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  • #990083
    Miss Bookkeeper
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    So in the last 30 days I have had a real good hard look at my business and the direction I want it to head in vs the direction I am going in.
    In that time I have thought about my interactions with clients. I have no problem talking to my clients all day or all night, as everyone works different hours and need help at different times of the day, I have become accustomed to late night phone calls, which never bother me… Until last week.

    I was laying in bed at about 10:30 on a Friday night (I know, I know).
    My phone rang and I answered, my client asked what I was doing, I told him I was in bed, and he laughed and proceeded to ask me to type up a letter for him and email it to him ASAP. ASAP didn’t mean Monday morning, he wanted it then and there within 10 minutes.
    It didn’t bother me at the time, I just got up and did it, but a week or so later it has started to bug me, as this is not the first time it’s happened!
    So from now on, if I’m in bed, I’m not answering!

    But how late is to late for your business?
    (Just a side not, I don’t run a 9-5 and often do the bulk of my work at night when my little one is tucked in bed!)

    #1175396
    Gizmo
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    I know the feeling.
    I started MondoTalk by myself, there is now 10 of us. But back then I was servicing my US clients and waking up in the middle of the night to take support phone calls.

    My advice is if you work flexible hours then endure the flexibility allows you to get the sleep if you need.

    Working when you little ones a sleeping can be a very productive time.
    Just do yourself a favour and make sure you are getting the sleep you need.

    So whens it too late to take a call?
    Well I guess when you have flexible hours the answer would be:
    When you feel its too late. Just resist that temptation to answer it.
    Or even better get a work only number that you can “turn off” as you need.

    #1175397
    Greg_M
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    I predate mobile phones and being out on site all day, most of my calls were late into the night or early morning.

    Used to take it off the hook at 5.00am when it was busy so I could eat breakfast, and I’d often still be ringing and taking calls at 10 pm.

    An absolutely insane way to live.

    Mobiles saved my life. I only give clients a mobile no. Turn it on at 7.00 and off at 7.00 … anyone that can’t get me in12 hours can try again tomorrow.

    Grumpy old man maybe, but any client that rang me at 10pm (regardless of status) would now receive a stream of abuse.

    One tactic I used to use with persistent clients that rang late, was to return a call at 5.00 am with the info they wanted and explain that this was the start of my day … most got the hint.

    Guess it’s tough in some businesses that provide an “on call” type service, but hopefully your getting compensated financially enough to reflect the pressure.

    Working late to suit kids is fine, I’d just be inclined to not let clients know that you are if possible, or set a cut off time as to when you’re available.

    #1175398
    bb1
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    When I first started I would answer any call at any time, now a few years down the track I check the caller ID and if its one of my nice clients I will generally answer it. If its just a general run of the mill client, I normally let it go to message bank, than listen to it later and depends on what it is it can either wait or I will call back. I have become more protective of my weekends as well, and will often not return calls until the Monday.

    I suppose it comes down to how your business is travelly and the quality of the client.

    I would put that client on my PITA list if you had told them you were in bed and they still wanted you to do work there and than. And remedial action would follow.

    #1175399
    MissSassy
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    The important thing to remember is that we teach people how to treat us, so if you are unhappy with that call then just let them know your availability and maybe don’t answer the phone next time.

    Also, maybe this is your point of difference and something that you clients really like!

    #1175400
    LucasArthur
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    Howdy,

    Interesting thread, have been checking back in to see the replies and am quite interested to read them.. especially the old school boys ;) returning calls at 5am.. LOL – Love it!

    Whilst i commend your willingness to take a call at 10:30 at night and do the letter within 10 minutes, i find it hard to advise (although know you are not asking for it) if this is suitable.. Why? because i am uncertain on the parameters you have set with your clients, although from the comment about taking the call and doing the work it may appear that clients feel you are at there beck and call 24×7.. Not sure if this is good or not though, just observation.

    For me, i would never take a call at 10:30pm from a client although would happily reply to an email if i wanted to.. or was awake, not sure i would from my bed and not sure i would tell them i was in bed either.. LOL…

    It always comes down to what is important to one person may not be as important to the other. If you value your customer and your ability to work these hours, do it, although i am not sure someone could pay me enough to get out of bed and type something up 😮

    If you are not happy to continue to do calls at that hour, it may be hard to alter this customers perception, although moving forward you should make it clear of what hours they can contact you by phone (and dont answer outside those hours) although advise they can email you and if you can reply you will… Sometimes, you can potentially introduce a slight variation in pricing for anyone requiring your immediate attention if it is possible for you to offer..

    Its like my old corporate days, when next level management would ask you to do a new task that needed to be done urgently (and sometimes it was later than 10:30 at night when asked) when your plate was already full.. My simple reply would be to shoot back the current list of urgent matters i was attending to (all with similar deadlines) and ask which they would like culled in order to complete this new task – sometimes they would authorise deletion of previous priorities and other time just say ‘add it to the list and you have an extra 24hours’ then the negotiations would begin..

    In your case, above wouldnt work directly although you could pose the question of what would happen if its to you on Monday? Or, i have a few other urgent requests that are paying me a premium to work at these hours and could get to yours later tomorrow, what time tomorrow is best to call you re this?

    Oh my, another long thread.. cutting it short..

    Cheerio
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1175401
    arrowwise
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    It is totally up to you and the type of business. Turn off your phone if you don’t want the calls. If you do, and take on a job at 10:30pm at night, ensure that you have factored in a premium price to take into account the level of urgency and time of day. If you and your client are still happy with this rate, then run with it. Otherwise by answering purely because you want to be extra dedicated could backfire and cause more inadvertent issues to the point that they simply taking advantage of you.

    First and foremost try to set all your rules, boundaries and pricing to cover all such scenarios, and work backwards from that.

    #1175402
    JenG
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    It’s hard not to answer a call, especially one that wakes you up in the early hours. Late calls are rarely good news. I answered a call with my heart thumping in my throat at 1.30am. It was an overseas supplier. I told her what time it was here and I got “Sorreeee. We just want to tell you about…(latest product.)” Click.

    #1175403
    motelier
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    We run a motel, so the phone rings at all hours. 3am phone calls – do have a room? If l hear it l will get up lift the phone off the hook and put it down again. One time the phone rang at about 11.30pm, just got to sleep the phone rang. Ignored the ringing phone. Went back to sleep, the phone rang again, ignored it. Then the night bell went off. Threw clothes on and checked them in (l charged them a lot more for my broken sleep). We also have people phoning at 6am. It is part of the business but if a client wants a letter at that time of the night ASAP and you do it charge them for it. Particularly if it was not vital. Yes you need the business but at times you have to take a stand. Invest in a good recorded message and turn it on when you are having your meals and after a certain time. I can be interrupted at breakfast time, evening meals – check in time (lost count of how many things have been burnt and under done) .But never, but never lunch time.

    #1175404
    findtim
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    my friend has an interesting scale of charges which i can not remember exactly but here is the idea

    9-5pm $xxx p/h
    monday to friday after hours $ xxx p/h
    weekends $xxx p/h
    you want it RIGHT NOW ! $xxx p/h
    so you want to give up my total weekend ! $xxx p/h

    she actually sends that list to clients.

    this sends a message to your clients in advance

    i personally work from 10am as thats how i prefer it, i’ve got young kids and school etc and i have TRAINED my clients as i use to get phone calls at 8.30am when i was trying to get the kids ready, now EVERY client plays by my rules, you just have to set the rules from the start and explain them.

    i state to clients i work from 10am to 6pm, it works for most people, i state that if they can have an afterhours contact but it MUST be booked.

    i personally work till midnight most nights but i have learnt that you should not send email replies that show you are still working at 11.50pm…. save the email and send it in the morning.

    i have found sending them a HUGE invoice for your inconvenience stops this type of communication from clients.

    just some thoughts from my experience

    tim

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