What if your company could provide your callers with the best possible experiences—without you or anyone on your team ever answering the phone?

It’s possible when you use the right virtual receptionist solution for full-time answering. Here’s how it works:

What is full-time answering?

Virtual receptionists work differently for each business they serve. After all, every organization that outsources customer communication over the phone has its own call handling needs and preferences. Some are looking for part-time or backup support. Others opt to have virtual receptionists answer all their calls.

That second option is what we’re talking about today. Many providers call it “full-time answering” or “full-time forwarding.”

Depending on the nature of your company, the definition of “full-time” can vary:

For some companies, it means virtual receptionist answer callers 24/7, 365 days a year.

For others, it’s similar to the hours a full-time employee may work: 8–6, 9–5, 7–7, or another set of pre-established businesses hours, including or excluding weekends and holidays. (In these cases, when the business is closed, calls would typically go to voicemail or an automated system.)

In either scenario, your business saves time and maximizes productivity while ensuring callers receive the immediate, personalized, human service they expect.

When answering full-time, virtual receptionists essentially take on the role of an in-house receptionist (at a fraction of the cost). They can…

  • Transfer calls to you or members of your team
  • Direct people to relevant information on your website
  • Handle customer service inquiries
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Gather insights about the people you serve
  • Assist with outbound calls
  • Onboard new clients
  • Schedule appointments
  • Qualify new leads
  • Make lasting first impressions
  • And much more!

You can choose to have calls connected directly to you once they’ve been answered, or have the caller announced so you can decide whether you’d like the call connected (an action called a “warm transfer”), have the receptionist take a message, or send the caller to voicemail.

No matter which option you choose, a quality virtual receptionist should act as the frontline of your business and ensure callers receive a consistent, personalized experience every time they call.

Benefits of full-time answering

1. Savings

It takes a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to manage one or more receptionists, or an in-house customer service department. And keeping those positions filled can be a stressful and expensive cycle, particularly during a labor shortage.

By using a virtual receptionist solution for full-time answering, you can minimize hiring headaches and management migraines, while reducing staffing costs.

piggy bank with dollar sign

2. Improved customer experiences

On top of cost savings, there are the benefits to customer experience. A high-quality virtual receptionist solution ensures you always have a friendly, capable professional handling communications with your customers, clients, or patients. 

Learn how virtual receptionists elevate your callers’ experiences.

3. Zero distractions

Third, using virtual receptionists for full-time answering protects your team’s attention and productive ability. It insulates your business from unexpected questions and conversations that eat up time, energy, and focus.

What kinds of organizations use virtual receptionists for full-time answering?

Any company can use virtual receptionists for full-time answering, and many companies do. These organizations include countless small businesses and solo practitioners, as well as larger businesses without dedicated in-house receptionists.

We’re talking about…

  • Medical providers
  • Law firms
  • Plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians, and other home services providers
  • Accounting firms and financial advisors
  • Marketing firms, consultants, and other business services professionals 
  • Educational institutions
  • And numerous other organizations

Not sure if having a virtual receptionist answer full-time is right for you? Consider the following questions:

  • Do you or your team prefer to respond to client calls on your own time?
  • Do you or your team like to have time to prepare before answering calls?
  • Is it important that you or your team have uninterrupted time to focus?
  • Does your organization receive calls at various hours?
  • Is it important that your callers speak to a real person whenever they call?
  • Are you struggling to hire and retain in-house customer service team members?
  • Do you need to minimize your customer service costs?
  • Do you need qualified call handling help right now?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” having a virtual receptionist answer full-time is a smart choice for your organization. 

Learn more about how virtual receptionists work and how the right solution maximizes efficiency and customer happiness:

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Join Ruby as they answer this question and more in their upcoming webinar, “A higher bar: How to exceed client expectations in a virtual world” on October 21st at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET. Some of the topics being discussed are:

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  • Innovations in technology affecting growth
  • Expectations of today’s legal clients
  • Three focus areas that deliver consistent growth
  • Ways to increase conversions and expand your client base
  • How to retain existing clients and turn them into referrals
  • Ruby’s 24/7/365 virtual receptionist and live chat solution

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How to end a phone call

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How to end a phone call: person holding phone

So you’re in the middle of phone call you don’t want to be having. Maybe it’s an unwanted call from a solicitor or a drawn-out call with a colleague, customer, or client. Or maybe it’s a call with someone you know and love, but it’s a difficult conversation or has just been going on for longer than you’d like. In any case, the exchange is eating up your time and energy, but you’re puzzling over how to hang up gracefully. How do you end this phone call?

Well, puzzler, puzzle no longer.

Here at Ruby, our virtual receptionists and chat specialists are experts in hellos and goodbyes. After all, we engage in hundreds of thousands of conversations for our customers every day. As much as we enjoy getting to know people and creating meaningful connections, we simply can’t keep every conversation going forever. In this article, we’ll share some of our tried-and-true tricks for ending calls the right way.

Table of Contents

1. Make sure the business part of the phone call is complete without leaving things open-ended.

We’ve all been there: approaching the end of meeting or class when the teacher or meeting leader asks, “Does anyone have any more questions?” and someone inevitably raises their hand, and the conversation goes for another 20 minutes.

The same thing can happen with a phone call. Some people are happy to talk for extended periods of time, while others may be waiting for you to tell them when it’s over. The fact is that most of us have no idea how or when to stop talking or end a conversation. Don’t take my word for it—it’s science!

That means it may be up to you to take charge when it’s time to finish the conversation.

When you need to end a phone call, try not to end it by saying something like “Is there anything else I can help you with?” or “Did you have any other questions?” That person could very well have more questions—perhaps extensive, detailed questions you don’t have time for at the moment.

Wrap-up phrases to try

Instead of opening the floor for questions, try ending the call in a way that wraps things while leaving room for the other person to continue the conversation later.

For example:

“We’ve covered a lot today. Thank you so much for your time! Here is my email address, and you have my phone number if anything else comes up.” 

This phrasing is polite and to the point, and closes the conversation while still giving the other person the opportunity to reach out later. 

Here’s another approach to try:

“Thank you for speaking with me today! I don’t want to take more of your time. Here’s my contact information if you’d like to get in touch again.” 

Find a closing phrase you are comfortable with that’s assertive, to the point, and unambiguous. Remember: you want to snip any dangling threads that could keep the conversation open.

Be sure to use a polite and uplifting tone. Although you may feel frustrated about how long the conversation has gone on, it isn’t productive to take that frustration out on the other person.

2. Know when to interrupt.

Although interrupting is usually a conversational faux pas, the occasional (professional) interruption can be necessary. As Patrick Byron writes in The Startup:

“[I]f someone is giving what you believe is incorrect information during a meeting, or even during a personal conversation, it may be time to jump in and redirect the conversation.

You certainly don’t want to sit silently if someone misrepresents something you’ve said.

There are times in public settings where it makes sense to interrupt others. If you are waiting in line but unsure if you are in the correct line it makes sense to break in and ask someone for correct information. Better to do that than stand in the wrong line for too long.

It’s time to tactically interrupt someone when it would be a disservice to your interests not to, and when you can do it with a minimum of damage to your reputation. In other words, when the benefits outweigh the negatives.”

One instance when the benefits may outweigh the negatives is when you need to end a conversation. Let’s say you’re busy, you have a hard stop at a certain time, or an emergency suddenly comes up and you have no choice but to attend to it. In those cases, it’s okay to speak up.

Examples of polite interruptions

Here are a few polite, tactful interruptions to try:

Interruptions vs. interjections

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between an interruption and an interjection. Interruptions stop the flow of conversations, while interjections tend to keep things moving in their current direction. That means, if you want to end a phone call, you may want to limit your use of interjections.

Contrast the following and think about how it feels to say and hear an interruption versus an interjection:

Interruptions

  • “Excuse me.”

  • “Sorry, can we pause for a moment?”

  • “I hate to interrupt, but…”

  • “I’d like to return to something you just said.”

  • “May I add something here?”

Interjections

  • “Oh, wow!”

  • “Really?”

  • “Uh-huh…”

  • “That’s amazing.”

  • “Oh no, that’s terrible!”

3. Take advantage of pauses in the conversation.

Sometimes, interrupting isn’t possible or advisable. (I wouldn’t recommend interrupting your mother-in-law to cancel dinner plans, for instance.) Instead, your best bet is to take advantage of natural pauses or breaks in the conversation.

These typically occur after…

  • One person has answered the other person’s question(s)
  • A problem is resolved
  • Someone accepts or rejects an offer
  • Someone offers an explanation or apology
  • Someone has changed their mind or is reconsidering something

Any of these pauses can be an ideal time to step in with a phrase that signals the conversation is over or wrapping up.

Phrases for ending a call after a natural pause

Some phrases you can use to end a call include: 

(*Best used in very specific circumstances.)

Effective conversation closers often include an expression of gratitude (“thank you for your time”) as well as a brief recap of the conversation (“I appreciate you sharing this concern with me”) and a glimpse at follow-up action items (“let’s talk about next steps”).

Keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with having to end a call. In many cases, it’s the kind thing to do—the other person is probably eager to get on with their day as well. As long as you remain polite, professional, and empathetic to the other person’s needs, you’ll come away from the conversation having made a connection.

When thinking of ending a phone call, be sure to give yourself enough time to organize your notes about the conversation. This will help you follow up on any commitments you promised during the call and remember important details about the other person.

Speaking of the future…

4. Leave the door open for future communication.

Many conversations don’t end when a phone call ends. If you intend to follow up, spell out how and when.

For example:

Ultimately, the key to ending a conversation well is to focus on the other person: What do they need? If you can fulfill that need while the call is happening, do so and wrap things up. If you can’t fulfill their need during the call, tell them what you plan on doing and when they can expect next steps (if you know or can confidently estimate that information), so they have some relief while they wait.

Make sure to balance your needs with the other person’s. Think: Do you need to get off the call, or would you just prefer to? Are they talking at length because they enjoy it or because they don’t feel totally heard? Do they realize they’re dragging the call on? Whatever the reason may be, have empathy for the person on the other line while maintaining your own boundaries. Respect their time and humanity as well as your own.

One more thing before I let you go…

As much as you’d might like to avoid talking on the phone at length—if at all—calls can be valuable opportunities to connect. A bit of small talk here and there sows the seeds for meaningful connections and lasting relationships with the people you serve.

That said, you don’t have to do it yourself. If you’d rather minimize distractions, can’t take every call, or don’t have the time to spend as long on the phone as you’d like, Ruby’s here to help.

Our highly trained virtual receptionists and live chat specialists create connections with your callers and website visitors on your behalf—full-time, part-time, as backup, or whenever you need us. Learn more.

Visit Ruby’s Small Business Hub for more ways to connect with the people you serve in your business.

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Virtual receptionist pricing 101

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How much does a virtual receptionist solution cost?

Answering this question can be tricky. Different providers not only charge different rates, but have unique pricing structures, plans, and billing models. On top of that, each solution offers its own mix of features— not all of which may be included in advertised rates. And then there’s the possibility of additional fees, which some providers bury within their fine print.

Let’s break down how pricing works, so you can understand what you’re paying for and avoid hidden fees.

Understanding virtual receptionist rates

Most virtual receptionist providers charge one of two ways: per minute or per call.

Stopwatch icon

Per-minute pricing means you pay for the time receptionists spend assisting your business. There are three typical kinds of per-minute billing structures. 

To understand how they compare, consider the difference in how these structures calculate the cost of a call lasting 1:12 (one minute and 12 seconds):

True to the second

30-second increments

60-second increments

You pay for every second a receptionist spends on a call—no rounding involved.*

Each call is charged in multiples of 30 seconds, rounded up to the nearest increment.

Each call is charged in multiples of 60 seconds (one minute), rounded up to the nearest minute.

Dark blue arrow pointing down
Purple arrow pointing down
Teal arrow pointing down

1:12

1:30

2:00

True to the second

You pay for every second a receptionist spends on a call—no rounding involved.*

Dark blue arrow pointing down

1:12

30-second increments​

Each call is charged in multiples of 30 seconds, rounded up to the nearest increment.

Purple arrow pointing down

1:30

60-second increments​

Each call is charged in multiples of 60 seconds (one minute), rounded up to the nearest minute.

Teal arrow pointing down

2:00

*Look out for extra fees associated with after-call work.

Per-call pricing means you pay a base rate per call. This type of billing structure can be attractive to businesses with callers who need to spend extended time on the phone, but quickly adds up for businesses that receive large volumes of calls with varying lengths.

Yellow and pink circular phone icon

Tip: Be careful with providers that advertise low per-call rates. These rates often conceal long lists of additional fees you’ll be charged based on the services receptionists perform on each call. For instance, you might end up paying more for every call that involves transferring, scheduling, or message-taking.

Avoiding additional and hidden fees

Dollar character within circle icon

Keep in mind many providers charge multiple fees on top of their base per-minute or per-call rates. These providers often market themselves as low-cost “answering services” and saddle customers with separate costs for basic capabilities such as call transfers. Think of an answering service as a motel that charges for every amenity, and a virtual receptionist solution as an all-inclusive hotel.

Additional and hidden fees that many providers charge include, but are not limited to…

> Setup or activation fees for new customers

> Holiday fees, which raise prices for service on holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day

> Service fees, which can cover many different aspects of a receptionist’s work:

  • 24/7 answering
  • Call transfers
  • Multiple transfer destinations
  • Complex call routing
  • Bilingual service
  • Scheduling and conflict checks
  • Lead capture and intake
  • Local and toll-free numbers
  • Voicemail service
  • Porting numbers to/from the provider
  • CRM integrations
  • Mobile app access
  • Caller ID selection for calls and/or texts

How Ruby compares

High-quality providers build these costs into their advertised pricing rather than attempting to mislead customers. At Ruby, we’re committed to transparent pricing. We want you to know exactly what you’re paying for, so you can make informed decisions about your business.

> Straightforward per-minute rates in 30-second increments

> Only charges for the time from when a receptionist answers until a receptionist transfers the call to you or your voicemail, or the call ends (rounded up in 30-second increments)

> No hidden fees—pay only for your base monthly plan rate, any overage minutes, and optional features such as custom hold music and additional phone lines

What you can expect to pay:

Ruby

Others

One all-inclusive rate

Base rate + setup fees + holiday fees + transfer fees + message-taking fees + service fees + after-call work fees

Ruby

One all-inclusive rate

Others

Base rate + setup fees + holiday fees + transfer fees + message-taking fees + service fees + after-call work fees

Not sure what virtual receptionist solution is right for your business? Check out our guide and scorecard: 10 questions to ask a virtual receptionist provider.

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Years ago, a law firm’s website could function as little more than a digital brochure and show up in search results. For better or worse, those days are gone. Now, people expect more—a multimedia experience that is faster, more targeted, more helpful, more connected, and more interactive than ever.

And to ensure websites respond to these expectations, Google has recently rolled out algorithm changes that directly impact search engine rankings.

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To truly gain an edge, you also need to think about branding, user experience, social connections, photos, videos, and more.

It’s a lot. And it’s why so many lawyers put off making the improvements to their websites that they know they need.

The right web marketing provider can make it much easier for you by diagnosing the specific issues with your website presence and breaking recommendations down into manageable steps. Imagine knowing what specifically is slowing down your page speed—mobile functionality, and technical health? It could be a number of things. Third party scripts, oversized images, bloated and/or dated code… the list goes on. The only way to really know is to look under the hood.

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Ruby continues to lead the industry on policies designed to support its new hires and provide avenues for growth within the business, ensuring the customers of Ruby’s small businesses continue to receive the high-quality experiences for which the company is known.

“Ruby aims to be a leader in offering a living wage for work that is critical to the small business community, and in fostering growth among employees throughout their careers,” says Kate Winkler, Ruby CEO. “We have always prioritized investing in our people and will continue providing numerous opportunities and incentives for frontline team members to build their career at Ruby.”

Since January 2021, Ruby has increased frontline wages by 10.5% and has accelerated the timeframe for additional increases and promotions based on tenure and performance. New Rubys are eligible for raises after 90 and 180 days, and on their first anniversary, followed by additional wage increases every six months thereafter.

Ruby has also pivoted its operating model since the rise of the pandemic from 100% on-site to a flexible model to better meet employees’ needs once their offices reopen. Many employees have also taken advantage of opportunities to split shifts to help balance the needs of home life with work. And though Ruby can already tout an award-winning training program, the learning and development team recently announced additional improvements to further support new hires during their first 90 days on the job.

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I’ll let you in on a little secret: not every business answers its own phone. A large and growing number of companies use answering services.

These companies include law firms, healthcare providers, marketing agencies, real estate firms, construction companies, manufacturers, home services providers, and many more. Individual professionals such as solo attorneys, accountants, plumbers, HVAC technicians, chiropractors, consultants, and entertainers use answering services, too.

In fact, anyone can use an answering service. That includes you. If you want to make sure your callers always reach a real person, but you or your team are unable to answer every call (or just don’t want to), it may be time to consider using an answering service.

Let’s explore everything you need to know about answering services. In this article, we’ll cover the following:

Table of contents

What is an answering sevice?

In simple terms, an answering service is a company you hire to answer your business phone line for you.

Answering services come in many shapes and sizes. What they can do for your business varies depends on what type of service you use. But at their core, all answering services are built on the same basic value proposition: making sure your callers reach a live human being who represents your business—when that human being can’t be you or one of your team members. 

Wouldn’t it be great if all business phone calls happened during business hours? There would be no debate between answering service vs. in-house receptionist. But people’s lives don’t work like that.

People have jobs, families, pets, sick days, vacations, and day-to-day responsibilities. People might not know they need to reach your business until you’ve closed for the day. Broken furnaces and legal issues don’t stick to the 9–5 either. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to be awake and attending to your customers’, clients’, or patients’ needs 24/7/365. An answering service can take care of that for you. 

Answering services for very small businesses and sole proprietors

An answering service allows your business to be available at all times while ensuring you have the time you need to eat, sleep, focus, have meetings, or even take a much-deserved day off (gasp!). In other words, when you’re the main point of contact for your business, an answering service creates a buffer between you and your business.

Answering services for small-to-medium-sized businesses

If you have one or more in-house receptionists or team members who answer calls, an answering service can act as support or a backup solution. You can use an answering service to ensure coverage after-hours as well as on holidays and weekends, or any time your business is disrupted or your people need to work uninterrupted. Some answering services provide flexible options such as delayed call-forwarding, allowing you to decide when the service answers your calls (e.g. during certain days or hours, or after a certain number of rings).

Why use an answering service?

Why use an answering service if people can just visit your website when your business is unavailable to take calls?

Good question, self! (Thanks, self.) While your website absolutely should be part of your strategy for connecting with current and potential customers, relying on it for after-hours communication leaves opportunities on the table. Consider the fact that 65% of customers still prefer a phone call over other means of connecting with businesses. 

What about voicemail?

Wow, great questions today, self. Yes, voicemail is certainly one option you can offer your callers when no one is available to pick up.

But it’s not an option most callers like.

As a matter of fact, 76% of customers hang up when they encounter a voicemail recording. 

Many people choose to call the next business on their list when they reach voicemail because they’d rather not wait to hear back. They want to talk to someone right now. And if a representative of your business doesn’t pick up, that someone is likely going to be one of your competitors.

An answering service ensures your business never misses an opportunity to connect with a new or existing customer, client, or patient. That said, not every answering service is equipped to fully capitalize on that opportunity. Some solutions merely answer the phone while others delight, engage, and convert callers.

Types of answering services

Answering services differ in terms of how they work and what kinds of businesses they’re built for. In general, answering services fall into three broad categories: 

  • Interactive voice response (IVR) systems: These are the automated answering services that prompt a caller to “press 1 for billing, press 2 for technical support, or press 0 to repeat this menu” (or a similar prompt).
  • Call centers: Picture rows and rows of people answering and making calls for businesses, usually reading from scripts. That’s a call center. Call centers are built for large volumes of calls that hew to standard exchanges and don’t require much personalization or individualized care (think debt collection or polling).
  • Virtual receptionists: Oh, hi! That’s us here at Ruby! (Fun fact—we popularized the term “virtual receptionists.”) Virtual receptionists follow custom call handling procedures and answer the phone for your business as an in-house receptionist would.

Learn more about the different kinds of answering services.

What to look for in an answering service

The best answering services are built for your callers’ needs. They answer calls quickly, professionally, and personally. They’re able to offer the information and experience your callers expect, while creating lasting positive sentiments. Remember: a call is often someone’s first impression of your business.

When evaluating answering services, look for: 

  1. A company that offers flexibility. Do you need your phones answered all the time, some of the time, or just when you can’t? 
  2. Personalization. You want someone who will answer the phone as if they were you—with personalized greetings and call handling instructions specific and unique to your business. They should speak your language, using the terms and tone your callers are familiar and comfortable with.
  3. A service that greets your customers with the kindness, sensitivity, and empathy a person would expect when calling any company. 

What a high-quality answering service can do for you and your business:

  • Answer calls quickly.
  • Optimize customer experience through personal, empathetic call handling.
  • Ensure calls get routed to the right people at the right times.
  • Provide your business with more leads.
  • Convert leads into paying customers.
  • Ensure customers feel heard and have their needs met.
  • Help you grow and scale your business on your terms. 
  • Give you time away from the phones to tend to other aspects of your business or life. 
  • Allow you to take sick days, personal days, and vacation time without leaving your business unattended. 
  • Filter or screen robocalls, junk calls, and non-emergency caller needs. 

Pros and cons of an answering service

As with any choice you make for your business, the decision to use an answering service requires careful thought and consideration. It’s an investment in your callers’ experiences and your business’s future. And although any business can use an answering service, not every business should.

Answering service pros

  • Flexible and customizable
  • Can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time or part-time employee
  • Ensures callers reach a real person when you or your team are busy or unavailable
  • Captures more opportunities
  • Reduces the number of callers who reach out to your competitors

Answering service cons

  • Costs more than voicemail and automated tools
  • Less equipped than a call center to handle high call volumes
  • Limited to the call handling instructions and information you provide to the service
  • Variable quality between providers

Keep in mind that when it comes to an answering service, the cheapest option is rarely the best option.

  1. For one, many low-cost providers charge additional (sometimes hidden) fees for basic services such as transfers and after-call work.
  2. Second, low-end providers don’t provide their employees (or contractors) with the training necessary to handle sensitive calls, create positive first impressions, and build trust. They’re there to answer calls—that’s it.

Your business’s customer support reputation and growth potential are on the line. Moreover, the wrong provider can create more headaches and work for you in terms of problem-solving. Look for a provider with a stellar reputation for customer care and an array of options.

Do you need an answering service?

Companies large and small use answering services to answer the phones. Larger companies with customer service teams or departments using answering services as support or backup. Smaller companies and one-person businesses rely on answering services some or all of the time as their primary receptionists.

Businesses that use answering services include…

  • Attorneys and law firms
  • Plumbers, electricians, and other home services providers
  • Accountants and financial advisors
  • Consultants, marketing firms, IT providers, and other business services professionals
  • Schools, tutors, colleges, and other educators and educational institutions
  • Doctors, dentists, orthodontists, and other medical providers
  • Any business that receives more calls than its owner(s) or employees have time to answer

Not sure if you need an answering service? Think about questions like the following:

  • Do you have the budget for a full-time or even part-time employee? (Don’t forget about costs such as insurance, paid time off, vacation time, and so on.) 
  • Who will cover the phone if in-house employees are out of the office? 
  • What days and times of day do your calls tend to come in?
  • What type of business do you run? Are you in a high-touch industry such as healthcare, law, home services, where responsive, personal service can make or break your business?
  • What are your long-term goals for gaining and retaining customers or clients?

The bottom line: If it’s important to you that your callers reach a real person—but your business is unable to ensure that happens 24/7—you should consider using an answering service.

Is Ruby an answering service?

Yes and no.

Sure, we answer phones, but we do much, much more than that.

Thousands of businesses choose Ruby to provide the people they serve with personalized customer care and best-in-class customer communication. We believe in turning phone calls into connections and rings into relationships.

For more information, watch this video:

 

What’s the difference between Ruby and an answering service? 

Well, a typical answering service answers phones and might offer a handful of other benefits, such as an online customer portal and outbound call assistance.

Ruby has three times as many capabilities:

  • Call answering
  • 24/7/365 coverage
  • After-hours & emergency dispatch
  • Personalized call handling
  • Service customizability
  • Extensive receptionist training & ongoing coaching Industry expertise
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Free local or toll-free number hosting
  • Free phone service porting (eliminate your phone bill!)
  • Online customer portal
  • Free mobile app
  • Real-time status updates
  • Ability to check activity & messages
  • Ability to call & text from your business number
  • HIPAA compliant services
  • Bilingual services
  • Live chat
  • Website lead capture
  • Lead qualification
  • New client intake
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Office software integration
  • Robocall filtering
  • Proprietary answering software
  • Voicemail service options
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Outbound call assistance
  • Call answering
  • 24/7/365 coverage
  • After-hours & emergency dispatch
  • Personalized call handling
  • Service customizability
  • Extensive receptionist training & ongoing coaching Industry expertise
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Free local or toll-free number hosting
  • Free phone service porting (eliminate your phone bill!)
  • Online customer portal
  • Free mobile app
  • Real-time status updates
  • Ability to check activity & messages
  • Ability to call & text from your business number
  • HIPAA compliant services
  • Bilingual services
  • Live chat
  • Website lead capture
  • Lead qualification
  • New client intake
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Office software integration
  • Robocall filtering
  • Proprietary answering software
  • Voicemail service options
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Outbound call assistance

The key difference? A dedication to personal connections. Ruby’s professional receptionists and live chat specialists serve as an extension of your business. We answer your calls and greet your web visitors with the kindness, empathy, and humanity they want and deserve.

To learn Ruby can help grow your business and delight your customers, give us a call!

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With more than 2 billion active users, the power and reach of YouTube are undoubted. 

How can you take advantage of the massive audience and get them to engage with your business?

Live streaming your content to YouTube is a highly effective way to build and engage with your audience—with the option to move to different platforms to monetize your viewers down the line. 

Looking for inspiration for the type of content you can live stream?

We’ve got four tried and true formats and some great tips to engage your audience, but first, let’s look at why live-streaming should be part of your marketing mix. 

Table of Contents

Does YouTube Live work?

Live streaming is developing into a vital strand of marketing strategies, and with good reason. 

Recently, we took a dive into the facts about live streaming and found some data that underlines the importance of engaging your audience with live-streamed content

  • In 2020, 20% of people who attended a live-stream event did so because they couldn’t make it to the real thing.
  • 66% of content marketers, mainly from the US, include live streaming as part of their content mix.
  • Chinese e-commerce giant Taobao generated revenues of $15.1 billion through live streaming in 2018.
  • There’s a clear demand for live streaming, with 47% of people who watch live streams watching more of the content in 2020 than the previous year.
  • The second most-watched live stream in the USA in June 2021 was Apple’s keynote speech at WWDC.

From this data, it’s clear that live streaming is a content format that is in demand and has the ability to drive your business forward. 

We’re looking at effective live-stream formats, next.

4 types of YouTube live streams you can host

When you decide your business is ready to go live on YouTube, you need to choose the right format for your needs. 

The industry you’re in, your target audience, and what you hope to achieve from your YouTube content will all be factors when choosing how you’re going to go live.

You might have a strong background in filming and editing together engaging content, but live-streaming is a different skill to master. 

It’s worth noting that you do need to verify your YouTube account before you can stream, and it can take up to 24 hours for the option to become available once you activate it, so plan ahead!

Streaming from a mobile device also requires you to have at least 1,000 subscribers—you might need to start off with webcam streaming and build your audience if your channel is still small.

With that, here are four different formats you can use for your live content to get your audience engaging with you.

Type #1: office hours & Q&A

Screenshot of Erin on Demand using YouTube Live
Image source: YouTube

The social media and brand strategy company Erin on Demand hosts live streams roughly once a month, and in May 2021, Erin ran a Q&A session. 

The live chat was running throughout the session and viewers were invited to ask their questions on the topic of Instagram marketing. 

Throughout the live stream, Erin referred to the feed of comments and questions and answered them for everyone watching. 

When you answer questions live it not only keeps your audience watching to see if their question gets answered, it also shows your knowledge on your subject; you’re confident enough to not need a script and can answer everything that crops up!

Type #2: webinars

Image source: YouTube

At the start of 2021, the team here at Uscreen wanted to educate our audience about the new features we have coming up and address some of the questions our users have. 

As well as having three expert team members—our CEO PJ Taei, Head of Marketing Tamara, and our in-house content creator Daniel—on hand to go through the changes on our video streaming platform, we had folks from our team on hand in the chat and ready to answer questions, as you can see in the screenshot above.

This is a great way to make sure your audience knows they’re being listened to and feedback can be captured whilst your live video also sticks to the plan.

Type #3: conferences

Image source: YouTube

SaaStock regularly hosts events and conferences and has moved from in-person to online events due to the pandemic, streaming their recent events live on YouTube. 

Conference streams can get rather long – the one  in our example ran to over 4 and a half hours of content!

At the start, the CEO of the company Alex Theuma introduces the conference and explains the different events that will be available throughout the day so viewers know what’s in store and stay engaged.

Type #4: news & noteworthy events

Screenshot of Ryte.com using YouTube Live to stream about current events
Image source: YouTube

Ryte.com is a software-as-a-service company that offers SEO products and regularly streams live content about industry trends such as Google updates. 

The company covers recent events in their industry, making their content relevant and appealing to their audience. 

What’s more, they post their content every single week, making it an event that their fans can build a routine around and regularly engage with. 

Now we’ve seen how some companies are using the power of YouTube live, let’s look at some tips to get your YouTube strategy working for you.

3 tips for hosting successful YouTube Live events

Tapping into a new creative way to market your business is always exciting, even when there are risks involved

Testing what works to engage your audience is important, but it’s always worthwhile getting a head start with some tips so you hit the ground running. 

Here are our top three tips to get your YouTube campaign off to a successful start.

Tip #1: Promote your live streams.

Whether you’re just learning about managing your social media presence or you’re a seasoned pro, you’ll understand how important it is to promote your live streams to your existing audience, as we do at Uscreen. 

Screenshoot of Uscreen promoting a live event on Facebook
Image source: Facebook

You can also use your website and blog as a way to inform your audience about your live streams or start a new blog to support your efforts if you’ve not got one already. 

Any channels that you already use to communicate with your audience can be taken advantage of to build awareness of and engagement with your YouTube live streams.

Inviting question submissions ahead of time and encouraging people to subscribe to your channel to get notifications can make sure people have a strong incentive to tune in, also.

Tip #2: Encourage real-time participation.

Once you have your audience watching your live stream, you need to make them feel part of the experience.

A really simple and effective way to do this is to ask them to participate in the live chat feature that YouTube offers. 

Screenshot of Uscreen and Restream hosting an event on YouTube Live with a real-time chat conversation
Image source: YouTube

In Uscreen’s recent collaboration with Restream.io, one of their subscribers asked a question in the live chat and the presenters answered the question in real-time. 

Your audience will want to be present for your live streams if they know they can get your attention and even get a question answered live.

Other techniques you can use to get your audience using the chat is to invite them to leave a comment with their location or to confirm if they’re a new viewer or a long-term fan. 

This can give you an insight into your audience as well as give you information to refer to during your stream if needed. 

Tip #3: Be consistent.

As we saw with Ryte.com a little further up, hosting your YouTube live streams regularly and consistently is a great way to build up your audience. 

Most of your viewers will have a schedule they work to, so time your live stream so that it can claim a regular spot on their calendar and begin to build a following. 

Ensure that the content you cover in your live streams is consistent, too. 

Screenshot of a YouTube channel's live videos
Image source: YouTube

When we look at Restream.io’s list of videos on YouTube, you can see that they have a regular schedule of streamed content with “The Science of Live Streaming” and “Livestream to Podcast” being two recurring shows.

Now over to you

That’s our quick guide to using the power of live streaming to connect with your audience. 

By choosing the right format, telling your audience about your live event, then engaging with them through live chat, you’ll be able to form a deeper connection with your small business. 

Broadcasting at the same time of the day and week and sticking to the topics your audience cares about should see your viewer and subscriber numbers steadily grow and increase the number of people who engage with your business. 

Jump into YouTube live-streaming and see how it can help grow your business. 

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PJ Taei is the founder and president of Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and OTT platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.

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How do you make time for customers or clients when you have no time to spare? How do you ensure the people you serve experience the extraordinary, just-in-time communication they expect and deserve?

How can one business—or one human—deliver superhuman customer service?

The answer is they can’t. No one person can do it alone. To truly optimize your customers’ experiences, you’ll need the right tools and team. A good virtual receptionist solution will provide both, as well as insights you can use to track your performance—all bundled with individualized, proactive guidance whenever you need it.

In other words, the best virtual receptionists not only delight the people who contact your business, but make your life easier in the process.

Here are a few ways they do it:

1. Providing seamless experiences for callers

There’s no reason outsourced customer communication needs to sound outsourced.

The best customer experience solutions take steps to embed themselves in any organization they represent by using the same terminology and tone an in-house customer-facing employee would. They become familiar with the business and its customers to sound familiar to those individuals.

For example, at Ruby, we do this by…

Creating and maintaining a list of your frequent contacts, with details and notes about each contact.