Ruby Goes to Bootcamp

marketing agency answering service

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!

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Incent, Inspire, Empower: Creating Engaged Employees in a Virtual World

Creating Engaged Employees in a Virtual World

A recent Gallup analysis found that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged with their work. According to Gallup’s definition, engaged employees feel a profound connection to their work that drives innovation. In fact, this select group is more likely to see above-average productivity rates by an impressive 38%. The numbers speak for themselves–employee engagement is a valuable investment with the potential for big payoffs, no matter what stage your company is at.

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

Holly S., Cultivator

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.

Inspire Growth

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.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy on International Happiness Day

RubyReceptionists Service Pyramid

With titles like “Problem Solver & Happiness Maker,” “Service Kickstarter & Happiness Builder,” and “Happiness Cultivator,” International Day of Happiness is one of our Customer Happiness team’s favorite holidays!

While the Customer Happiness team goes through rigorous and continual training to ensure we’re prepared to support our customers and program beautiful instructions, a desire to fulfill our core value of Foster Happiness is something that can’t be taught. Here’s our manifesto:

We are a league of superheroes. We are leaders, advocates, and friends, who are masters of sharing Ruby® magic. We believe in simple and creative solutions. We embrace change and celebrate innovation, teamwork, and tacos. We act with integrity and assume charitable intentions. Together, we define, embody, and elevate the standards of world-class service.

Each of us is here because we have a calling to make people happy—and that extends to our customers, callers, and colleagues. We do this with help from the Ruby Service Pyramid®.
The base of the pyramid is Be Prepared with the Right Infrastructure. Our Kickstarter team works hard to ensure that our new accounts start off on the right foot by programming beautiful instructions for receptionists and providing new customers with everything they need to know about getting started with Ruby.

Next up, Do What We Say We’ll Do. Problem Solvers & Happiness Makers own the customer experience once they’re all signed up. If a customer needs us to start handling a new type of call, we’re there to program those instructions in a way that will remain consistent for our receptionists. If there’s ever a mistake or a misunderstanding, we’re there to ensure that those are corrected, and the root of the concern is resolved.

Foster Happiness is so important to us that it’s both a core value and a level of the Service Pyramid!

Customer Happiness is also there to Create Experiences. Receptionists reach out to Customer Happiness every day, to connect customer calls our way and to alert us of any updates that might need to be made. While Customer Happiness is located in a separate office, we make it our mission to connect with receptionists to create one large community as a company. This might be as simple as including a cute cat photo in my email reply, or sending a handwritten notecard to let that one receptionist who always makes me smile know that I’m thinking of them.

Moving our way up the pyramid, we find Give Them What They Don’t Even Know They Want. Let’s say we just added a new instruction to ask callers a few new questions when taking a message. Rather than adding the instruction and leaving it at that, our customer might get a call from the Problem Solver they worked with a few weeks later, just to check in and see how those changes are working out. It’s more than a passive exchange, it’s a full-circle conversation that the customer didn’t see coming.

If we’ve fostered happiness by mastering the Service Pyramid, then we reach the very top—Make Meaningful Connections. This is my favorite piece. There’s a customer I sent a handwritten notecard to as a receptionist back in 2016, just thanking them for making my day. This customer not only reached out through work channels to thank me, but stayed in touch personally after learning we had a few friends in common. To this day, we write each other now and then just to check in. He sends me articles that he knows I’ll be interested in, and I share pictures of events I attend with our mutual friends.

Now, this won’t happen on every call, every email, or even every face-to-face meeting. But the relationship and friendship I’ve built with this customer is the Customer Happiness special sauce—we foster happiness by taking a genuine interest in the lives of our customers and each other.

So, on this International Day of Happiness, I ask you to not only think of something that makes you happy, but take that and share it with someone else.

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WOW Story: Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

At the beginning of winter, we are often more likely to welcome the crisp air, pulling our coziest sweaters and softest mittens from the depths of our closets. By February we start dreaming of a little more sun and a lot more warmth.

Ruby customer, Gwendolyn was stuck with a bad case of the winter blues. Who could blame her? She woke up one morning to a 31-degree day in North Carolina, a state with a typically temperate climate.

On this particularly frigid morning, she spoke with receptionist, Tyzoe. Gwendolyn mentioned that she was feeling pretty chilly and was finding it hard to be her natural, positive, upbeat self. Tyzoe asked Gwendolyn to do her best to stay warm and wished her well.

Of course, Tyzoe being a Ruby, this wasn’t the end of the story. Tyzoe jumped on Amazon and picked out a super-soft Snuggie to keep Gwendolyn toasty until spring.

Gwendolyn was truly touched by Tyzoe’s thoughtfulness and she reached out to show her appreciation. Her words speak not only to how amazing Tyzoe is but what an impact Ruby has had on Gwendolyn and her law practice.


A Warm Hello Tyzoe,

I arrived at my office to see a gift waiting for me. Now, who doesn’t love gifts? I am absolutely overcome with gratitude and joy. Thank you for the Snuggie. I love it, love it, love it. I have known from day one that I struck gold with Ruby Receptionists. My one wish in life is that I live my life in such a way that I am found worthy. I see in you the character that I behold. Being a lawyer isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. You too, are much more than your role at Ruby. I carry your kindness with me always.

And yes…

It is still cold. I know this beautiful Snuggie will not leave my side. ❤

Sincerely,
Gwendolyn


Fantastic work, Tyzoe! Your story has warmed my heart. (Pun totally intended!)

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Your Service Superpower with Christina Burns

Customer Service Superpower

Last month, Ruby’s VP of Customer Success, Christina Burns, visited the International Roofing Expo to talk about service as a superpower.

I know that might sound odd, focusing on customer service at a roofing event. But customer service is key—no matter your industry.

Consider this.

Jane Doe needs a new roof. She pulls up a directory, or a list of recommendations provided by friends, and starts working her way down. One business doesn’t answer the phone, one is rude, and the third business is warm and inviting.

Which one do you think she pursues? The third business of course—and she hasn’t even talked about prices or quality yet!

In her presentation, Christina talks about three important superpowers (that you already have, you just don’t know it yet.) They are:

  • First impressions
  • Productivity
  • Follow-Through

First Impressions

It takes, on average, 7 seconds for a person to form an opinion based solely on first impressions. This means your first 7 seconds of an interaction with a potential customer could win them, or lose them.

Who do your customers reach when they call you? Voicemail? A phone tree? Or a real person?

Did you know that, according to Helpscout, when people reach voicemail…

  • 67% will just hang up
  • 75% report being frustrated when they can’t just talk to someone
  • 70% of these buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are treated

The best, and easiest, way to make a great first impression is to make certain your customers always reach a real person when they call. Someone who’s friendly, helpful, and ready to kick off a great customer relationship.

Productivity

Did you know that it can take 23 minutes to get back “in the groove” after an interruption? When you can easily spend up to 6 hours a day managing interruptions, you can end up losing time faster than you can get things done.

Every time the phone rings and you have to be the person to answer it, you lose around 23 minutes of concentration. A dozen calls in a day, and your productive day is lost.

So, what’s the solution? You need a real person answering your phones to achieve fantastic first impressions, but if you are doing it, you don’t have time to focus on your work.

That’s where Ruby comes in.

Remote receptionists don’t just answer your phones (ticking off superpower #1), they also help you maintain momentum (superpower #2). With the Ruby mobile app, you can hold your calls at any time with the click of a button—avoiding distractions when you’re on a roll. You can review calls and messages in real time, on your schedule—allowing you to prioritize in the moment. And you can manage your day instead of your interruptions.

Follow-Through

You’ve impressed your callers. You’re more productive than ever. Now, all that’s left is the follow-through that gets you over the finish line. Remember, customer service is an ongoing adventure.

70% of consumers are willing to spend more when they receive good service. On the flip side, 60% of consumers report that they’ll switch to a competitor for a better experience, according to Helpscout.

This means that, even once you’ve gotten over that first impression hump, customer service is still key.

Luckily, Ruby can help with this step too! Ruby’s team of remote receptionist can return your calls—ensuring your callers get that friendly voice, you’re always in the know (with a summary of every call), and you can stay productive.

It’s that human touch that really matters—those small moments where you remind your customers they’re important to you. And you don’t even need to be the one to do it!

Developing these superpowers could be the difference between winning customers, or losing them before ever even making your pitch.

Customer Service Superpowers
Christina Burns, VP of Customer Success

A Ruby since 2009 (when she started as a receptionist), Christina brings over a decade of customer service experience to our Customer Happiness and Receptionist Services team. She believes that a grassroots culture of collaboration, support, and personal growth is the key to providing world-class customer service, and she strives to foster that culture within her department every day. Using her signature humor, humility, and compassion to guide her, she leads our service superheroes as they pioneer a new frontier of WOW-worthy service!

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You Had Me at Hello

Customer Service Phone Tips

Do you believe in love at first sight? I’m not talking about romantic love. I’m talking about product love. That moment you catch sight of something that you have to have?

In 2018, love at first sight is rarer than ever. Every service and product has dozens of competitors, and consumers are only getting more financially conscious—becoming smarter shoppers. They want to learn more before committing.

Now, more than ever, love starts at hello.

The age of customer service is here.

In the United States, in particular, customer service is your superpower as a company. From sales to customer retention, roofing contractors to financial professionals, it’s that moment of “hello” that makes all the difference.

At Ruby, we talk a lot about the power of first impressions. And that’s where it starts. Your first impression kicks off what could be an incredibly positive, or frustrating, relationship with a potential customer.

Of course, that’s just your first “hello.” Everything that follows is just as important. How your sales team, customer support, and receptionists interact with customers and potential customers defines your relationships.

Every interaction is a “hello”—an opportunity to blow their socks off and win them over.

Here are three reasons your “hello” is the key to the hearts of your audience.

1. Your “Hello” Shows You Care

Do you:

  • Answer the phone when potential customers call?
  • Respond to email timely and in a friendly voice?
  • Support your customers throughout their entire lifecycle—from potential customer to long-time groupie?

If your answer to any of these questions is “no,” your customers probably don’t know you care about them. When there are hundreds of lawyers, dozens of HVAC professionals, and thousands of retailers to choose from… why would they choose your business?


According to a Walker study, by the year 2020, 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
On top of that, according to Invoca, 80% of customers said a positive phone experience is likely to make them a repeat customer.


Surveys say your customers (and potential customers) care about customer service. Do you?

2. Your “Hello” Builds Trust

Once you’ve gotten past step one—earning a customer and showing you care—it’s time to start building real trust. You want your customers to be so in love with your brand that, if a cheaper option shows up knocking on their front door with roses in hand, they won’t answer.

Consumers want to work with or buy from companies they trust. It’s your responsibility, as a business trying to win their hearts, to prove to them that they can trust you with consistently excellent customer service.

3. Your “Hello” Builds Loyalty

I’m extremely loyal to my plumber. Is he the cheapest? No. Is he the fastest? Still no. But my plumber is the nicest man I’ve ever met. When I called him because my kitchen faucet (completely unrelated to my bathroom remodel project) was leaking, he sat on the phone with me and gave me advice. I love my plumber.

You win their mind with your product and their heart with your service.

Any day, a product or service just as good as yours could come around. Competition is tough, and copy-cat businesses aren’t rare. Heck, I can find dozens of plumbers near me with a simple Google search.

But if you’ve won over their hearts, your customers will stick with you!

Are you looking to win over the hearts of your customers? Check out our free ebook: Using Words to Turn Callers into Clients. In it, Ruby’s VP of Customer Success, Christina Burns discusses how to approach every communication with your customers as an opportunity to spark a connection, gain trust, and earn loyalty!

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Incent, Inspire, Empower: Practical Situational Leadership with Rosy Rocha

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.

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Webinar: Work Smarter, Not Harder, with a Remote Receptionist

It’s true, you’re busy. Between managing your business, developing new connections, and keeping up on the latest trends, your phone probably isn’t always top of mind. But did you know that, according to Invoca, 80% of customers say a positive phone experience is likely to make them a repeat customer?

As a small business owner, your phone means growth—and managing incoming calls can be tricky. A missed call can mean a missed opportunity.

A remote receptionist is your out-of-office employee of the month. A valuable addition to your lead development and customer service strategy, a remote receptionist ensures every call is answered promptly and professionally. It’s just like having an in-house receptionist, at a fraction of the cost.

In our free webinar you’ll learn how:

  • A remote receptionist service works
  • You can save money without sacrificing quality
  • You can gain the freedom and flexibility to work whenever and whenever you want

This webinar took place on January 24th but the knowledge lives on! Watch our recorded webinar below.

Watch Webinar!