Customer story: Craig Rashkis, Farwell Rashkis LLP

As a trusted attorney for clients with business, real estate, and estate planning matters, Craig Rashkis of Farwell Rashkis LLP understands the value of individualized service. That’s why, when business grew and his team started receiving more calls than they could personally handle, Craig turned to Ruby.

We spoke to this long-time customer about why he relies on Ruby to connect with his clients, as well as how our virtual receptionist solution ensured an easy transition to running a virtual practice.

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Read the interview.

Jill McKenna: Hello. Thanks for joining me today. I am Jill McKenna, the Brand Manager here at Ruby, and I’m delighted to be speaking today to Craig Rashkis. Craig is a partner at Farwell Rashkis, LLP. Craig, do you mind telling us a little bit about what you do and what your work is?

Craig Rashkis:
Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me Jill. It’s a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak with you and talk a little bit about Ruby, and the services, and how we utilize it, and our thoughts on all that. But I’m a lawyer, and I’m a partner in the law firm of Farwell Rashkis. We are a general civil law firm and we represent businesses, families, and individuals, and what I tend to say are the big three areas of business, real estate, and estate planning, and we provide representation in both transactional and litigation situations.

Jill McKenna:
I imagine with so much that’s changed in real estate and business over this last year and a half, that you all have maybe seen an increase in business and maybe an increase in the kind of client service that you provide.

Craig Rashkis:
You know, it’s interesting. I think as everybody in the entire world wondered a little over a year ago, what did the future hold, we wondered the same. And initially when all the shutdowns occurred … Well number one, I think like again most everybody we did make a shift to working from home. In California, where our firm’s located, we were classified as an essential worker due to the type of matters that we handle, so we could be a little more fluid. We could be in the office or work from home, but we definitely did work home.
And I’m happy to say that we … Well, that move in general, being able to work from home, really was seamless when we reflect on our use of Ruby. Because, as you well know, a client of Ruby can be anywhere and the service still works, and you don’t have to be in your office. We actually run all of our communications off of our cell phones so, again, we’re very portable, very mobile. And I think we could say it’s one of the highlights I think for us because we’ve been a client with Ruby for at this point a very long time, at least in our eyes, a little over a decade, it was just confirmation really of how valuable the service is to us.

Jill McKenna:
What’s the main problem that you were trying to solve when you went searching for a solution like Ruby so long ago?

Craig Rashkis:
Well, I would say that there were two primary needs that we were seeking to address when we became aware of Ruby and then obviously we ultimately decided to use Ruby. And that was, we were trying to find a solution to literally just answer our incoming calls and do it in a way, the second part was really just do it in a way that had some personality to it and I think reflected the type of firm that we wanted to be at the time. I’d like to think that many of our clients would say that, yes, we’ve achieved this goal, and that is being personal. In fact, we tend to market ourselves from time to time as personal counsel, and it definitely has a meaning in the legal arena—not a formal one, but an informal meaning. But for us it is that idea of being personal, being approachable, and customer service, things like that. We knew initially when we started out, at the time it was just my law partner and myself, we knew that we would have the time to answer incoming calls as they came in. But we also I guess hoped, and we had a relative level of confidence, that at some point as we began to get traction and become successful and the practice got established, that there would be a point in time we wouldn’t be able to just answer incoming calls as they came. So I think as most diligent business owners, we were looking for that solution early on.

Jill McKenna:
How has Ruby improved your day to day? How has it solved the initial problems you thought it would, and how has it maybe grown with you?

Craig Rashkis:
Well, I think that now that our firm is established and we’ve grown, it isn’t just my law partner and myself, we have other lawyers who work with us, support staff. We get calls from an array of different people. On some days, or quote-unquote, we’re getting calls all day long, but some days we don’t. But the bottom line is, we get calls from current clients, prospective clients, other lawyers, courts, administrative agencies, expert witnesses, and consultants that we’re working with. I mean we even get calls from solicitors and misdials.

So that to us is a reflection of the fact that we’re established, we’re an established business, and people know who we are, and how to get to us, and all that. So having Ruby there has really become a seamless part of our firm’s daily function in the sense that we never think about or worry about how our phones are getting answered. When a prospective client calls Ruby will, through a series of questions or just interacting with that person, when they identify the caller as being a prospective client that actually gets formally earmarked and we get that… Well, we get it in an email.

But I think at this point we interact with mobile apps so much that we see that on the mobile app. It actually has an icon that says “Lead” on it, and that’s always nice to know. We see that, “Oh.” You can just recognize it from the icon that you’ve got potential new business. We have our own process for handling that, and it’s just nice that, again, Ruby’s providing a service that just works hand-in-hand in terms of allowing us to be as efficient as possible.

Jill McKenna:
That’s great. I love to hear that experience. You also touched on something else I think we’re really proud of as a benefit. When folks call into you, your clients or your perspective new clients call into you, with Ruby they don’t necessarily know that they’re not calling your office because we do have that sort of personal connection. We make a connection with the person, and it’s not obvious that they’re calling an answering service or anything like an answering service. There’s definitely the elevated aspect of client care there, which I as somebody who’s an advocate of small business, highly value. So I’m glad to hear that.

Craig Rashkis:
My quote-unquote funny story is, way back when we first started with Ruby, we had the option to have the receptionist literally say whatever we wanted them to say. And I know in large part that’s still the case. But what we actually did is, we had the receptionist just say, “This is Ruby.” Right? Somebody would call and they’d answer, the receptionist at Ruby would answer the phone and say, “Farwell Rashkis. This is Ruby. How may I help you?” I cannot tell you, for the first few years I think almost without exception, a client that had called our office even if it was more than one time and spoken to a receptionist with Ruby, and then inevitably came into our office maybe to sign some documents or to have a meeting, they would come in and they would look around and they’d say, “Well, where’s Ruby?”

And we would have to say, “Well, Ruby actually is not on site. Ruby is offsite in the state of Oregon.” And in the best kind of way, every time the client would react to that and say, “I can’t believe that.” They were amazed but, again, in kind of that wonderfully pleasantly surprised kind of way, that a remote reception service was so convincing that they were right there in the office. Even now even though as Ruby has grown and now the receptionists just use their own name, from time to time we still get that question. “Oh, you don’t… Where’s your receptionist?” And we still get to tell that story. But I think for the first few years, again, well almost every time we had somebody come in the office who had first called us they would always ask, “Where’s Ruby?”

Jill McKenna:
If folks want to find you all at Farwell Rashkis, where can they go to and where can they find out more?

Craig Rashkis:
We will have the new website up hopefully shortly, and you can find us on the web at FarwellRashkis.com. That’s all one word. It’s F-A-R-W-E-L-L-R-A-S-H-K-I-S.com, and always with anything if you do an internet search you’re bound to find us on LinkedIn, or some other forums, and other websites.

Jill McKenna:
Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time today. It’s just been a joy to speak with you, and I wish you all the best.

Craig Rashkis:
Thank you. My pleasure. Have a wonderful day.

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