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Webinar: 21 Hacks to Increase Your Firm’s Profitability

Did you know a law firm is a relatively simple business to run?

Yes, you read that right. Compared to practically every other kind of business, a law firm has relatively fewer moving parts, requires far less working capital to start and run, profit margins are high enough to make most other business owners green with envy (25%-45%!); and the risk profile is low and highly-manageable.

But here’s the problem—add up the courses you took back in law school about how to manage a highly profitable law firm. Your total probably came to “zero”, right? Is it any wonder there are so many great lawyers who aren’t having such a great time running their own law firm?

That’s why Ruby Receptionists and How To Manage a Law Firm are teaming up for this 90-minute webinar, sharing 21 simple hacks that can transform your practice. Here’s just a sample of what we’ll be covering:

  • Three easy to understand numbers any lawyer can use to accurately predict revenues 90 days in advance
  • The eight little words your clients will LOVE to hear that will trigger an extra thousand dollars a month of revenue (probably MORE!)
  • How can you save 5% on your malpractice insurance premiums by writing just one simple thing on the outside of all your files

About the Presenter: RJon Robins, Founder & CEO of How To MANAGE a Small Law Firm

RJon’s firm is widely regarded as the leading provider of outside managing partner services exclusively for hundreds of small law firms nationwide. Combined, member law firm revenues average one million dollars of revenue per week. Inc. Magazine recently named How To MANAGE a Small Law Firm as the fastest growing privately held company providing outside managing partner services for solo & small law firms in the country. He got his start as a floundering solo law firm owner himself and today hundreds of small law firm owners fly across the country on a regular basis to get the chance you have right now.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/webinar-21-hacks-to-increase-your-firms-profitability/

Publish Date: May 27, 2016 5:00 AM


Redefining Sick Time: Say Hello to “Swellness”

I’ll be the first to admit I’m annoyingly stubborn when it comes to being sick. I’ll deny I’m ill until I’m running a high fever and can no longer speak in clear sentences. Then, I’ll be dragged to bed, only to whip out my laptop and continue to work from home.  And while I may view this stubbornness as dedication and commitment to my job, let’s be honest—I’m doing no one any good working at less than 100%.

In 2014, researchers estimated the total cost of presenteeism—showing up to work, but not fully functioning due to illness—had risen to $250 billion annually. Not only is the sick employee performing at a reduced capacity, they risk the health of other employees, and the employee’s families—a sickness spiral that can go on for months.

To truly Foster Happiness at Ruby, it’s important our employees feel healthy—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and take the time to heal at home. So, we’re combating presenteeism by redefining the concept of “sick time,” a term we feel focuses on the problem rather than the outcome. After all, the reason you stay home sick is to get well!

Announcing “Swell Time”

Earlier this month, Ruby launched our “Swellness” campaign. Running through the entire month of May, the Swellness campaign is based on four pillars of wellness: happiness, movement, connections, and nutrition, and will include weekly actions supporting those pillars. Team members received their very own beautifully designed Ruby Mandala poster and a list of activities—ranging from “Get your daily 8+ glasses of H2O” to “Explore the therapeutic process of coloring for 15 minutes,” to “Attend a fitness class.” Additionally, team members were given a Swellness Journal with more than 75 pages of prompts to encourage reflection on their emotional health.

As team members complete the listed activities, they color in the corresponding spaces on the Ruby Mandala. There are three speeds of actions: “Just The Basics Baby”, “Take It Up A Notch”, and “Push The Limits.” This allows employees to choose their focus, level of activity, and complete the actions that make the most sense for them. As an incentive, team members can enter for prize drawings, which occur each week on “Swellness Wednesdays.”

The best part? We want to share this campaign with you! If you’re considering launching a wellness program for your employees, let us know. We are happy to make the mandala design, activity booklet, and journal available to you as a guide.

When it comes to your health, focusing on wellness versus overcoming illness can be just the perception shift you need to get better quick, and avoid the sickness spiral!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/redefining-sick-time-say-hello-to-swellness/

Publish Date: May 17, 2016 5:00 AM


WOW Story: Wild Wyatt Goes West

For the Ruby team, making connections with clients never ceases to be rewarding, and we love following a friendly conversation with a handwritten note or carefully chosen gift. But when our clients take the time to surprise us with a note or gift, we’re truly honored. We know workdays can be wild for the small businesses we serve, and our clients’ precious time is in high demand.

Recently, receptionist Tarah offered a call to Ruby client John M. on one of those wild days. John was at home with his son Wyatt, who was ill. As they were chatting, John referred to Wyatt as “Wild Wyatt” several times. This nickname gave Tarah an idea: Why not WOW Wyatt with a little Ruby magic?

To cheer Wyatt and send him on the road to recovery, Tarah picked out a cozy throw blanket and a copy of the perfect wild western: Fievel Goes West.

Fast forward a month to the moment when Tarah received a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to her desk. They were from none other than John M! He was so impressed with her attention and care to his son that he wanted to return the favor. The lovely bouquet was accompanied by a note from John:

Thank you for all that you do! From John and the whole South team.

P.S. Wyatt is feeling much better.

It’s not often that our clients are able to WOW us. Tarah’s gift inspired John to reach out not only to say thank you, but to perpetuate the meaningful connection she began. Congrats, Tarah!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/wow-story-wild-wyatt-goes-west/

Publish Date: May 12, 2016 5:00 AM


Make the Most of Summer with Ruby’s Mobile Apps!

Wherever the summer takes you, Ruby Receptionists® has you covered. With our redesigned iPhone and Android apps, you can stay connected and manage your calls on the go, while our bright, friendly receptionists answer your calls with care. No more excuses—break free from your desk and soak up some sunshine! Here’s a quick overview of our mobile app features:

Activity: Sophisticated Call Management

Manage your calls like you would your emails with our revamped call activity options.

  • Star important calls
  • Multiple filter options for easier search
  • Ability to mark calls as read and archive for a clean inbox
  • Set reminders to return calls or call customers back directly from the app

Status: Take Your Office On the Road

Our expanded status options (formerly known as whereabouts) allow you to easily create temporary call-handling instructions our receptionists follow for a specified amount of time. Going on vacation? Create a “Vacation” status letting us know not to connect calls and instead take messages and voicemails for the duration of your absence. You can also save common status updates as shortcuts. Have a weekly lunch meeting? Create a status update with your preferences and save to your shortcuts for easy access and quick updating. Plus, you can schedule status updates for the future from the app, ensuring Ruby and your callers never miss a beat, even when you’re lounging on the beach.

Saved Callers: Keep Ruby in the Know

Use the app to easily save and edit a caller’s name and contact information when you receive a message. The next time a saved caller gives you a ring, Ruby’s call-handling software will automatically populate with the caller’s stored information, so our talented receptionists have it at their fingertips.

More: Additional Insights & Tools

Multiple enhancements make the More screen ideal for our detail-oriented and data-focused clients.

  • Review account information such as email and phone numbers
  • Update payment information and voicemail recordings
  • Easily view data about your calls, including call volume per day and highest call days

Our mobile apps enable clients to efficiently manage calls from just about anywhere. So what are you waiting for? Grab your sunblock and your mobile phone, and let summer vacation begin!

Don’t have the redesigned app yet? It’s free for Ruby clients—download today!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/make-the-most-of-summer-with-rubys-mobile-apps-2/

Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM


Integrate Calls & Emails to Create a Harmonious Customer Experience

Have you ever had a moment of panic after placing an order online?

Wait, did I choose my shipping address, or Mom’s?

Did I go with the black skates, or the metallic blue ones?

I remembered to add the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack to my cart, right?

Then, thankfully, reassurance arrives in the form of a confirmation email. Phew. You’re well on your way to a soon-to-be-legendary roller disco retirement party!

Likewise, a well-timed call or email can provide reassurance to your customers. Using these everyday communication tools in a complementary fashion shows clients you’re thorough and thoughtful, without adding hours to your already heavy workload. Here are three ways to improve your customer relationships by integrating calls and emails:

Add email follow-ups to your repertoire. Regardless of whether you forgot to mention something or discussed a topic to death, a follow-up email is the perfect complement to a telephone conversation. Use follow-up messages to reiterate key information (Here’s a link to the website we talked about), or share additional information (I thought you might find these resources helpful). Even when you don’t have anything to add, a quick message builds rapport. Two or three lines of type can work wonders!

It was great to talk to you today! Feel free to call or email any time. Hope you have a great time at the game this weekend!

Use templates for common topics. While a “nice talking to you” follow-up email may take just a few seconds to draft and send, more involved topics likely require a bit more time and effort. When you find yourself covering the same topics over and over with your clients, email templates may be a good solution. If you can set aside time to write a collection of templates, great, but if not, just save the next email you write addressing a common topic, and tweak it for future recipients. No more time wasted searching for the perfect words to write what you’ve written countless times before!

Know when to call. What if a client emails you rather than calling—you should email them back, right? Not always. While it’s pretty safe to assume a client who emails you would prefer an email response, sometimes it pays to pick up the phone. If you find yourself fretting over an email reply for an inordinate amount of time, a phone call might be in order. It’s always best to call a client when you need to say “no,” or when the chance of misunderstanding seems high. Similarly, when you need to be sure your client really “gets” what you’re trying to convey, a conversation definitely wins out over a complicated message. The tone of your emails may be consistently impeccable, but nothing beats a friendly voice when the stakes are high.

What if you reach voicemail when making this all-too-pivotal call? Leave a friendly voicemail message, and—you guessed it!—send a follow up email:

Thank you for emailing me! I’d love to talk about this over the phone if possible. Is there a time that works well for you? 

They may seem like small touchpoints, but conscientious calls and emails can go a long in establishing trust with your clients. Here’s to thoughtful communication!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/integrate-calls-emails-to-create-a-harmonious-customer-experience/

Publish Date: May 10, 2016 5:00 AM


Top 10 Customer Service Posts for Small Business

Small Business Week is the perfect time to brush up on customer service, and these popular blog posts from The Watercooler archives are a solid place to start. Check out our compilation of reader favorites:

3 Ways to Make Your Company’s Greeting Great
Why not wow your callers from word one? A well-crafted telephone greeting sets the tone for your conversation. Choose words that let callers know you’re eager to help!

5 Positive Phrases You Should Steal
Peppering positive phrasing into your conversations shows customers you care. Here are five easy ways to get started.

How to Answer Any Question With Confidence
Arm yourself with these answers, and be prepared for any question that comes your way. Our live virtual receptionists rely on these each day!

3 Easy Tips on How to Be Polite When Answering the Phone
These tips will make sure your telephone etiquette leaves callers smiling.

5 Common Phrases That “Spook” Your Customers
Don’t let your phrasing scare away business! Well-chosen words can help make any customer comfortable and content. This post covers phrases to avoid, and connection-making alternatives.

Small is BIG: How Small Business Can Win the Battle for Customers
This gem from National Small Business 2015 reminds us there’s nothing “small” about what small businesses do!

How to Make Every Office Guest’s Experience Great
Follow these simple steps to ensure your office visitors always have a pleasant experience.

10 Opportunities to Connect with Your Customers
Looking for more ways to strengthen your customer relationships? This list has you covered!

Impress Your Callers with a Customized Spelling Alphabet
Our receptionists look for every opportunity to make a lasting impression, and confirming information with the Ruby spelling spelling alphabet is just one of many ways they create memorable moments. Use ours or make your own!

How to Make the Most of a Short Conversation
Your conversations with customers don’t have to be long in order to be meaningful. When you’re short on time, try these tricks to balance friendliness and efficiency.

Since we’re having so much fun, how about a couple more posts?

Bonus! 5 Reasons Personal Connections Still Matter in Business Today
To build longtime clients, start by creating connections—after all, people do business with people they like!

Bonus! Fess Up to Your Mess Up
Mistakes: we’ve all made them. This guide will help you recover gracefully while gaining customer trust.

Hungry for more customer service help? These posts are just the tip of the iceberg! Use the tools on the right to browse the Watercooler archives for more. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, please leave a comment and we’ll happily reply—we’re always looking for new ways to help our readers!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/top-10-customer-service-posts-for-small-business/

Publish Date: May 5, 2016 5:00 AM


15 Customer Touchpoints to Revolutionize Your Small Business

In honor of National Small Business Week, we’re celebrating the fact that small is big—in a lot of different ways. The little touchpoints your customers experience when interacting with your business add up to a big overall impression. Make the most of these opportunities, and you’re sure to create happy, long-lasting relationships with your customers! Here are 15 important touchpoints you don’t want to overlook:

1. Your telephone number. Is it easy to find? Easy to click? Be sure your number appears on every page of your website, and aim to make it clickable so smartphone users can reach you with a quick tap.

2. Who answers. Do your customers reach an impersonal voicemail box, a confusing phone tree, or a live voice? A cheerful, live person ready to help will make a fantastic impression on your callers.

3. Your office. Time to ditch the dying plants and dusty furniture! This touchpoint isn’t just important to clients who visit—a pleasant workspace can do wonders for your team’s attitude and productivity, and yours as well. If money is tight, try these low-cost tips for making your office inviting.

4. Your website. Prospective clients are likely to peruse your website from smartphones, so if you haven’t optimized your site for mobile yet, now is a great time. Be sure your phone number is prominently displayed and clickable—many mobile users would rather click to call your company than scroll through your site to find answers.

5. Your advertising. Print and online ads are a great way to show who you are as a company. These tips can help you create an appealing and effective look without breaking the bank.

6. Your blog posts. A blog is an ideal place to have a conversation with current and prospective customers. Sharing your knowledge and experience through blog content allows you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your field while giving readers a sense of your values and mission.

7. When you send a gift. If you have the budget for client gifts, try setting up a routine so you don’t leave anyone out. Generally, there are two reasons to send a client gift: to mark a standard milestone (you might send a welcome gift when a new client signs up), or for a special occasion (perhaps when a client gets married or has a child). Choosing specific, meaningful reasons for sending gifts will help ensure they make an impact.

8. When you send a card. A card is not as strict as a gift—in fact, any time you feel moved to write a note to a client, we recommend you do so! A friendly notecard can have an even bigger impact than a gift, for a fraction of the cost.

9. Your email communication. A collection of well-designed email templates can make your life a heck of a lot easier, and ensure your clients get the information they need when they need it. But avoid the temptation to cut and paste every time—when you have the opportunity to create a connection through email, add that personal touch.

10. Your packaging. Whether it’s a gift or a simple envelope, the container counts. When our receptionists order WOW gifts for clients, we ship them to our offices first so we can wrap them and add a card. Receiving a mysterious cardboard box just isn’t as fun as a hand-wrapped gift!

11. Your invoice. Yep, even when you’re asking for money, you can make raving fans out of your clients. This article proves it.

12. Your web forms. We’ve probably all had a frustrating experience with a poorly designed web form. If you ask clients to submit information online, be sure your web forms are easy to understand and easy to complete. Need help? Find design tips here.

13. Your follow-up. Doing what you say you’ll do is key here. If you commit to connecting with a client by a certain time, make sure you do, even if you don’t have anything new to report. Reliable follow-ups build trust, so set reminders to ensure you don’t miss them. If you’re new to a follow-up routine, start small—don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you check in once a week for four weeks, then switch to every other week without warning clients, they’ll likely feel let down.

14. Your social media response time. A speedy social media response makes you look good, while a slow (or no) response seems sloppy. It may feel trivial at times, but replying to blog comments, tweets, and Facebook posts lets customers and potential clients know you care. If you use social media for your business, be ready deliver timely, friendly responses.

15. Trade shows and networking events. Nothing makes an impression like a face-to-face conversation. Grab those business cards, polish up your networking skills, and get ready to mingle! Headed to your first trade show? Congratulations! These ten lessons can help you make the most of the experience.

Is there a customer touchpoint that’s had an effect in your business? Share it in the comments below!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/15-customer-touchpoints-to-revolutionize-your-small-business/

Publish Date: May 4, 2016 5:00 AM


How Ruby Became Ruby: Our Small to Big Story

With millions of delighted callers and thousands of businesses grown, Ruby Receptionists has a lot to be proud of—but it didn’t happen overnight. When we started in 2003, we had just four receptionists, one of whom was our Founder and CEO Jill Nelson. We originally went by the name “Worksource Inc.,” and we offered all sorts of services, including web design and copywriting.

As we grew, however, we found our clients really enjoyed one piece of our service best. We were hearing, “Gosh, your receptionists are so nice!” and “I have such peace of mind. I can focus on my business because I know when the phone rings, your receptionists will do whatever it takes to help me, that caller, and my company.” Clients even told us our receptionists were winning them business.

Gradually, we realized our strength was in making other people’s days through personal, meaningful connections. We decided the brand “Worksource Inc.” didn’t fit, and we became “Ruby Receptionists.”

Revolutionizing Company Culture

Around the same time, we gave our first employee survey. The results were generally positive—employees liked their coworkers and felt they were paid well. Yet, one theme emerged: many receptionists didn’t feel they were doing valuable work.

CEO Jill Nelson was concerned by this feedback. At the time, Jill was in charge of customer service and sales, and she routinely heard stories from clients about how our receptionists made their day and won them business. Jill knew firsthand our receptionists were doing incredibly valuable work! She vowed to make that clear to the team, and started with two big changes:

  • Sharing the inspiring feedback we receive from clients and callers through a mass email to the whole team via our “WeRock” email list.
  • Changing our hiring practices—rather than seeking employees with years of receptionist experience, our job ads beckoned: “If making someone’s day makes your day, we want to hear from you!”

Learning Through Adversity

Ruby’s true test came in early 2009 with the severe economic downturn. Many of our clients were struggling to keep their doors open, dropping services left and right to stay afloat. We knew our service had to be invaluable in order to make the cut. Clients needed to know we were on their team, and their success was our success. We launched our initial four core values during this time: Foster Happiness, Practice WOWism, Create Community, and Innovate. And staying true to those values worked—despite the tough climate, we grew our revenue 30%!

As our growth continued over the following years, the question became: how do we continue to nurture the Ruby culture, and make sure each employee knows they are empowered to positively impact and brighten our clients’ days? Jill sat down with every employee in the company and posed exactly that question. The Ruby Service Pyramid, the Ruby Spelling Alphabet, and our WOW Station were born out of these brainstorming sessions—just a few of the many ways we incent, inspire, and empower all employees to make meaningful connections on their own. And speaking of growth, in 2012 we realized something was missing from our core values, so we added a fifth value: Grow!

Looking to the Future

To help us reach our next stage of growth, Updata Partners acquired a majority share of Ruby in 2014, and we became Ruby Receptionists® Incorporated. The Updata investment allowed Ruby to transition from a service company to a tech-enabled company. As Jill put it: “The goal is to replace the phone company and allow a small business to run on Ruby and a cell phone.”

We rang in 2016 by moving to our new headquarters in downtown Portland’s Fox Tower, creating room for more friendly, professional Rubys in our Lovejoy and Beaverton offices. And it was with great pride that Ruby earned a top ten spot as a Best Company to Work for in Oregon for the seventh year in a row.

Our success over the years has proven that values aren’t a bunch of fluff—they’re a bottom-line concept. We’re grateful each day to do work we believe in: helping small businesses grow by creating personal connections in an era of impersonal service and robotic answering machines. With our values in mind every step of the way, we can’t wait to see where the future takes us. We hope you’ll join us for the journey!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/how-ruby-became-ruby-our-small-to-big-story/

Publish Date: May 3, 2016 5:00 AM


Small is BIG: How Customer Service is Boosting Business

As we shared last year, more than 90% of U.S. businesses are small businesses. Despite the challenges, the entry rate of new businesses is growing steadily and, for the first time since 2007, exceeded the rate of company exits in 2015. And business is booming, with 77% of small business owners feeling their business’ operations are successful.

Which made us curious—what’s behind this big boost in confidence?

To answer this question, we turned to one of our long-time clients. PixelSpoke is a digital marketing company based in Portland, Oregon, specializing in complex website redesigns primarily for progressive organizations, cooperatives, and credit unions.

Before the recession, PixelSpoke’s services were across the board. As founder and CEO Cameron Madill explains, “We had no real vision or plan, so we’d do anything for anyone. We ended up doing software work, Excel/Macro consulting, and all kinds of web design.” As the company’s business model fragmented, quality diminished.

Though he understood the business model wasn’t working, it was the 2009 recession that was, as Cameron explains, “the big moment of truth.” Without solving a deeper problem, his company’s services became a discretionary expense that was easily cut as client budgets depleted. Instead of folding up shop, however, PixelSpoke saw this as an opportunity not only to focus their services, but also develop a set of values and a plan to serve their customers on a deeper level.

Fast forward seven years and the results are clear—focusing on solving a bigger problem for their customers, as well as doubling down on delightful service, has moved the needle for PixelSpoke. Not only do their unique customer touchpoints help create long-time, loyal clients, but their focus on service has assisted with employee recruitment and retention as well.

If you’re looking for ways to boost your business this National Small Business Week, check out the full interview with Cameron about his customer service strategies (4 minutes total)! You can also view their company values on their website.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/05/small-is-big-how-customer-service-is-boosting-business/

Publish Date: May 2, 2016 5:00 AM


From Click to Customer: How to Capitalize on the the Inbound Call Renaissance

There’s nothing like a warm lead—a potential customer who needs a service or product you provide, and seeks you out as a solution. And for small businesses, there are more opportunities to capture these types of leads. Thanks to the convenience of click-to-call, mobile users are connecting directly with the companies that offer what they want.

If you’re ready convert your next caller into a long-time customer, you’re in luck. Marchex reports conversion rates from mobile phone calls are on average four times higher than those from desktop PCs, with 5-25% of calls converting into a sale. Does that mean each call needs to reach by a skilled salesperson ready to close a deal? Not necessarily, but creating a great experience for every caller ensures those ready to become customers are likely to do so. Here are some ways to make that happen:

Skillful Communication

Mobile users are looking for a helpful, friendly interaction, and they’re likely in a hurry. Don’t dawdle in delivering your best service—be prepared to make a great impression from the get-go. Guiding callers is one of the best ways to get the information you need and stay in control of a conversation while providing a positive experience. If guiding is a new concept for you, this article can help you get started.

Be Prepared

Getting prospects in the right hands is key, so be sure your phone answering team knows when and where they can reach your sales staff. Ideally, your sales team should be reachable during business hours. When they aren’t, have your phone answering team collect vital information with a few intake questions. Callers are less likely to move on to the next option in their search results if they have a pleasant conversation and share some of their contact info. Giving callers a timeframe for a response is helpful, too. If your phone answering team lets callers know when they’ll hear from a salesperson, callers will be dissuaded from continuing their search.

Understand Common Pain Points

If you’ve taken the time and effort to build a business, chances are you know what your ideal customer looks like, what their pain points are, and how your business can solve their problems. If you can get a caller to express their pain, you have the opportunity to show why your solution is the best one. Got a caller who’s tight-lipped about pain points? Try teasing out their specific pain points by citing pain points common to your existing customers, or pain points your competitors focus on:

“We’ve found our customers often have have trouble with _____. Is this something you struggle with?”

Even if your caller doesn’t relate to common pain points, introducing them creates a jumping off point for a richer conversation. The more you get to know your callers, the better you can help them.

Follow-up

A follow-up routine lets customers know what to expect, and helps you stay on track. For Ruby’s Client Happiness team, follow-up includes an email after every call. For you, that might mean setting a reminder to check in at a designated time. The key is to create a routine you can stick to. If you say you’ll get back with an answer by the end of the day, be sure to reach out—even if you don’t have an answer yet. A friendly “I’m still researching” makes a much better impression than radio silence. Answer or no answer, your callers will appreciate the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of a follow-up.

At the end of the day, turning calls into a customers is about making meaningful connections. If you have the opportunity to prove the value of your product or service, all the better. But if you only get as far as having a friendly conversation, you’ll still make a great impression. By putting a few systems in place, you can ensure interested prospects become customers, and those who aren’t yet ready to become customers can still become fans.

Interested in learning more about how to optimize your phone as a marketing tool? Sign-up to receive early access to our upcoming ebook, Off the Hook: The Complete Guide to Transforming Calls Into Customers.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/04/from-click-to-customer/

Publish Date: April 26, 2016 5:00 AM


What Mobile Callers Want & How to Deliver

If you’re following our series, you know smartphone users are calling businesses more than ever before, and the number of mobile-to-business calls is expected to keep rising. How can small businesses prepare for these calls? What are mobile callers seeking?

According to Invoca, smartphone users typically reach out for three reasons:

  1. To get a quick answer. Scrolling through your website or FAQ page doesn’t appeal to mobile users. They’re looking to click, call, and get to the bottom of things quickly (e.g. service, pricing, hours, etc).
  2. To express a concern. When mobile users are concerned about something, they’re not interested in sending an email or submitting a form online—they want to speak with a live person who can help.
  3. To get expert advice. What better way to learn a topic than to chat with someone who knows that topic through and through? Mobile users look to the pros when seeking guidance. That’s you!

In other words, the click-to-call crowd needs help, and they want it right away. Including these elements in your telephone toolkit will set your business up for success with mobile callers and more:

An Inviting Introduction

Responsiveness inspires trust. If you aim to catch every call within the first few rings, you’ll begin making a great impression before you pick up. Live answering during business hours is is key, too—if callers reach voicemail or an automated system, they’re liable to hang up and click on the next search result. Craft a friendly greeting, and be sure anyone who’s answering calls is ready to say it with a smile. Make the first moments of every call count!

A Game Plan for Responding

Smartphone callers may do little or no research on your business before calling, so be prepared for basic questions. Drafting an elevator pitch can help you respond confidently to callers who are shopping around. It’s not uncommon for callers to ask to speak with a particular department, like sales, support, or billing. If you have a small staff, it can be helpful to break down who wants to handle which types of calls, so you don’t miss a beat when your caller has a specific request. Give your phone answering team guidelines for routing different kinds of calls, and a playbook of phrases so they’re ready to reply to a variety of queries. A ready-for-anything attitude is a must!

Consistency

Creating a great experience for some of your callers is a start, but to build a strong reputation, delivering solid service on every call is where it’s at. That’s can be a tough mark for a small business to hit. A virtual receptionist service ensures callers are treated to pleasant, helpful conversation when you and your team are too swamped to get to the phone. Many virtual receptionists are happy to field common questions from callers and relay general information about your business. They can typically collect caller information as well, enabling you to make an informed follow-up when time allows.

If you’re a smartphone user, chances are you’ve used your phone to connect with a business. Can you think of a time you were impressed when calling a business? How about a time when you were disappointed? Use your experiences to inform you company’s call-handling strategy, and you’ll likely be on the right track.

Interested in learning more about how to optimize your phone as a marketing tool? Sign-up to receive early access to our upcoming ebook, Off the Hook: The Complete Guide to Transforming Calls Into Customers.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/04/what-mobile-callers-want-how-to-deliver/

Publish Date: April 19, 2016 5:00 AM


The Secret to Charming Callers Every Time

Does the thought of answering your own phone make you a little anxious? Are you energized by data, facts, and figures—but not people? Are you looking for relief so you can focus on the work you’re most passionate about? If you’ve been nodding your head while reading along, it may be time to consider outsourcing your call answering.

With all the hats you wear as a small business owner, it can be tough to transition between a tough negotiation with a vendor or reprimanding an employee, to pleasantly greeting a potential new client over the phone. Outsourcing your phone answering to a company entirely focused on delighting callers and creating a great experience means you never have to worry your bad mood will come through on a call.

Sound appealing? Here’s a few options to consider:

Forward directly to Ruby 24/7. If the sound of a ringing phone brings undue stress, forward your calls directly to Ruby and watch your anxiety disappear. Once you’ve forwarded your published number, calls will ring straight to Ruby and a group of friendly receptionists will handle them following your specific account instructions.

Customize your call-handling. During the new client onboarding process, you can decide on exactly how you’d like Ruby to handle your calls. Typically, we can either connect calls to you live, take messages or offer voicemail, or do a combination of both. If you’re looking to focus on big projects or client work, Ruby is happy to let callers know you’re away from the phone. We’ll immediately send over written and voice messages.

Are there some calls you’d like to take live and others you’d rather not? We can also connect certain types of callers to you while holding calls for others. For instance, many of our clients love when we connect potential new clients or emergencies to them live, and simply take messages for everyone else.

Read The Watercooler. Ruby’s blog is full of tips and tricks to help you deliver friendly, exceptional service when you do need to speak with clients. From phrasing to stress reducing time management tips, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to put your best foot forward—whether you’re a people person or not!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/04/charming-callers/

Publish Date: April 14, 2016 5:00 AM


Tackling the Classic Dilemma: Hire In-House or Outsource?

The right receptionist can be an invaluable member of your team, building customer relationships and lessening many of the burdens of small business ownership. However, the financial commitment of hiring an in-house employee can be downright crippling to a budding business. Before you place that want ad, consider these expenses:

 

Salary, and then some. Depending on where you live and how experienced your receptionist is, you could be looking at a base pay of around $33,000 per year. Paid time off is another cost to consider—the national median amount for receptionists is around $4,000 annually, and many states have requirements for paid sick leave as well. Factor in insurance and benefits, employment taxes, even office supplies (at the very least, a receptionist needs a phone!), and it all adds up quickly. With Ruby’s plans starting at around $260 a month, your employee’s base pay alone will likely cost at least 10 times as much as a virtual receptionist service.

Finding a receptionist in the first place. Sifting through resumes and holding interviews can take hours, if not weeks. You could pay a third party to recruit for you, or you could oversee the hiring process yourself, forsaking billable hours. Either way, there’s no guarantee the person you hire will work out.

Training. Most likely, you can’t afford to wait for your new receptionist to get up to speed—your phone will continue ringing as you show them the ropes! Plus, you may not have a receptionist training program to speak of. At Ruby, our virtual receptionists attend “Ruby University,” a comprehensive two-week training program complete with proper phone etiquette and lessons in phrasing, tone, and grammar lessons.

The cost of unavoidable absence. Employers are required to provide at least two 10-minute breaks and one 30-minute lunch for every 8 hours worked, and even the very best receptionist needs a day off now and then. While your receptionist is at lunch, out sick, or sipping pina coladas on a much-deserved vacation, your potential clients will meet the odious voicemail void. 67% of callers admitted to hanging up when they couldn’t talk to a real person, so even a quick bathroom break could cost big bucks!

Regardless of what type of employee you’re seeking, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who will work five days a week, 13 hours a day. Ruby’s talented team of virtual receptionists does just that, and best of all, our clients are only charged for the time our friendly, professional receptionists spend on the phone. That’s a tough bargain to beat!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/04/hire-or-outsource/

Publish Date: April 5, 2016 5:00 AM


How Does Call Forwarding Work?

If you’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a receptionist at Ruby, you know the experience is nothing short of magical. But have you ever wondered about the behind-the-scenes magic that makes Ruby possible? Call forwarding allows our receptionists to sound like they’re answering from your office, even from thousands of miles away. Our clients save money, and their callers receive exceptional care, never knowing they’re chatting with a remote receptionist.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/03/how-does-call-forwarding-work/

Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM


Why Click-to-Call is Vital to Your Small Business Growth

What if the very moment a potential customer conjured up a need, you could magically appear to say, “I can do that for you!” No more spending big bucks on glossy ads just to garner a sale or two. Instead, any time a customer wants what you’ve got, you’re instantaneously there to offer it. Talk about service!

The good news for business owners is you’re halfway there. Smartphone users can find and connect with companies that meet their needs in mere seconds by searching, clicking, and calling, and they’re doing it a heck of a lot. Click-to-call is booming, and the already staggering number of calls to businesses from mobile devices is expected to skyrocket in coming years: a predicted 162 billion calls will be made to businesses from smartphones in 2019.

Calls initiated by smartphone users are especially valuable to growing companies, because they allow for connection other channels can’t provide. Communicating with potential customers via social media, email marketing, and advertisements can be costly and time consuming, and doesn’t always yield great results. Talking with a prospect, however, is not only an opportunity to clearly communicate the value of your service—it’s a chance to demonstrate your dedication to customer experience, and build rapport and trust.

What’s more, gaining clients from smartphone-generated calls has the potential to be very inexpensive. If a prospect finds your business using a service like Google Maps, for instance, they may call without ever seeing your website or skimming through that ad you spent so much time and money to design.

What do you need to make the most of click-to-call’s growing popularity?

Essentially, a telephone number that’s easy to find, click, and call from a mobile device, and a team to deliver consistent customer service over the phone. There are lots of ways to make your telephone number stand out to mobile customers:

  • Start by making your number clickable and prominent on your website.
  • Consider adding a “Click to Call” button on your homepage.
  • Limit the need for scrolling by making sure your number appears near the top of your homepage.
  • Aim to include your phone number in a similar location on the key pages of your site.
  • Ensure your Google business information is up-to-date and a phone number is visible. For more information on claiming your business and managing your listing, check out Google’s support page.

The minute a prospect thinks, “Maybe I’ll give this a try,” you want them to be able to reach you with a click.

Of course, a clickable number on its own won’t do the trick. Without a friendly, helpful person to answer, smartphone calls could harm your business. Mobile users value excellent service, and don’t want to waste time waiting around for it. One in five calls from mobile phones are abandoned—likely due to common offenders like long hold times or reaching an automated system instead of a live person—and callers are more likely to hang up on a local business than a call center. Furthermore, dissatisfied callers aren’t afraid to share their feedback. Not only did 74% of those recently polled by Invoca say they are likely to choose another business after a negative phone experience, 70% said they are likely to complain to friends or family, 30% are likely to leave a bad review, and 24% are likely to complain on social media.

In order to reap the substantial rewards click-to-call has to offer, small businesses need the customer experience infrastructure to support it. Before overhauling your website or your marketing plan to better feature click-to-call, take a look at your phone service strategy, and consider your ability to live up to the expectations of mobile callers.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2016/03/why-click-to-call-is-vital-to-your-small-business-growth/

Publish Date: March 29, 2016 5:00 AM

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