When calling a business, do you prefer to leave a voicemail or have a receptionist relay your message? Your answer may differ from your neighbor’s! We suggest giving callers the choice between the two so that everyone’s a happy camper: “May I take a message or offer you voicemail?“
In the case of indecisive callers, we’ve got a solution for that, too! Virtual receptionist Macie G. shares her expertise:
“I had a caller the other day who asked whether a message or a voicemail would reach our client faster.
‘If you would like to leave her a voicemail,’ I said, ‘I will gladly take your name and let her know that you called. That way we can do our best to get you taken care of!’
It could be awkward when a caller doesn’t know whether they should leave a message with you or leave a voicemail. I find this phrasing makes it seem like you’re really going the extra mile – even though I’d be taking their name for an FYI notification anyway! Callers usually react well to this, but he was particularly impressed! He said,
‘As someone who works in customer service, I really appreciate the way you are handling my call. I am calling at 7:30 in the evening, it’s dark and rainy, and you are treating my call like it’s the most important thing in the world right now.’”
Sometimes, a small turn of phrase or offer of assistance can make a huge difference!
For more phrasing help from our top-notch receptionists, check out these Ask a Virtual Receptionist topics!
Receptionist Joni D.
Being a virtual receptionist is an unusual job; you get to talk to clients and callers all over the country about a range of topics, and you never know who’s going to be your next call. It could be someone calling to get more info on a product, someone having a bad day, a famous celebrity, or it could even be your neighbor from your hometown. It certainly keeps you on your toes!
But what’s the best part of being a virtual receptionist here at Ruby? I asked receptionist Joni D. just that question:
Getting to interact with so many people, I always find myself smiling. The opportunity to help someone, whether in a small way or a big way, is truly a blessing. I love my job!
We have so many opportunities to help throughout the day – and not just help, but really make a difference in how someone’s day goes!
What’s a phone answering technique that you’ve learned at Ruby that may have surprised you?
I was surprised by how effectively we’re able to calm frustrated callers. There’s a whole section of training on what to do when a caller is upset: we’ll listen carefully to them, restate what they’ve said, confirming we’ve heard them, and sympathize with them. We’ll also them know that we’ll relay the situation and urgency to the client, and it really allows them to feel like you are on their side. And when you let them know that you will do everything you can to make sure that they are taken care of, it can really make a difference.
Plus, it helps our clients be better informed when they take the call or receive the message. Ruby has a very thorough process for caring for callers who are having a rough day, and it feels good to be able to help!
I second this! We really do want to help whenever possible, and sometimes simply being able to comfort someone who’s going through a rough time can be incredibly rewarding!
Want to learn more about our techniques? Check out our Training Writer Phoebe Osborn’s blog post entitled Receptionist Etiquette Tip: 3 Steps to Turn a Tough Call Around!
We talk a lot about Fostering Happiness at Ruby® (it is one of our Core Values after all!), and we give our virtual receptionist team strategies to make our clients’ and callers’ days brighter. However, each Ruby is unique and each has their favorite way to make connections. In today’s feature, I asked virtual receptionist Ellie B. how she spreads cheer over the phone:
What’s your favorite way to make someone’s day?
My favorite way to make someone’s day is very simple: I like to wish them a good day at the end of our call. Our clients are very busy people – that’s why we’re here! By wishing them a good day, I usually get a thank you and they wish me a good day as well, and that puts a smile on my face, too. I feel like it ensures our clients that we do care about their day, and it reminds them that we are here to help make it a good one, too!
One small gesture can be a real mood booster! Sincerity shines – even through miles of telephone wire — and wishing someone well or genuinely asking how they are may make their day and yours, too!
Receptionist Rachel S.
Since our virtual receptionists sound like they’re in your office, every now and again they might answer a call from someone asking if their fax went through. It’s a tough question for someone not on-site, but revealing that we’re a virtual receptionist service isn’t going to help get them an answer. So how do we reply to callers inquiring about faxes? I asked virtual receptionist Rachel S. what she would do to help her caller.
What do you say when someone’s trying to confirm receipt of a fax?
I usually say, “Whom were you sending that to?” And when I hear the response, I’ll say, ”I am not near the fax machine, so I’ll check with her to see if she received it. May I have your name?” Then I’ll attempt to transfer the call to the person they were sending the fax to.
If the other party isn’t available, I’ll go back to the caller and say, “She is away from her desk at the moment. May I take your phone number, and I’ll ask her to give you a call to confirm that she received your fax?”
Even though our receptionists are remote, we have some phrases up our sleeves to get your callers the answers they’re looking for, in the warmest, most helpful way possible. After all, it’s the Ruby way!
For this Friday’s “Ask a Virtual Receptionist!” feature, we thought we’d shake things up a bit. For the most part, we’ve been answering questions about how our virtual receptionist team handles tricky questions politely and professionally or about how they’re able to sound like they’re sitting in your office, miles away.
Another thing our virtual receptionist service is known for is our ability to sound incredibly cheerful over the phone. In fact, virtual receptionist Marie R. recently wrote a guest post on her favorite tips for staying upbeat throughout the day, so I thought I’d ask another receptionist her thoughts on the subject.
Today, I picked virtual receptionist Amanda D.’s brain and asked her, “What’s your best advice for sounding cheerful on the phone?”
Amanda D.: “I like to smile as I’m talking; it instantly puts you in a good mood, and the client can hear the happiness in your voice. Also, asking someone a genuine, ‘How are you doing today?’ does wonders for creating a special bond. It opens up the door to more conversation and the ability to learn more about the client or caller!”
What’s your favorite way to boost your mood throughout the day? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Toni & the penguin that fellow Ruby LeAnna gave her
Our team of savvy virtual receptionists answer phones for a variety of businesses across the United States and Canada, and we pride ourselves on sounding like we’re actually in their offices. Occasionally, a caller may ask for us to physically go looking for someone in the business. While we cannot perform this task (without involving a plane, train, or very fast horse) we sure don’t want to leave them hanging! At Ruby® University, our receptionists have training on just this situation!
Mentioning that you’re with a virtual receptionist service may take the wind out of their sails, since traditional answering services can only perform limited tasks (sometimes even batching messages at the end of the day). They may think that we’re not familiar with the business and can’t do all the wonderful things we do (transferring calls live, emailing and/or texting messages immediately, answering FAQs, etc.). With this in mind, we try to frame things in a positive light and offer to help however we can.
To see the training in action, I asked virtual receptionist Toni H. how she would respond in this situation:
What would you say if a caller asked you to physically get up and go look for someone?
Toni: “I’m answering calls from a different office, but I’d be more than happy to try his line for you,” or, if I was unable to reach him or her, “I’m answering calls from a different office, but I’d be more than happy to take down a detailed message for you or connect you with his/her voicemail.”
There you have it! Whatever the question, our we’ll use our phrasing skills to make every caller’s experience top-notch!
Rubys Marie (left), Lianne, and Mercedes at this year's "100 Best Companies to Work For" awards
We’re proud to say that today’s guest poster is one of Ruby®‘s talented virtual receptionists, Marie!
“How are you are so perky?” Ask any virtual receptionist at Ruby, and she will surely tell you of a time when a caller or client asked her this very question. Our usual response is something about copious amounts of coffee, but I wanted to give a more comprehensive answer to this fabulous question. Personally, I draw energy from three main sources: Positivity, Health, and Community.
- Language is a powerful tool. Replacing drab words like “ok” or “sure” with WOW words, like “absolutely!” “fantastic!” and “certainly!” makes callers feel more cared for, and their happiness reflect back to you.
- Phrasing your sentences so that the caller knows what you CAN do keeps calls on the right track, and everyone stays up beat.
- Keeping your tone of voice cheery and helpful can create a positive atmosphere. To do this, simply smile while you speak. You’ll find that your tone of voice perks up as your lips curve up!
- Knowing ergonomically correct posture keeps my energy flowing in a positive direction. OSHA is a great resource and offers many solutions that I’ve seen Ruby employing such as wrist rests.
- Healthy snacking is another way I keep my energy levels up. We virtual receptionists know that talking on the phone and eating do not mix, so I make sure to have something munchable ready on each break.
- Being friendly isn’t unprofessional! Personalized notes and emails are a great way to make someone feel appreciated, which makes everyone involved more cheerful! We received one of these e-cards from a client recently, and it made our day!
- Lastly, I brighten my workspace with objects that make me smile. I keep special notes from my family and co-workers, along with a box of crayons for crafting fun cards:
What do you have at your desk that makes you smile throughout the day?
Virtual Receptionist Stephanie S.
At Ruby® Receptionists, our skilled virtual receptionists strive to relay the most accurate information possible while still sounding familiar and friendly. We have a lot of tools at our disposal to sound our best, not the least of which are keen instincts and a positive attitude. We are always looking for ways to make our clients’ days easier, and that could entail something as simple as taking a message.
Though we can customize what information we collect, most messages will include the caller’s name and phone number. Occasionally, a caller might say that the person has their number, which could potentially be confusing or inconvenient for our client. So how do we sound familiar with the caller and keep our client’s day going smoothly? I asked virtual receptionist Stephanie S. for her expertise.
What do you say if while you’re taking a message, someone says, “Oh, he has my number”?
Stephanie S.: “I usually say, ‘May I jot it down again, in case he doesn’t have it on him when he receives your message?’”
If the caller agrees, we’ll always read the phone number back, just to make sure it’s right. You get the most accurate info at your fingertips, and your callers are comforted knowing that their contact info is current and correct!
What are you most curious about in regards to our virtual receptionist service? Post your question in the comments below and one of our virtual receptionists would be delighted to answer it in our next “Ask a Virtual Receptionist!” post!