Virtual switchboard: swapping "tech-forward" for "customer-centric."

“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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