By Austin Lindseyon in Marketing AgencySmall Business, About Ruby
Managed service providers (MSPs) and a variety of tech professionals gathered at the IT Sales and Marketing Bootcamp conference to talk business. The event boasted seminars delivered by prominent marketing consultant Robin Robins, and the opportunity to learn from peers within the tech industry. For the third year running, the Ruby® crew attended the event, eager to engage with fellow technology and service focused companies.
While chatting with MSPs, the value they place on quality customer service became clear. Most calls received by these companies are either current customers phoning in for technical support, or prospective customers seeking product information. While answering every call is an ideal practice for most companies, this isn’t always feasible.
Through our conversations with MSP business owners, the Ruby team was able to identify features of our service that prove especially valuable to MSPs striving to provide a delightful experience for their callers:
A live, remote receptionist to answer every call. Customers phone in to speak with a human, not an auto attendant. Greeting callers with a live and friendly voice is key in setting the stage for a trusting relationship. From the way we say hello to call-handling specifics, Ruby tailors our legendary service to the unique needs of each company we partner with. We strive to provide callers with the in-house experience they called for.
Accurate intake information. For customers in need of tech support, giving information to a real person leaves them feeling heard rather than wondering if a technician received their voicemail. Ruby can route calls or open support tickets through an open webform. By collecting accurate information for techs to follow up on, our receptionists help to streamline business efforts while creating memorable customer experiences.
Increased sales. A missed call is a missed opportunity. If a potential new client’s call goes unanswered, they may not wait for a call back before moving on to a competitor.
Having the opportunity to connect with tech professionals at the Marketing Bootcamp was a priceless experience. We were granted a view into how Ruby can help MSPs cultivate meaningful connections with their customers, growing their business one call at a time. This conference was one for the books!
But it’s the silent majority that, according to Gallup, offer “the greatest untapped opportunity for businesses to improve their performance and profitability.” These disengaged employees meet expectations, but lack the initiative or motivation to go above and beyond.
So, what’s the Ruby® recipe for keeping our employees engaged? Three simple principles: Incent, Inspire, Empower®. Through this three pronged approach, we keep the spirit of Ruby flourishing even as our company grows and our teams expand. “The goal,” as our CEO Jill Nelson wrote in the Small Giants Community blog, “is to make it second nature for everyone on staff to go above and beyond for customers in their own way.”
What does Incent, Inspire, Empower look like in action? Holly Smith, one of the cultivators leading Ruby’s WOW receptionists, uses our Incent, Inspire, Empower philosophy to tap into the potential of the individual through our connection to the bigger picture.
Incent is More Than a Reward
Incentives come in many forms at Ruby Receptionists. External motivators like our Core Values in Action Awards and our Five at Five sabbatical program are important opportunities to recognize the Rubys who make our WOW service a reality. These moments strengthen the Ruby community and allow us to practice the values that drive our company across all levels, Foster Happiness, Create Community, Practice WOWism, Innovate, and Grow. But cultivators like Holly know that the most effective motivator comes from within.
“Incent isn’t just about rewarding someone for doing a good job,” Holly says. “It’s about educating an employee so they understand how their work is instrumental to the success of the business.”
Every quarter, team leaders like Holly nominate receptionists who live and breathe our commitment to WOWism for the Legendary Service Award. These Legendary Receptionists are excel in every area of service, and we celebrate their contributions with a plaque and a bonus that recognizes the value they bring to our company.
As a longtime Ruby, Holly knows that the Legendary Service Award is more than just a milestone. The Legendary Service Award honors the core characteristics of an engaged employee, innovation and commitment. So when Holly encountered a team member who set her sights on the Legendary Service Award as the next stepping-stone in her path to success, Holly recognized a teaching moment that would have ripple effects far beyond the upcoming quarter.
Thought starter: How do you connect your employees to their contributions? Communicate that their work matters and be sure to articulate how it matters.
To encourage this driven team member to grow into a legendary receptionist, Holly “taught her about how Ruby Receptionists functions as a business.” By connecting the stellar service our receptionists provide with the experience of our callers and the material business needs of our customers, Holly challenged this receptionist to think about her role and her path in a different light.
Once this receptionist saw the big picture, she saw opportunity for growth. As Holly tells it, “[she] began to be excited and tell me about what she could do better. Each skill she learned lead to a new skill she could improve. She was inspired and empowered to use her abilities, intelligence, and past business experience to create a better company.”
Goal setting is an important practice in any area of life. But it’s also important not to let the future distract from the present. Our receptionists take pride in the WOWism they practice every day and take responsibility for their personal service delivery. When employees take ownership of their work, they proactively look for opportunities to grow.
Thought starter: How do you encourage your employees to take ownership over their work? Find a common goal and encourage them to forge their own way toward it.
The Ripple Effect of Empowerment
Empowering our teams to explore creative solutions is the foundation of exceptional customer service. Practicing employee empowerment isn’t limited to customer-facing interactions. By empowering our team leaders to practice their unique management style, cultivators like Holly are able to effectively lead our receptionists to reach their potential.
As Holly’s team member honed her service delivery and challenged herself to find new ways to WOW, she also grew into a leader who in turn empowers other Rubys to do the same. “She shares her experience and advice with other Rubys,” Holly says, “and is officially someone other receptionists can observe to learn from.”
We’re proud to share that this receptionist went on to earn the Legendary Service Award. What can we say? She learned from the best.
Thought starter: Do you foster a supportive work environment? Empower your employees to help each other at every level of the company.
Estate planning professionals gathered at Heckling to hear from experts in the field, learn all the ins-and-outs of the 2017 Tax Act and its practical implications, and explore tools and technology designed to help create outstanding experiences for their clients (like Ruby!). We heard from many attendees who really enjoyed the sessions, and we were delighted to be part of an important milestone: this year, Heckerling had its highest attendance yet!
We had the chance to mingle with other tech companies serving estate planning professionals, some of which were visiting Heckling for the first time. Here are a few standouts:
Legacy Concierge facilitates closing electronic accounts, including government, insurance, credit, merchant, banking, email, airline, and social media.
HomeLight uses sales data and reviews to find top real estate agents based on past performance. Their team describes HomeLight as “Moneyball for real estate.”
Directive Communications Systems (DCS) is an estate management solution that helps attorneys and personal representatives organize and contact personal accounts to fulfill an individual’s final wishes.
We were lucky enough to meet some Ruby customers in person, too—one of the biggest highlights of the trip! We snapped this selfie with Ruby customer Thomas K. Chu, who chatted with us a bit about how our live remote receptionist service helps him deliver the focused attention his clients are looking for. Another customer, Tiffany O’Conner, stopped by the booth to say hello and grab a photo with Austin.
Many thanks to the talented presenters and wonderful folks we met at Heckerling—we’re looking forward to next year!
By Shawna Nordmanon About Ruby,Small Business Tips
In a recent post for the Small Giants Community blog, Ruby® Founder and CEO, Jill Nelson underlines the value of creating a service-driven culture. “Whatever your line of work, a service-driven culture fosters happy customers and employees, and that translates to increased revenue and business growth,” she notes.
If your business is anything like Ruby, establishing a culture of service is table stakes. We take our service-delivery pretty seriously and we couldn’t offer the unparalleled level of service we’re known for without Incent, Inspire, and Empower®, our unique management philosophy.
Meet Rosy, Ruby’s first bilingual team leader
There is perhaps nothing more daunting in your career than to start a brand-new team from scratch. Not only that, but also to pioneer a first-time service offering and lead your team in meeting company-wide service standards in an entirely different language!
Bilingual Receptionist Cultivator, Rosy Rocha is the intrepid Ruby responsible for creating and maintaining Ruby’s Spanish service delivery. And she’s relied heavily on Incent, Inspire, and Empower to get her there!
“As a manager of a team and Ruby’s bilingual service, the IIE philosophy gives me the opportunity to genuinely practice situational leadership. It helps me know each team member a little better and supports me in keeping them motivated and engaged!”
Incentives in Action
At Ruby, we incent around the things that matter (i.e. the things that help us deliver on our mission and keep us living our core values). How? This question is really all about where we place our time and resources. So, on the most basic level, we are committed to compensating our staff well by offering competitive wages and top benefits.
We also recognize our employees and their accomplishments at every opportunity. And we make sure that these recognitions are directly linked to our mission, vision, and values. A great example of this recognition is Ruby’s Five-at-Five Sabbatical Program, which employees become eligible for after five years of service.
A sentiment to our newest core value, Grow, the program helps Rubys realize a dream they may not otherwise have the chance to realize. Given five weeks and a little seed money, our employees have lived some pretty incredible dreams.
These things are obviously company-wide, so how do you find ways to incent employees at the manger level? Give your leaders the tools to get creative!
Rosy recently found a great way to reach an employee who was struggling with their timeliness. “Using my ‘incent’ tool I promised this receptionist hand-delivered coffee for every two weeks they went without a timeliness incident. This is such a small treat, maybe $4-$5 every two weeks, but it really helps having something to look forward to.”
Bring it home: Think about your business. How do you provide company-wide incentives to keep your employees engaged with your mission? Challenge your leaders to find personal ways to incent their team members!
Inspiring by Example
Hearing about the success of others, or seeing it in action firsthand, keeps employees motivated to strive for their own success. Ruby’s dedicated compliment email inbox, werock, is inspiration central! Every compliment a Ruby receives is recorded and sent in an email to the entire company. These emails are an inspirational reminder of the direct impact our mission of creating personal connections has on the world.
But sometimes, seeing someone else succeed in the moment can bring the biggest inspirational, “ah-ha” moments. Rosy agrees. “When I find that I have a receptionist struggling with guiding callers confidently, I have them observe another person on the team who had that same challenge and is now thriving in their role. This also keeps that model receptionist inspired to be an example of what their newer teammates can strive for.”
Bring it home: Inspiration comes in many forms. Make sure to find the right storytelling or success-sharing avenues for your business and encourage your leaders to inspire by example!
Providing the Tools to Achieve
When you empower your employees to not only have big ideas but provide them with the tools to execute on them, they feel more engaged and you may just find the answer to a question you didn’t even know you had!
Ruby provides each employee with a bank of culture funds each year to make Ruby a better place and create community. The money is theirs and they can use it all at once, piece it out, or join others and contribute it to a bigger project. Employees have used these funds to contribute to Ruby’s culture with fitness equipment, kitchen gadgets, and a host of one-of-a-kind events.
Rosy recently faced a unique challenge to find resources for employees who wanted to improve their Spanish. To help with this challenge, she called on one of her employees with an extensive background as a Spanish interpreter. “I know that using this experience makes her proud and fosters her happiness at work. I empowered this employee to brainstorm a solution to help those wanting to improve their bilingual skills. She now is the proud leader of Ruby’s Spanish Club. Knowing that she is empowered at Ruby to host her meetings in our office, to set her own schedule and style; she’s been able to foster her vision of the Ruby Spanish Club. And innovated a solution to one of my biggest struggles!”
Bring it home: What tools can you provide your employees to help them execute on their big ideas? Faced with a particularly sticky challenge? Think of ways you can involve your employees in the brainstorming process!
This post appears as part of our Incent, Inspire, and Empower series, where we share personal stories from Ruby’s leaders. You can catch last month’s post, Managing Mangers, here.
At Ruby, we’re always looking for ways to help streamline life for small business owners. Entrepreneurs are busy people after all, so anything we can do to save you time, effort, or money is a winner. The Choose Your Caller ID feature in the Ruby mobile app does just that by letting you pick which caller ID to show when making calls from your cell phone.
So, how does this help? The ability to show your company’s caller ID on cell calls makes it possible to eliminate your traditional phone bill, helping you cut monthly costs. No need to be tied to in-office phone equipment or a second business-only cell phone. All you need is your personal device and the Ruby app!
If you’re not ready to cut the cord just yet, this feature can still make your life easier. For small business owners, there is often little to no divide between work and personal life. With the Choose Your Caller ID feature, you get to maintain a little separation in keeping your personal number private and driving call traffic to your company’s business line instead of your cell. Even when you’re out and about, calling from the app lets you have that business presence from wherever you are.
If you’ve ever made a WiFi call, you’re probably familiar with the spotty connections and dropped interactions that are associated with them. We built the Choose Your Caller ID feature to send calls over the traditional cell carrier network, not WiFi, which translates to the best possible connection and sound quality.
Save the extra phone bill, keep your cell number private, and make business calls from anywhere using the latest Ruby mobile technology! Choose Your Caller ID is included in the standard Ruby service offering and available to all Ruby customers by installing our Android or iPhone app. Every Ruby customer automatically gets a business number to call from, but we’re happy to host any number you like. Just give us a call at 866-611-7829 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get set up!
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is in full swing, and with a little help from Ruby® Receptionists, you can accomplish a heck of a lot before ringing in 2019! In addition to answering calls live in English or Spanish, creating meaningful connections, and helping you build a reputation for stellar customer service, our charming receptionists are delighted to:
Make outbound calls. Why not check a few items off your to-do list? We’ll gladly make calls to inform your clients you’ll be out of town, reschedule appointments, confirm appointments, or even make dinner reservations! Ruby empowers you to delegate the busy work, so you can focus on what matters most.
Switch gears at a moment’s notice. Headed to a long lunch? Leaving early for the day? Update your status to enjoy some uninterrupted free time—all while knowing your callers are in good hands. Create temporary instructions on the go with our mobile app, or email us or give us a ring!
Relay details, so your callers are always informed. Closing your office for a well-deserved holiday break? We’ll be sure to let callers know: “The office is closed, but Ms. Entrepreneur will be happy to return your call on January 3!”
Ensure urgent info gets to you right away, even during vacation. Want to enjoy some R&R, but need to be reached when that important client calls? Just let us know and our talented team will make it happen.
Add a little holiday cheer to your caller experience. If you’re feeling especially festive, say the word and we’ll be happy to welcome your callers with “Season’s Greetings!” or “Happy New Year!” in place of your usual greeting. And if you’d like to update your voicemail greeting to include your best rendition of Jingle Bells, just log in to make a change—or let us know and we’ll be happy to record a new message for you.
And if you’re not a Ruby customer yet, now’s the perfect time to get started and set your business up for a stress-free holiday season and a successful 2019!
By Shawna Nordmanon About Ruby,Small Business Tips
Ruby® Founder and CEO Jill Nelson recently wrote a piece for the Small Giants Community blog sharing how Ruby has built a culture of service over the years. The key to doing the same in your business? Your leadership style.
Incent, Inspire, and Empower® is Ruby Receptionists’ management philosophy. It’s how we create true commitment and ensure each employee is poised to succeed by delivering on our mission to preserve and perpetuate real, meaningful connections in our increasingly technology-focused virtual world.
This philosophy ensures that our employees own their personal service delivery and are encouraged to think outside the box. There’s no idea too big, no risk too daring. Sounds great in theory. What about in practice? Ruby’s employee engagement score from spring of 2017 shows the proof is in the pudding. The results indicated that over 90% of Ruby’s employees were highly engaged and engaged.
So, how do you encourage your leaders to inspire with this mindset?
The Most Crucial Employee Touchpoint
A Gallup study from a few years ago notes that “managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.” If you’re unfamiliar with Gallup, they are a research-based consulting company whose bread and butter is measuring trends in employee behavior and attitudes. They also publish the State of the American Workplace report. This crucial manager-employee relationship is the driving force behind Incent, Inspire, Empower.
“To me, it means encouraging our leaders to go above and beyond regularly for their receptionists because they want to, not because they have to,” says Ruby Cultivator Coach, Desi Vigil. (Cultivator is the title for our receptionist team managers.) “We’ve created a culture here at Ruby where every individual is caring, supportive, and willing to push themselves to think outside the box when it comes to going above and beyond for their team.”
Incenting Around the Stuff that Matters
It all starts with providing your managers a solid foundation to support their own service delivery when it comes to their teams. In the case of incenting employees, Ruby makes sure to incent around the things that really matter to us.
A great example is Ruby’s Core Value in Action Awards. These awards celebrate those Rubys who are living our core values in exceptional ways. Why is this important? Our core values make us who we are. They are what drive us. That’s why we incent our employees with company-wide recognition for truly remarkable examples of our core values in action.
Following this example, our leadership team is empowered to incent their employees, both as a team and on an individual basis. Desi recalls a particular situation where a Cultivator came to her for advice on ways to incent a team member for going the extra mile to work on accuracy goals.
“My Cultivator had great ideas, but they were all around food, treats, gift cards, etc. Those things are great (and necessary at times), but I encouraged them to think of other ways they could incent this individual.”
To Desi’s point, it’s tempting to assume that incentives always include food, money, or other tangible rewards. Yet, some of the most impactful incentives have nothing to do with “stuff.”
Your Turn: What matters most to your company? Provide your leaders with the tools to incent their employees on the things that lead back to your mission, your vision, and your values.
We’ve learned (and the research shows) that employees want to feel a sense of purpose and understand the difference they make. Sharing stories of our success and demonstrating Ruby’s sweeping impact are how we aim to inspire.
On a foundational level, Ruby has several storytelling platforms that we support internally to inspire our employees. From a dedicated email inbox for compliments to an internal blog featuring stories of employee success, storytelling is a huge part of Ruby’s culture.
For Desi, an inspired employee “shares their stories of triumph with their peers and congratulates others on their successes.” This creates a culture where employees build each other up and become their own biggest champions.
Your Turn: Are your leaders modeling the behavior you hope to see in your employees? Encourage your team to lead by example and find ways to share the stories of employees who are getting it right.
Empowered to Forge Your Own Path
Empowering your employees is all about getting out of the way and letting them work their magic. At Ruby, we use well-made processes to create reliability, efficiency, consistency, scalability, and accountability. These foundations are the nuts and bolts that keep the company running smoothly.
But Ruby wouldn’t be Ruby without our amazing people! Empowering our people to break the rules and use their unique personalities and talents to deliver on our mission is what sets us apart.
Desi’s job is to empower our leaders to empower their team members, encouraging them to find unique ways to deliver on our mission. At the end of the day, it’s all about trust. Empowered employees feel trusted to make decisions and are given the tools and resources to execute. These tools include everything from the technology they use to our feedback processes.
A little trust goes a long way! The last thing you want to do is constrict your staff with policies, procedures, and scripts they must follow. Take a step back, empower your employees to succeed, and encourage them to make their own mark on your company’s culture.
Your Turn: At Ruby, we use systems and standards to create a foundation that incents, inspires, and empowers Ruby employees to use their own personalities to live out our mission. What will you do next to improve your own management style?
This post appears as part of our Incent, Inspire, Empower series, where we share personal stories from Ruby’s leaders.
At Ruby, we’re passionate about continuously delivering enhancements and new features that are important to our customers. So when we hear customer feedback, we perk up! Today we’re excited to introduce a redesigned home screen for the Ruby mobile app based on input from you, our customers. When you update to the latest version of the Ruby iOS or Android app, you’ll find exciting changes that make it easier to update your status and check your missed calls, all from the Home screen.
We heard that you want a quick and easy way to change your status at the drop of a hat. Say hello to the Hold Calls button! Tap it once to hold your calls until further notice, and receptionists will take messages or offer voicemail until we hear from you again. Tap Clear to go back to your regular call handling instructions at any time. Don’t worry, you can still include additional status details, just like before. Tap on your current status to add any details you’d like. The Hold Calls button is our first step in making status simple enough that you can change it while walking down the street.
Next, we updated the buttons for unread messages and unread voicemails. Having two buttons just created an extra step, so we combined the buttons into one. Now, one tap shows you a list of unread messages and voicemails.
And there you have it—same Ruby app, only better, all thanks to you! If you’ve never tried the Ruby app, it is available for your iPhone and Android devices on the App Store and Google Play.
Do you have an idea for a new app feature? Tweet us @callruby and let us know!