Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Jill Nelson. Nelson is the founder and CEO of Ruby Receptionists, which she has grown to a multimillion dollar business, which has experienced double-digit growth every year since its inception in 2003. With 135 passionate staff members, Ruby serves more than 2,600 small business professionals throughout North America. Jill’s unique approach to business, “Practicing WOWism,” drives the company’s growth and success and helped secure coveted awards, including Fortune magazine’s 2012
#1 Best Small Company to Work for in the U.S. and Portland Business Journal’s
Lighthouse Award for five consecutive years as a Fastest Growing Company in Oregon. Dedicated to supporting small businesses, Jill serves as Finance Chair in the Portland chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and has acted as a mentor for its Accelerator Program. In turn, in 2013, EO awarded Jill as its Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2010, Portland Business Journal honored Jill with an
Orchid Award for her service as a business leader, and recently, she competed in the Dancing with the Stars PDX fundraiser to support economic development, going on to compete nationally.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Ruby provides clients with a friendly, professional receptionist to answer calls during business hours. Most clients use Ruby as their full-time receptionist, with solo-practice attorneys making up 45 percent – and growing – of our client base. Financial services is our second largest client group followed by IT services, virtual companies, and professional and creative services. We have about 130 employees, all of whom work out of our headquarters is in Portland, Oregon, or our recently-opened second office in Beaverton, Oregon.
How do you show customers that they are appreciated?
One of the first things new employees learn is that they can buy anything for any client at any time – no questions asked. We have a prepaid Amazon account and have built a WOW Station complete with boxes, tissue paper, and anything they might need to make their packages extra special. It can be as simple as a notecard to wish them a happy Father’s Day to a bouquet of flowers if we’ve heard they’ve been in the hospital to a running belt because we found out they’re competing in their first marathon – anything to brighten a client’s day. These small tokens show that we’re listening, that we care, build on connections, and truly WOW our clients.
What do you do to make potential clients feel like they will be well taken care of if they hire your firm?
We’re in the business of first impressions (although what company isn’t?). Many of our new clients are referred to Ruby through friends – about 60% come from word-of-mouth – but whether or not they are familiar with Ruby, new clients get to experience our friendly, professional staff when they call in. After all, our receptionists are the same receptionists who will care for their callers. Moreover, every customer touchpoint from our website to our emails is infused with our brand of cheery customer service and sets high expectations – which, upon hiring us, we make our mission to exceed.
How is your approach different than the competition?
In this increasingly technology-focused, virtual world, there is a real hunger for meaningful connections. “Good customer service” is table stakes for us. We do more than simply answer calls; we foster human connections. In fact, we’ve developed a proprietary model for this type of exceptional customer service: The Ruby Service Pyramid. Modeled after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Ruby Service Pyramid includes fundamentals such as doing what you say you’ll do at the bottom, with “Make Meaningful Connections” as the pinnacle of WOW-worthy service.
Contact information: Learn more about Ruby Receptionists atwww.CallRuby.com