Smartphones, tablets, and computers tiny enough to fit into a purse are why business communication is seldom interrupted in the evenings or on weekends. Your customers can reach you at any time, and you can respond at any time.
While it’s important to maintain a sense of private space and events for family and leisure, you’ll want to ensure that your company doesn’t lose any customers during these off-hours. Helping employees understand how and when to respond — and learning yourself — might be the difference between a hot lead sliding through the cracks after 5:00 p.m. and keeping a finicky consumer happy at all hours.
The Best Way to Make Your Business More Inviting After Hours
Whether you think it’s time to hire an evening staff or just looking for a technique to gather data at night, your company should always seem friendly.
1.Consider hiring an assistant.
Around are a few options available if your company has so many after-hours interactions that it makes sense, both financially and otherwise, to have someone there during non-working hours.
Human voicemail: Many businesses have a person who acts as an “answering service” after hours. This person may not respond to specific inquiries as effectively as you and your team can, but they can provide a human voice to take messages when someone calls while you’re at home for the night.
Night/weekend staff: Go for it if you believe you can earn more money by paying a few people to work weekends than you’ll lose in overhead.
2. Delegate the speaking to a digital entity.
Even if your company doesn’t need a specific person or group to work during off-hours, you’d still want to handle the occasional phone calls or emails professionally. You may set up a voicemail that politely informs them that their message has been received and that someone will return it as soon as possible in the morning. You might also set up an “automated response” electronic mail for messages received after hours.
3. Gather information first thing in the morning.
Because you’re promising customers to contact them as soon as possible, make certain that someone does. Examine phone and email messages first thing in the morning, or have someone else do it for you, so your prospects don’t feel cheated.
When Communication Becomes Critical
On weekends or late at night, you usually have to reach out to employees, or vice versa. A set of floor rules for the approach is required in these situations.
4. Establish limits.
First and foremost, there are several difficulties to address. After-hours conversation necessitates some simple limitations. Host a meeting and ask the crew for one of the easiest methods to reach them late at night or on weekends — whether email, phone number, text message, or instant messaging — without making them feel like you’re invading. Don’t take it for granted that they don’t mind hearing from you after hours. Without a doubt, your employees’ lives and living situations are radically diverse.
5. Don’t take advantage of the privilege.
If you’ve set a communication protocol for your employees, make sure you follow it yourself, even if you’re the boss. If you don’t text your employees on Sunday afternoons after everyone has decided that email is best, they’ll feel more secure in what’s expected of them, and you’ll gain respect and a better connection with them.
6. Recognize and respond to crises.
In most cases, direct contact is unavoidable. It’s best to let your staff know when these activities will take place. Depending on the nature of your business, you may not have anything that is life-or-death. Nonetheless, you must ensure that problems are resolved as promptly as possible.
- Make a list — Make sure everyone understands what constitutes an “emergency.” Consider keeping an inventory at the office and providing each employee with a copy.
- Establish a command chain:Certain employees may need to be notified more often than others if a problem arises.
- Use a different mode of contact over the weekend. If your company uses emails for non-emergency communication over the weekend, let everyone know that a phone number implies something more important.
Your business hours may be longer than you thought in today’s environment. That isn’t to say that productivity and way of life can’t be maintained. With a little forethought, you can meet the needs of both customers and employees without converting your business into a work-only environment.