out more about your followers’ behavior. If you have lots of spam or inactive followers, remove them – while high follower numbers look good, if they are not engaging with your content, this can harm your visibility.

Consider your content.

Once you have decided what you want to achieve from your social media and know which social media platforms you want to focus on, it is time to create a content calendar. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for an 80:20 ratio – 80% sharing content from other sources, such as industry information, interviews with experts in the field, news, funny stories, and other forms of engaging content. The additional 20% should be promoting your own content and sales. Any more than that, and you can risk pushing customers away.

It is also important to remember that visual content is much more appealing to viewers. BuzzSumo found that, on average, Facebook posts that included images had 2.3x more engagement than those without. As they say – a picture says a thousand words!

The visual elements of your post need to be compelling, especially on Instagram and Pinterest, which rely on visuals. If the images are poor, people won’t stop scrolling to see what you have to say. Think about how you can tell a story through your pictures – perhaps show the company culture through behind the scenes shots, or teasers of new products to be launched in the future.

If your photography is not up to scratch and hiring a professional is out of budget, you can use stock images. Make sure you find some that are royalty-free – using random images saved from Google is a big no-no unless you want to be hit with a copyright infringement notice!

Take advantage of the reporting tools.

Most social media channels, particularly if you have a business account, have some form of reporting tools, and it is vital that you use these to your advantage. You can find a lot of useful information about your followers’ behavior and the best time to post them. If you are not available to post at those times, make use of one of the many social media scheduling tools available.

Alternatively, there’s no better way to ask what customers want to see from you than simply by asking them! Sometimes, posting content on social media can be a hit-and-miss – you may not know what your customers want. Why not send out a customer survey asking what kind of content they find appealing and engaging? The easiest way to do this is through your email marketing software (e.g. SendinBlue) This way you can better meet your customers’ needs and build a positive relationship with them. A form builder like Paperform can be useful for this, creating a responsive survey that interacts with your customers in real-time and collects insights for you – so you don’t have to.

In summary…

As you work through your social media strategy, it is important to take note of what works and what doesn’t, so you can adapt accordingly. Digital consumption changes all the time, so keep up to date and relevant, and be prepared to be flexible. Before you know it, your social media will be driving big traffic to your site.

Author Bio

Vlad Shvets is a growth marketer and content writer at Paperform. He loves writing about product marketing, technology, and workplace productivity.

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We get this question often, and I’m happy to say: Absolutely!

With Ruby, we’ll assign you a unique toll-free phone number. (You’re welcome to publish this number, but you certainly don’t have to!) Many of our clients simply forward their current phone number. Once your line is forwarded, our cheerful receptionists will begin answering your calls. It’s as simple as that!

You can also customize the time that Ruby answers your calls. Virtual receptionists are happy to answer:

As your (more than) full-time receptionist.

Forward your line once, and forget it! Ruby is available 24/7, 365 days a year and is never sick, late, or on vacation.

In combination with someone in your office.

If you’d like the opportunity to answer calls yourself or have an employee who can answer part of the time, simply forward your line whenever you’d like Ruby to handle your calls, and un-forward when you’d like calls to ring in your office.

Alternatively, you may like to set up delayed call forwarding. Calls will ring a couple times in your office; if no one’s available, a friendly, professional virtual receptionist will take it from there!

The right fit for you! 

Figuring out what call forwarding set up is ideal for you, your business, and your customers isn’t always easy or intuitive. The good news? We’re here to help! Ruby has assisted thousands of small businesses across the U.S. in setting up their service. 

Curious to learn more?

Give us a call at 866-611-7829 today! 

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Listening for Smiles from the Frontline

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Our CMO, Rebecca Grimes, joined Ask Nicely’s Nina Church-Adams for their “Experience Awesome” video series. In this interview, Rebecca shares some of Ruby’s special formula for actively creating and nurturing a rich culture, leading with empathy and compassion in all situations, and translating that into authentic commitment to our customers. 

Rebecca also shares examples of how Ruby and our customers are innovating their own service delivery and customer engagement during this time. For Ruby, this meant fast-tracking a product launch to expand receptionist services to support our customers around the clock. 

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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This little nugget of conventional wisdom is one many of us have used to justify our reluctance to change the way we do things. For some small businesses, particularly those that rely on human interaction as their first point of contact, this motto has even rationalized an unwillingness to adopt new technologies and processes.

But it’s 2020, and the world looks a whole lot different today than it did even three months ago. Businesses across the board are, virtually, being forced to find a whole new way of doing business and serving customers. And in this process, some are discovering that going virtual isn’t all that bad.

Take, for instance, the foundation of most small businesses: the company switchboard. While the days of Mrs. Maisel-esque rooms full of switchboard operators managing rows upon rows of machinery and wires are long gone, ensuring the best possible phone experience is still critical to building long-term customer relationships. In fact, nearly three-quarters of consumers say they are very likely to choose another business after a poor phone experience — and that’s a high price to pay for an essential business function that can be done more easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively with live virtual receptionists.

Or, as we like to think of our array of highly trained customer-engagement professionals, a virtual switchboard.

Now, I’m not talking about a network of automated chatbots, which 85% of companies are projected to have transitioned to this year. I’m talking about technology that powers the real human connections that give your small business heart, something consumers have always appreciated, but now actually crave as disruptive market conditions and business restrictions have made personal interactions seem a thing of the past.

You see, at Ruby, we approach the concept of a virtual switchboard differently than most. Although our sophisticated technology is what drives efficient communications, it’s our uniquely talented people-people who are always there to handle calls, answer questions, and collect valuable information that drive better customer experiences, loyal relationships and long-term success for our clients.

In other words, we’re a human-powered business, just like the small businesses we serve.

And all of this is to say, we see you. You are lawyers, real estate agents, contractors, investment managers, orthodontists, retailers…you are small business owners who know the value of personal connections but have yet to realize the value of virtual assistance.

So, here, let me break it down.

Say you’re an attorney. You don’t have time or even the ability to answer every single call. Aside from present conditions, which may have you working from home without a receptionist to field in-office calls, think about the days to come when you’re out and about, moving from in-person client meetings to casework to court dates. A virtual receptionist well-versed with your practice can field every call and answer commonly asked questions, such as what type of cases you take on, before transferring the call to the appropriate contact. Plus, by engaging potential new clients and collecting valuable in-take information, a virtual switchboard helps you prioritize return calls, jump-start new client relationships, and ultimately, boost your bottom line.

Or perhaps you’re a real estate agent who typically spends a lot of the time out of the office. How great would it be if you never missed a single client call? With a virtual switchboard, you could opt to have your cell phone ring twice before a call is routed and answered by a virtual receptionist who delivers personalized attention seemingly from your office.

Ditto if you’re a contractor or a finance consultant or (insert small business) who, via a simple click on a keyboard or swipe on a mobile phone, can set your status, hold calls, send texts, update handling instructions and rely on a virtual counterpart to take over calls so you can focus on pressing business matters.

Listen, we’re not saying that your process for communicating with customers and prospects needs to be fixed. We’re simply pointing out that it can be tweaked to help you save time, spur business growth, and facilitate meaningful personal connections. And given the fact that virtually every business on the planet today is reevaluating how to best serve its customers, there is no time like the present.

Curious to learn more about virtual receptionists? Check out our short guide to get the full scoop.


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Webinar: Leading with Vulnerability

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Date: Friday, May 22nd
Time: 11:00 AM-12:00 PM PST

Ruby’s CMO, Rebecca Grimes, joins the Better Business Bureau serving the Pacific Southwest’s webinar series, “Building Trust in Trying Times” to discuss what it means to lead through times of crisis.

Vulnerability is what allows us to send and receive the information we need when we need it. It’s how we stay tuned in to each other’s challenges, allowing us to offer support at a moment’s notice. Most importantly, it cultivates trust among the members of our team. We’ll discuss tips from Daniel Coyle’s book, “The Culture Code” and how being vulnerable is crucial to building a strong company culture.

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These days, it is more important than ever to invest time, effort, and resources into building an online presence for your small business. In April 2020, almost 4.57 billion people were active internet users—that’s 59% of the global population. An online presence, if executed properly, can be the difference between small business success and failure.

Many businesses mistakenly think that building a website, plugging in the lead generation forms, and having profiles on all of the social media networks is enough to maintain a decent online presence—but there’s more to it! You need to work to stay relevant to your customers and continually adapt to the times.

Here, we are going to look at some of the things that you can do to help you to build up your small business online presence from scratch.

Have a website…

This is the most important first step. Since most people are online, nowadays your business can’t afford not to have a website. Even if your small business is not an online or eCommerce business—a coffee shop or a beauty salon, for example—you still need a website as the main way to establish your online presence. Your own website allows you to provide customers with important information such as prices and opening hours, and you can begin to establish yourself as an industry expert or thought leader by publishing content through a blog.

Your website can also be used as a means to get more people through the door in your brick and mortar business. For example, you could use email automation tools (like Sendinblue, ActiveCampaign, or Outfunnel) to generate leads and build a relationship with prospective customers by sending them emails. 

…but make sure it is a good one.

While having no website is damaging for your small business, having a really bad one can be even worse. Remember that first impressions matter and if your site is cluttered, difficult to navigate, slow to load, and generally has poor UX, customers will leave in a matter of clicks. Make sure that you have up to date and relevant content, strong visual imagery, and fast loading times. Ensure that your contact information is correct and visible, as this may be the first point of contact for many new customers. 

If you are stuck on how to design your website from scratch, try using free website builders such as WordPress or Wix — or if all you need is a simple landing page with a form for customer inquiries and the like, opt for a form builder like Paperform instead.

Run social media accounts – but be choosy.

Around 79% of US adults are on at least one social media channel. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to create an account for every single one of them.

Too big a social media presence, and you may find that you have bitten off more than you can chew if you don’t have the time or means to support these channels. It’s much better to focus on one or two and to do them well, rather than spend time creating accounts that are neglected or don’t receive as much traffic. Spend time finding out which platform is most popular with your target demographic—which of your customer demographics, for example, can be found on Instagram and Facebook? Likely you will find older demographics on the latter, and younger audiences on the former.

You also need to consider the type of content that you post. For example, Instagram and Pinterest are more visual, whereas Twitter is perfect for short, attention-grabbing text. Don’t fall into the trap of sharing the same content across all of the social media platforms that you are active on. You won’t be successful in targeting specific customer segments and will end up with bored and disengaged followers.

Focus on search engine optimization.

If you have done your research into setting up a business website, you will undoubtedly have come across the term search engine optimization (SEO). This is one of the most important things that you can do for your business’ online presence. In its most basic form, SEO is the steps you take towards getting your website ranked as high as possible on search engines such as Google. The higher you are on a search engine, the more traffic you will get to your site.

There are plenty of tutorials and tools online to help you optimize your online content, or you can do as many small business owners do and outsource this task to the professionals. However you do it, make sure that you do it because, without it, your website will struggle to gain any traction.

Wrapping up.

As a new small business, you simply cannot afford not to be active and visible online. However, it is important that you focus on the things that will drive sales, help you build relationships with customers, and increase awareness of your brand. Think very carefully about the content that you post and remember that for many customers, your online presence is their very first interaction with you – make sure that you make it count. 

What are your top tips for building up a small business’s online presence from scratch?

Author Bio

Vlad Shvets is a growth marketer and content writer at Paperform. He loves writing about product marketing, technology, and workplace productivity.

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If you are a small business owner, it’s likely that your life has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you have needed to change the way that you run your business entirely. Maybe you’re working from home and trying to rearrange your daily routine to ensure you’re just as productive as you were at the office. Maybe you’re learning the ropes of how to manage a small or very large team remotely. Maybe you’re figuring out how to conduct meetings in virtual spaces on the fly while trying to stay on schedule as much as you can, or you’re addressing tech issues or limitations.

But most of you have one thing in common: you’ve had to radically change the way you interact with your customers by finding new ways to provide the best possible service you can, maintaining the meaningful relationships you’ve built over the years, all while avoiding the most impactful way you can accomplish that: being face to face.

This is a challenging time filled with uncertainty and anxiety, but now, more than ever, in your isolated makeshift office where you’ve tried to close yourself off from children, partners, and the rest of the outside world, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. It’s important to remember that there are people out there who want to help you.

Ruby is dedicated to helping small businesses grow: it’s our mission statement, our purpose, and our passion. As a company that got its sea legs in the middle of a recession, we know what it takes to weather an economic storm while helping others do the same. While it does take grit and a pinch of unsinkable optimism, it also sometimes takes a little bit of outside help, and in this new and unpredictable economic landscape, there has never been a time when we’ve wanted to ensure the growth and stability of our community more.

If you keep asking yourself “where do I go from here?” this post is for you. Our team has dedicated some extra time to research ways that help ease the stress of small businesses affected by COVID-19, and honestly? We were overwhelmed by the results. Tons of tech companies are now offering extended free trials for their online services and software.

New business loan programs are being born.

Non-profits are stepping up their game.

Webinars are being recorded.

Articles are being written, and lists are being compiled by publications of all-sorts, each dedicated to strategies to help preserve, and even improve, the health and wealth of small businesses across the
country.

What follows here is a spreadsheet containing all of our findings. You’ll find a list with opportunities that we believe will help small business owners save time, money, and energy for at least the next three months. We also intend for this to be a living document and add to it as the year unfolds,
so stay posted.

The resources are out there, and we are committed to helping you find them. We’re in the business of keeping you in business.

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Industry: Legal
Location: Virtual
Date: May 22, 2020 at 11:00 am PST

Hosted by Clio and sponsored by Ruby, this meetup will feature a panel of experienced legal and tech professionals who will share advice and best practices on how to re-strategize and expand legal offerings and services during a downturn—with topics ranging from pricing structures to automation and efficiency. The session will be moderated by Nefra MacDonald, Clio’s Affinity Programs Manager, and the panel will include Allen Rodriguez of One-400 and Kimberly Bennett of K. Bennett Law.

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Bankruptcy Week: Virtual Summit

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Industry: Legal
Location: Virtual
Date: May 11-15, 2020

The Bankruptcy Week Summit will help attorneys of any practice area transition into bankruptcy law and give current practitioners deep dives into specific case types. Featured in the bankruptcy summit are courses taught by bankruptcy attorneys and fireside chats led by legal technologists.

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As a Customer Success Manager at Ruby, I’m lucky to have the unique opportunity to speak to hundreds of you, our dedicated business owners and operators, every single week. Each conversation allows me to peer into your day to-day-processes, to deep dive into your dreams for your company, and to collaborate with you on just how to get there. Without a doubt, that’s my favorite part of the gig. I really love learning about my customers. If there is one commonality I’ve found in every interaction I’ve had recently, it’s that no one expected to be working remotely for an extended period of time this year. Including me!

Now that this is our current reality, I’m realizing that I really hit the jackpot at Ruby (like I haven’t realized that before, ha!). Not only did our leadership and IT teams quickly and efficiently move our entire workforce to their remote stations in just 11 days, but I am equipped with a suite of features within our own technology that allows me to stay flexible and adapt as I navigate this new work-from-home world we all find ourselves in. Want to hear the coolest part? You have all these features in the palm of your hand too.

Ruby Mobile App

I use our mobile app just as fervently as many of you do! There are a ton of game-changing features, but I want to focus on the four that have become crucial tools for my WFH success.

Choose Your Caller ID: I may love my customers, but not enough to hand out my personal cell number. Enter Ruby’s Choose Your Caller ID feature! I can make calls or send texts from my Ruby-hosted number to keep personal information private. The best part is, when folks return my call to the number I’ve used, they’ll reach a live, friendly receptionist saying, “Thank you for calling Ruby. You’ve reached the office of Glynn Dickens.”—keeping my professional appearance alive, because I am definitely not sitting at my kitchen table in my slippers right now.

Call Forwarding: Working remotely may have freed up time that was previously spent on other tasks (So long, commute!) or there may be communication that is best delivered by a familiar voice to your clientele. Fielding your incoming calls on an as-needed basis is a good way to keep a finger on the pulse of your customer base, while maintaining your sharp service skills. You can easily forward and un-forward your Ruby-hosted business number with the tap of a finger! Specifically, our delayed call forwarding feature allows Ruby to answer whenever you can’t, so long as your phone is on and you do not manually decline the call. Set calls to ring to a number of your choice, then roll over to Ruby—so you always have the option of answering first.

Status Updates: The best thing I’ve done, for my sanity, is update my Status each time I take a break. It can be difficult to separate work and home since they’re one and the same right now, so giving yourself time away from the hustle, at least mentally, is important! Whether I’m eating lunch or taking a walk around the block, I set my temporary call-handling preferences to “not taking calls” for the 15 minutes or half-hour I’m away, so I can refresh and recharge. Of course, I also change my Status for virtual team meetings and other projects so receptionists know when and where I want to take calls, who I would like to receive calls from, and for what timeframe. It’s like tapping a receptionist on the shoulder and saying, “Not right now, Ruby!”

Call Activity & Message Details: The only “child” in my house is my four-year-old Tortoiseshell cat, but I imagine that a ton of our customers are juggling work and childcare right now. Hats off to you! When you need to step away or tend to other matters, you have a call and message log right there with you so you’re always in the loop. Tap on any call/message record to get the full scoop on who called and why. (Pro tip: You can even choose “Call” from the record and use Choose Your Caller ID to connect with them without ever going back to your desk.)

I am a Customer Success Manager. I didn’t stumble into this field by accident, I chose it because I see something in all of you—something I admire. I am humbled by business owners’ passionate determination and I fundamentally believe in your ability to triumph over adversity. I truly want you to succeed! I know Ruby can help you do just that.

Be well and stay safe, everyone!

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Business is all about relationships and missed connections mean missed opportunities. As a business owner, however, you can’t be everywhere for every customer — so how can you capture that potential business while also building trust?

Creating personal connections is an art and Ruby® is here to teach you the craft! Join us on June 3, 2020 at 10:00 am PT for a free webinar covering the value of connections, fundamentals of WOWism, best practices in customer service, and more.

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In a moment marked by its novelty, home service professionals and contractors are faced with their own unique set of challenges. 

While many business owners are seeing a downturn or outright halt in business activity, we know that contractors and in-home service professionals are experiencing an uptick in business as families are spending more time indoors and putting additional stress on appliances and systems.  

This could mean an uptick in the number of calls and service requests you’re receiving. Not to mention, many callers may be dealing with an additional layer of stress due to societal changes and economic downturn. 

To ensure that you’re continuing to win new leads and weather the storms of change, we’ve put together a couple of things to keep in mind as you’re managing the day-to-day of being a business owner.

Answering every call.

With the rise of a digital world, many people have forgotten about the importance of a good old fashioned phone call. As people seek more personal connection and look for immediate solutions to pressing home matters, it’s important to make sure you’re answering every call that hits your business line.

Every call is an opportunity to either win new business, or retain business with repeat customers. This being said, answering every call isn’t easy. There are times you’re with other customers, or are on-site working. Maybe you even have an office admin to help out with the phones, but even they need to take a break from time to time. 

This is why many business owners choose to use an “always on” virtual receptionist to make sure calls are never missed. A virtual receptionist can be used in a primary position to answer all of your business calls, or they can be used as backup to catch calls only during the times when you need it. 

This type of business layer makes it so that you never miss an important opportunity to win new business. 

Carving out time for you.

In business, we all want to strike while the iron is hot, however, it shouldn’t become a habit of coming at the expense of your personal or family time. The stress that comes with economic and societal changes affects everyone and it’s important to maintain a sense of balance when things shift quickly.

Growing your business in these times becomes about connecting with every potential and existing customer, but also making sure you have the time you need to recharge and come to work feeling the best you can.

With a virtual receptionist assisting your business, you’re able to easily choose in each moment if you want to be available to take business calls, or if it’s a time when you need to take some personal time. Whether that’s 15 minutes or an entire afternoon. 

Every business owner needs the option of being able to reclaim time for their work and personal schedule without sacrificing the chance at winning new business. 

From a proactive stance, that can mean choosing set times during the week where you choose to have the business lines answered by a virtual receptionist so that you can reclaim focused time to move through business-related tasks or even things such as gym time or date night (even if those need to take place inside your own home!). 

A virtual receptionist gives you peace of mind that your business will keep on working for you, even in the times when you’re not able or wanting to be fully engaged in customer relations. 

Adapting to a new business climate.

The Covid-19 pandemic is creating incredible shifts that are still to be seen and known completely, but one thing is for sure: people are spending more time than ever in their homes taxing appliances and systems at a rate never seen before. 

This means that contractors and home service professionals will need to be ready to accommodate an influx of new service appointments and phone calls. 

At Ruby, we know you’ve worked hard to build your business, which is why we take pride in ensuring that every call is handled by a friendly, professional customer service expert. So whether you’re on the road, at a job site, or taking a well-deserved break, you’ll rest assured knowing every call is handled by a customer experience expert. 

Sure, your customers depend on you for quality work, but they also expect quality customer service, too. Especially during this stressful time, having a remote receptionist service can empower you to run your company more efficiently while also creating great experiences for your new and current customers—helping you rise above the competition and maintain a strong business in 2020.

Curious to learn more about Ruby’s live virtual receptionists? Check out this quick guide!

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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.