Improve Customer Experiences With Status Updates

Here at Ruby, we strive to make meaningful personal connections with all of your callers and provide them with the best experience possible. However, for Rubys to truly sound like in-house receptionists, it is important to keep your status updated throughout the day. When you let us know that you are unavailable for calls, we immediately follow your instructions on how to handle them. Expecting an important call? We can handle that too and only connect callers you’re expecting with a unique status.

We’re constantly enhancing our Ruby app tools and have recently released some enhancements to make it easier for you to let us know your availability (ie. your status!). 

3D Touch for Quick Status Updates
Let’s start with the home screen quick actions. Before you even click into the Ruby app, you can touch and hold the Ruby app icon for a convenient way to quickly update your status from your phone’s screen. You apply a little extra pressure to the Ruby app icon (more than you use for opening an app) and voila! You can view a list of available quick actions

Ruby App for More Complete Status Updates
If you have more complex instructions or simply prefer to go to the Ruby app to update your status, here are several ways to accomplish status updates.

  1. From the Ruby home screen, simply tap Hold My Calls and we’ll take messages until you’re back and can clear the status. 
  2. For more customization, click on My normal call-handling at the top of the screen. Tell us how long you’ll be away, what you want to relay to your callers, and if you’d like us to take messages or offer voicemail. Even schedule ahead for vacations, match a new status with an upcoming event on your calendar, or save a favorite status as a Shortcut to use over and over again.
  3. Alternatively, you can always tap Status at the bottom of the screen to view and adjust an active status, create a new one, integrate your calendar to hold calls during meetings or select View Shortcuts to view, edit, or create new status shortcuts.

 

We’re constantly working to make our services and features better for you, your customers, and your business! Stay tuned and be sure to check the blog for any future updates!

New Product Update: Call-Tagging

Prioritize Your Communications & Track Your Leads

As business owners, you often share with us that you have competing priorities and your time is one of your most precious resources. Ruby is excited to share our new Call-Tagging feature, which provides you with valuable call data insights. This new feature can help you focus your daily efforts on what matters most to you, whether it is contacting leads or following up with current clients.

Receptionists now identify each call with a tag, such as Lead or Current Client, and that information flows into our web and mobile apps, helping you to see the volume of those calls, and find them more easily.

This feature has launched with a small set of tags:

  • Lead
  • Current Client
  • Solicitation
  • Your company calling Ruby
  • Other

We plan to expand the tags as we hear from you on what additional tags would be most useful!

Prioritize Your Communication

The Ruby mobile app now highlights calls that are leads, ensuring you never miss an opportunity. On the dashboard and in the Activity Section, leads will have a visible lead tag. Armed with this insight, you can more easily prioritize which calls need your immediate attention.

Worried that you might have missed an important call from a current client? Head on over to the Activity Section where you can filter your activity by tag, and easily see calls from your current clients that you might have missed. Create a filtered list of just the types of follow-ups you want to focus on—whether that is a lead who left a voicemail, or current clients who left a message—and do that all while you are in your office or on the go!

Track Your Leads

Your dashboard on my.callruby.com now gives you a snapshot of your customer call activity for the last 7 days, helping you to quickly see if that new marketing investment, such as a Facebook ad, is driving new leads to your business.

Using the Activity Section on my.callruby.com, you can filter your activity to see all activity by a specific tag and in a specific period of time. Export your activity and overlay your own information on marketing dates and campaigns for deeper analysis and insight.

Use the “Current Client” tag to filter your activity to just current clients and see how your customer marketing might be driving engagement with your customers. Or use it as a to-do list by selecting the “Lead” tag to prioritize who to call to win business.

Ruby is excited to put more data in your hands to help you grow and run your business, and looks forward to your feedback on this new feature!

Ruby Hits 10,000!

When I founded Ruby Receptionists more than 15 years ago, my initial goal was to help small businesses become more efficient by “offloading” their phone duties. As with most small businesses, those early days were both exciting and filled with gut-wrenching worry about whether the money would run out before the value of our service was discovered. Thankfully, we found a small but raving customer base who put their trust in us early on and were critical in helping us not only get the business off the ground but also revealed the true value of what we did – that by providing real human connections over the phone backed by excellent service – we could help small businesses grow.  We found that simply by being a friendly voice, providing great service and making connections that we could build trust, foster customer loyalty, and help our customers win new business. And that’s exactly what we, a small business, were aiming to do; just as the millions of small businesses around the world aim to do.

To this day, I still clearly remember signing up our first customer.  He asked me how many customers we served at the time, and my response was “we’re working up to 20”.  As a team of 600 people today, Ruby’s commitment and focus to serve our small business customers is just as strong as when we were a team of two.  Just as strong as when we were serving “up to 20” customers, and now, I’m grateful, humbled and thrilled to say, serving more than 10,000 small business customers! Today, 10,000 small businesses in different markets across the country – from attorneys to roofers to marketing firms to non-profits and everything in between – trust Ruby to be the frontline of their business.  And now with both receptionist and chat services, we can make great first impressions on their behalf over the phone and online.

I think, how did we do this? How did this all come together? I know the answer is simple. It’s our small business roots. It’s our humble, boot-strapped beginnings that shape every aspect of how we run our business and deliver our services.  It’s having come from being a small business that helps us to understand what the needs of our small business customers are. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit that we hold dear that runs deep in every corner of our now 4 locations, in both Portland and Kansas City. What was once a small, two-employee business answering phones in a tiny studio has flourished into what Ruby is today—an organization where all Ruby employees care not only about the growth of our small business customers but are inspired by the businesses we serve, share in the joy of their success, and commiserate on the inevitable tough days.  I didn’t consciously set out to focus our business on creating “WOW” experiences every day, but it was intrinsic to how we served customers, and over time, it became a defined core company value and a natural part of our DNA – because it worked!

Our 15 years of serving small businesses, along with our own small business roots, keep us connected to our customers and help us understand what keeps them up at night. It allows us to anticipate their needs before they even know they exist. I’ve never worn a more honored title than the one I held back then: Small Business Owner.

Every day I’m inspired by our customers, and I’m proud of our commitment to help in their success. Just as in the early days, this commitment brings a level of unity and pride in what we do every day – a collective effort to listen, learn and help. And in these ways, I hope Ruby is telling each and every one of our 10,000 customers, every day, “Thank You.”

The Perks of Porting

Have you ever wished you could return customer’s calls and text messages from your cell phone without sharing your personal number? With Ruby’s Choose Your Caller ID feature, you don’t need a second device or a VoIP service with spotty quality to do just that. By porting your business number to Ruby, having a business and personal number all in one device is finally possible (and super easy)!

When we host your business number, you can make calls and text from your business number on your cell phone through Ruby’s app (available for iPhone and Android). When you dial out or send a message with this feature, your contacts will see your business number and your cell phone number will stay private.

For small business owners, there is often little to no divide between work and personal life. With a Ruby-hosted number, you get to maintain a little separation in keeping your personal number private and driving call traffic to your company’s business line. Even when you’re out and about, calling from the app lets you maintain your professional presence from wherever you are. No need to be tied to in-office phone equipment or a second business-only cell phone. All you need to run your business is your personal device and the Ruby app!

In addition to the Choose Your Caller ID feature, having a Ruby-hosted business number empowers you to turn your Ruby service on and off with a single tap in the Ruby app. Forward and unforward your calls to align with the rhythm of your daily schedule, or quickly activate your receptionist service to accommodate life’s surprises.

Curious to learn more about the power of porting? Reach out to our Customer Success team to get all of the details!

 

New Ways to Stay Connected: Texting and Voicemail Transcription

When we asked our customers what features they would most like to see from Ruby, there were two very clear frontrunners—the ability to text from their business number and read their voice messages. We heard that together, these features would streamline the flow of communication and save time for our busy customers, helping them focus on growing and running their businesses. Today we couldn’t be more excited announce their release!

Texting isn’t just for friends and family anymore. It’s fast, familiar, and convenient, so it’s no surprise that today’s consumers want to do business through texting as well. With the Ruby mobile app you can use the cell phone you already have to send and receive SMS messages from your business number, giving you one more method to engage your existing customers and win new ones. The best part? You’ll never have to share your direct cell number with the outside world unless you want to, so you can keep your personal number private while you run your business. Texting is available in the Ruby mobile app to the Ruby account administrator, and it is included in all Ruby plans.

Speaking of running a business, every moment counts in the busy world of entrepreneurship. A few seconds here, a minute there. They add up! With Ruby’s Voicemail Transcription feature, you’ll be able to read your voicemails and see which ones are important before you spend time listening to them, helping you focus on the things that matter most. Voicemail Transcription is available in the Ruby app and my.callruby.com for all new voice messages.

We’re constantly building new products and features that will make your day run smoothly and help you stay connected to your customers, and we certainly aren’t done yet! Stay on the lookout for these and other exciting changes from Ruby.

 

Improvements to Your Ruby Call Activity

Here at Ruby, we’ve made some exciting changes based on customer feedback to bring even more call data to your fingertips.

Next time you check the app or website, you’ll see all outbound and forwarded calls right alongside your receptionist handled activity. That’s right! Every business call record in one place.

We’ve made it easier than ever to see your latest activity at a glance by showing the caller’s name, call type, and a timestamp on the Home screen of the app, as well as the site’s dashboard!

And not only that—we’ve simplified the app’s navigation and brought forward a feature that customers are using most—the dialpad. Look for it in the bottom center of your screen.

Check it out!

Of course, we couldn’t be happier to bring you these updates, but we won’t stop there! We know that for many small businesses, texting is an essential communication strategy and a growing trend. To ensure our customers have everything they need to stay connected, we’re launching the ability to text from your business number in the coming months. Stay tuned for this announcement, and much more!

Happy Calling!

Download our Mobile App

Download the Ruby iphone app Download the Ruby android app

Lessons Learned: Ruby’s 15 Years

Ruby Receptionists Birthday

June 2, 2018, marks 15 years in business for Ruby® Receptionists and I can hardly believe it. I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing customers and employees who brought us to this milestone! To celebrate our anniversary, I’m sharing some pivotal lessons I have learned during each of these wonderful years. Whether you’re running a business, prepping to launch a startup, or dreaming of an entrepreneurial future, I hope these reflections help you on your journey!

2003: Great service really does win business.

When I started Ruby, I really did think we were here to help small businesses by taking an essential task (answering and handling phone calls) off their plates. Having been a receptionist myself in a former career, I thought being nice, listening, and doing whatever we possibly could to provide a helpful experience was simply table stakes to answering phone calls. But our customers spoke early and often—they let us know the Ruby caller experience was making a difference in their business’ success. They stuck around and referred new business to us. Today, customer referrals remain the top source of customers for us, and it brings me great personal joy to know we are helping other businesses grow by keeping alive that personal caller experience.

Bonus lesson: Don’t put your coffee machine, your microwave, and your telecommunications server on the same circuit.

2004: Cash and financial management is a matter of survival.

As much as we were off to the races with our WOW-worthy service, those first couple of years trying to get to scale were rough, and there were a few payroll runs that left mere pennies in our checking account. Had we waited for an outside bookkeeper to finish doing the books to know where we stood each month, we might not be here today.

When it was a matter of business life and death, I practiced daily cash management. Managing the timing of our cash outlays, projecting our inflows, knowing our break-even points, and understanding the difference between income on the books and positive cash flow were all part of this rigorous, business-saving process. Ruby #2, Paddy McCaffrey-Allen, still teases me today about my passionate plea to not buy “even one pencil!” I know many of you are in that cash-critical ramp-up stage and rely on us to deliver value that exceeds our price. Our recent phone number feature additions were designed to help you eliminate a phone bill, and we are working to add more customized packages this year to more closely match your needs.

2005: Ask your employees for feedback.

You might know Ruby as an award-winning employer of choice, having been recognized nationally for years as a great place to work. I confess that wasn’t always the case. It took us until year three to conduct our first ever employee survey. I was so nervous! As a small business owner, the thought of someone not feeling valued at my company felt personal. But at the urging of an employee, I did it. And, while it was hard to read some of the comments, it served as the beginning of the journey to becoming the employer we are today.

The big takeaway from the survey was to regularly make sure each employee knew how they were making a difference—in the lives of our callers and customers, and in the success of Ruby. And the impact of employees who feel valued in the work they do? Strong employee retention and an aligned workforce fired up to deliver on the mission.

2006: Surprise! Other business owners are going through the same challenges that we are.

Being a business owner can be a lonely experience. We bear the weight of the success of our organization and the livelihood of our employees. When faced with challenges, it’s not always appropriate to confide in our staff, and our friends with stable, paying jobs don’t seem to relate. Don’t you sometimes feel that someone, somewhere, has already figured out the solution to the problem you’re facing? That was me. But in 2006, I found my peer group by joining the Entrepreneurs Organization, and it was a game-changer. They serve as an informal business advisory board, and getting an up-close look at some of the challenges other business owners face means I get to learn from their experiences.

Bonus lesson: Put your domain name on auto-renew!

2007: KPIs and company dashboards help ensure your customers, employees, and financial stakeholders are all being considered.

If you are ever in Portland and come by for the Ruby tour, ask someone to show you our performance dashboards. It surprises many that a company so focused on people and service is out front with data measurement and performance benchmarking. But here’s the thing: our dashboards are a critical tool to ensure we are delivering what we intend to our customers and our employees. In 2007, KPIs and dashboards were foreign to us. It was only after a desperate plea by our overworked receptionists that I dug into the data. There, I discovered we had grown our customer count far faster than our employees to support it, and our service and employee happiness were suffering.

Today, our dashboards are built with a “balanced scorecard” approach, measuring performance, service quality, customer happiness, and employee happiness all on the same page. When red, our KPIs aren’t meant to be punitive, but just like the warning lights on your car’s dashboard, a red KPI signals that a key function might be out of whack, and this alert can save us from a breakdown.

Bonus lesson: Mistakes are the fertile ground of innovation!

2008: Another reminder that customers and businesses alike truly value personal connection and will support businesses that make them feel heard.

Ahhhhh, 2008. I’m guessing many of you have your own make-or-break stories of the great economic downturn of our lifetime. And since this is a 15-year celebration piece, you can guess how it turned out for us.

But back then, I truly didn’t know if Ruby was going to survive. The Dow was on its crazy decline towards a loss in value of 65%, and our economic outlook was downright scary. The question I ended up asking was not, “how are we going to survive,” but, “If we’re going down, how do we want to be remembered?” Turns out, the answer to both questions was the same: that in this intensely stressful time for business owners and employees alike, in an era where cost-cutting measures all but eliminated good customer service in other companies, we lived to make a difference in the lives of others through kind, caring, personal interactions. Our employees rallied, and we stepped up our service to find ways to show our customers that we were on their team, that their success was our success, and that there would always be a friendly voice on the other end of the line to help them get through the day.

2009: Know what you stand for and surround yourself with people who are aligned with that mission.

The strategy of 2008 serves as the pivotal lesson of our 15-year life. We grew our customer count 30% in 2009. We took those lessons, and from them, built our formal mission, vision, and values. You can read them here. Today, those guiding principles help us attract and retain employees. They help us make business decisions. And they help us stay focused on delivering our customers the service they expect and deserve.

2010: Every touchpoint matters.

One day, as I was deeply engaged with whatever was on my computer screen, I was interrupted by a knock on my open office door. I looked up to find not a fellow Ruby, but an acquaintance and potential customer standing in the doorway. “Funny,” he said. “The receptionist company has no receptionist. I wandered around your office to eventually find you without so much as a ‘hello!’”

Ouch! That day, I realized your brand and your vision don’t just show up in the service you provide. It shows up everywhere: how you greet people in your office, how your website looks, how your physical office looks, and even how you and your employees show up in the community. Longtime Ruby and customer experience evangelist Christina Burns, our VP of Customer Success, wrote an awesome e-book on how to ensure every communication across many of your touchpoints are delivering a great experience. You can find that here.

2011: Investing in technology is critical to delivering service at scale.

In 2011, we launched ROS, the software that allows our Ruby receptionists to deliver our uniquely personal caller experience. Back in the day, we had to rely on our fading memories and charming personalities to deliver great service. But we all know that has limits. ROS enables us greet callers with the right time of day no matter the time zone of our customers, and whispers in our receptionists’ ears to ensure we are pronouncing your company names properly. Today, it’s integrated with your calendars and contact lists through our mobile app, so we know just how to treat your callers, when and where to transfer callers, and what information to gather when you’re not taking calls.

Bonus lesson: Switching your entire tech platform and physically moving your business all in three weeks’ time can wreak havoc on employee morale.

2012: Incent, Inspire, and Empower your employees to deliver your mission at scale.

This blog post sums up our employee engagement philosophy perfectly!

2013: The achievement of a long-term goal can be accomplished with clear metrics, a path, and a team who is aligned and focused.

Back in 2008, our team did a vision exercise: What would Ruby look like at 10x our current size? What would our culture look like? Our offering? How many employees would we have? Customers? What would our jobs look like? Our benefits? The vision exercise was followed by another exercise to explore what it might take to achieve that vision. Those two exercises created an excitement towards achieving the vision of growing 10x, and the strategy and execution path to get there. Then, we worked the plan and achieved a goal that five years earlier felt like a fantasy. For those of you who like the sounds of this, Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits remains my favorite small business strategic planning resource book.

2014: Choose your investors wisely.

In 2014, I decided to explore selling part of the company to an outside fund. While we had many suitors, I was uber-paranoid about what might happen to our culture, our customers, and our people. So, I resisted my natural full-speed-ahead entrepreneurial tendencies and took the time to really get to know the interested parties and how they operated. In the end, the decision was much more than financial. It hinged on the belief that the future of Ruby—its customers, its services, and its employees—was in better hands with the right financial partner (Updata) than if we had continued to go it alone.

2015: The right investor can provide WAAAAY more than capital.

Wow. A whole new world opens up when you have the backing of a reputable investment firm. Connections with other CEOs. Access to data benchmarking. Generous access to expertise. The ability to attract senior talent. Even an ear to listen to your biggest challenges. I took a bet that Ruby would be in better hands with UpData than if we had continued to go it alone, but I really didn’t know the extent of it. Taken with the lesson of 2014, the right investor can bring far more than just growth capital.

2016 Just when you thought you had it all figured all out, you find yourself at the beginning of a learning curve.

Some lessons are more humbling than others. 2016’s lesson was one of those. I had to learn how to lead all over again. Ruby had grown and changed, and I was still leading like the scrappy entrepreneur that got us through the early years—namely by being in everyone’s business. But as you grow, and you are lucky enough to hire people that are smarter than you in their respective disciplines, that’s a recipe for watching talent walk out the door. One of the great thought leaders on culture-powered businesses, Paul Spiegelman, nudged me to tell this story on a pretty big platform. You can read the story here.

Bonus Lesson: That’s OK.

2017: The business phone call is more important than ever.

I’ve been asked more than once if I ever imagined running a business with hundreds of employees back when I started Ruby. And truthfully, back in 2003, I wasn’t even sure the phone call would be a means of communication 15 years later. But here we sit, with business phone calls not on the decline, but on a rapid ascent—driven by the rise in mobile search and an “instant answer” culture. And phone calls aren’t just on the rise; they’re more important than ever. One study reported that 80% of callers are likely to become repeat customers after a positive phone experience. With phone calls having the best success rate for converting leads into customers, I can say with confidence that the phone call is the most important touchpoint of the buyer customer journey.

2018: We’re just getting started.

Through the ups and downs, the millions of phone calls, and the thousands of businesses served, my passion for helping small business succeed through meaningful human interaction is as strong as ever. You are the driver of job growth and the backbone of the American economy. You’re where we go when we want to do business with someone who cares. Thank you for your business. Here’s to the next 15!

Ruby Corps: Philanthropy at Ruby Receptionists

Philanthropy at Ruby Receptionists

Here at Ruby®, our mission is to preserve and perpetuate real, meaningful connections in an increasingly technology-focused, virtual world. Creating Community lies at the heart of the matter, and we strive to connect Rubys to one another, and Ruby to the world.

Philanthropy is a natural extension of what it means to be connected. With a true desire to see our community flourish, we launched Ruby Corps.

A program designed to provide Rubys with an opportunity to volunteer their time, Ruby Corps is a people-powered initiative currently partnering with three local nonprofits. Our partners were selected based on an employee survey, and the question posed was simple, “What nonprofit or cause resonates with you?”. The responses illuminated hunger, education, and homelessness as our collective focus. With this, we set to work finding nonprofits that align with our purpose.

Our Partner Charities

  • Oregon Food Bank collects food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. They distribute food through a statewide network of 21 Regional Food Banks and approximately 970 partner agencies serving all of Oregon and Clark County, Washington.
  • REAP Since 2001, REAP has emerged as one of the stellar youth development program models in the State of Oregon. Commonly known for its ability to engage students and develop their leadership potential, REAP has become an essential resource to many business leaders, educators, elected officials, community advocates, and parents in preparing students for college and the workforce.
  • Portland Homeless Family Solutions empowers homeless families with children to secure housing and stay there long-term. They envision a community where no family experiences homelessness and receives the support and compassion necessary to thrive. Each year, they help 150 families with children find permanent housing.

How It Works

While Ruby is no stranger to philanthropic endeavors, the creation of Ruby Corps called for some serious goal-setting.

This year, our sights are set completing 500 volunteer hours. How will we do this? Through our people-powered culture, of course! Along with Ruby Corps, we have introduced a new employee benefit including eight hours of paid volunteer-time each year. With over 400 employees, we know we’ll knock this goal right out of the park!

Coupled with our willingness to dive in and get our hands dirty, Ruby offers financial support to our nonprofit partners. And in addition to our corporate donations, Ruby empowers employee giving with our matching program; we match all 501c3 employee donations up to $100 per year!

While we work with our partnered nonprofits, Ruby continues to support other causes close to our hearts. Each year we participate in the Adopt-A-Family program and host the Beaverton Education Foundation Phone Drive. In the event of natural or community disasters, we mobilize our efforts for donations and support.

Ruby takes pride in making personal connections and working a little magic to inspire and wow. Whether with our voices, hands, or time—working together to strengthen our community is central to Ruby’s mission.

Learn More About Working at Ruby

Give us a call!