I'll start this with confessing something: I really hate talking on the phone. There are all those awkward moments where you are not sure if you are talking or the other person, where you both start and then stop and then start again. It's just never been natural to me and -- remember, I'm an engineer -- it is tough enough for me to pick up social queues when I'm looking someone in the eye. On the phone....well, nearly impossible. I try to limit my phone time.

I'll also state a couple of obvious things here as well. First, this job allows me -- but also requires me -- to be creative, something that is really difficult to do well with interruptions. Phone calls are particularly destructive to the creative process because, unlike emails or messages, they can't be ignored for a few moments.

Also, I really loath -- and who doesn't, seriously -- the robo answering machine that prompts you through a series of menu options you don't want only to get an answering machine which, in my case, I'm pretty bad at responding to. We all hate that.

Knowing these three facts, it became pretty obvious to me that we needed Ruby. That is, the Ruby Receptionist service. I wanted to make sure that everyone who calls here gets to speak with someone friendly and helpful, gets directed to the right place and -- if nobody is available -- one of our staff is informed so we can get back to them in a timely way. A friend of mine recommended Ruby and using them is one of the best things we've done here.

After a very simple initial setup where they got to understand who we are, what we do, each of our staff members and how we would like our phone traffic routed, they started answering and routing all of our calls. Oh, and did I mention: we have a virtual office with people working all over the country. That's no problem. We all have an app and can tell Ruby when we're available to take calls, at what number and when to just take a message.

When people call Strong Towns -- go ahead and try it at 844-218-1681 -- Ruby answers. They will listen to what you need and connect you with the person who can help you. For our non-profit, it is both professional and affordable. I just love it.

I'm writing all this today not only because I really love their service and appreciate what they do for us, but I want to share something that happened recently. My phone rang -- it was Ruby -- and I was told who it was calling me. It was a call I needed to take but, I was hungry and right as the phone rang I was stuffing a granola bar into my mouth. I asked Ruby to buy me some time while I finished my mouthful of food and grabbed a quick drink which, of course, she did. So incredibly helpful.

It was my amazement when I returned from a trip to have a big package sitting in my office from Ruby Receptionists. Opened it up and there was a basket of goodies labeled "Chuck's Snack Basket" with a very sweet card wishing me a full belly and plenty of time to eat between calls.

I am not getting paid to write this and truly have no expectation of anything other than a continued great relationship with Ruby Receptionists for doing so, but of all the services we use, I've come to value Ruby Receptionists the most. They make us look really good for a very reasonable price. So kind.

One of the perks of this job is that I can say nice things like that to tens of thousands of people and hopefully spread some good in the world. Hope you have a nice weekend and, please, feel free to call us if you ever need to. When you do, make sure and say hi to Ruby.