Dear small business owner,
Where to begin? Putting a year into perspective is never simple, but this year…
It’s safe to say the last several months will go down as one of the most turbulent periods in modern history. I’d like to imagine that 2020 will become a yardstick to measure challenging experiences. We’ll say, “Hey, at least it’s not as bad as 2020,” or “Watch out—it’s a real 2020 in there!”
Of course, 2020 isn’t quite over yet. And the challenges that defined this year won’t instantly evaporate on January 1st. From ending the COVID pandemic to overcoming racial disparities and political divisions, there’s still plenty of work to be done in the days, weeks, and months to come.
But whatever the future holds, one thing is certain: you can handle it. All year, you’ve proved you have the strength, the courage, and the creativity to weather unimaginable adversity. You’ve found ways to continue serving your customers and community during a global health crisis. You’ve adopted new protocols and new methods of doing business. You’ve stayed afloat in a profoundly uncertain economic environment.
Take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment of recognition. As a small business owner, you have the most demanding job in the world—and you’ve done that job throughout one of the most challenging years in the 21st century. No doubt you’ve had to endure difficulties and make sacrifices of your own, all while remaining dedicated to your passion and your purpose.
With that in mind, I’ll share two words you don’t hear often enough:
Thank you, thank you, thank you—for all you’ve done, endured, and sacrificed in 2020.
Words alone cannot express the admiration and respect we feel for you here at Ruby. All year, we’ve been proud to support extraordinary people like you, to be the voice and ears of thousands of small businesses across the United States.
Ruby’s receptionists and chat specialists love their jobs because they love working for small businesses like yours. Many of our customers serve on the pandemic’s frontlines: providing people with healthcare and education, solving legal and financial challenges, cleaning homes, installing ventilation systems—the list goes on. We love sharing in your successes and being a part of your life-saving, life-improving work.
I want to thank you not only for keeping us going this year but for inspiring us with your superhuman skills and resolve. Thank you again for doing what you do. You and your company truly make the world a better place.
As we look ahead to 2021, I’d like to take this moment to renew our commitment to you. Ruby’s mission has always been rooted in the needs of businesses like yours. We answer your phone calls and chat messages to give you more time in your day. We create meaningful human connections to build trust among the people you serve. We capture leads we know are so critical to your survival and make sure you have the chance to turn those into customers.
We foster happiness at every opportunity—not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s what is best for our customers as well as their customers and communities.
None of that will change any time soon, or ever. And while we remain steadfast in our commitment to our customers and our values, it’s important to acknowledge how Ruby has changed in 2020.
We’ve learned a lot over this past year. We’ve become more agile, flexible, and intuitive as an organization. We’ve learned not to presume what our customers need but to stop and ask and make sure our actions align with shifting priorities and realities.
We’ve also gained a deeper awareness of how to navigate difficult conversations. Our team members have always been able to handle tough moments with grace, but 2020 was the ultimate crash course in de-escalation. We further developed our skills in acknowledging the frustration, making room for complicated emotions, and managing stress—our callers’ and our own.
At the same time, customer expectations have evolved. People may be stuck at home, but their needs haven’t gone away, and they aren’t limited to one device or channel. Your customers want to access services and support wherever and whenever it’s most convenient for them. Chat is preferable to a call, for example, when you’re sharing a home office with your spouse or helping your kids stay focused on school. And although customers don’t demand perfection—are any of us even close to perfect right now?—they expect someone responsive, friendly, and empathetic on the other end.
All of this means it’s time to embrace new technologies and new ways of serving customers. Human connections don’t take only one form or happen in a single channel. For that reason, we’re developing new industry solutions. Look out for more services from Ruby in addition to phone and chat answering in the next few months.
How about you—how have you changed in 2020? What do you hope to achieve in 2021?
No matter where you’ve been and where you’re going, I’d like to offer a recommendation:
- Double down on your purpose.
- Reinvest in your passion.
- Get yourself financed (one upshot of the COVID pandemic is that our banking industry is actually paying attention to small businesses).
- Build your online presence.
- Get your brand and mission out there.
Rather than waiting for your customers to find you, meet them where they are—with humanity, authenticity, and integrity.
You don’t have to do it alone, of course. Ruby will give you every possible at-bat with your customers and make sure you never miss a call, chat, or opportunity to create a meaningful connection.
Your passion and purpose got you this far. Be bold and dream big. You made it through 2020, after all. Nothing can stop you now.
With love and gratitude,