answering phone calls

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by bubble boy, Jul 27, 2001.

  1. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    picked up a new customer late last week, to start this week. he phones mon. 3:00 PM wondering if we cut his lawn yet(yes, he called from home!). We didn't get the voice message til evening, figured i'd call him back tues. 10:58 PM mon nite, he calls the company cell phone. no message was left, he actually expected me to answer that late.

    got me to thinking about my past weird calls. One lady called 8:00 AM sunday wanting me to come sign her to a contract. and this was in april, three weeks before the service was to start.

    I know ours is an industry where business hours are considered outside the norm, but i thought these two were excessive. We'll answer after hours, but i do draw the line somewhere around 9:00.

    anyone gotten some midnight hour calls? (business, not booty:p )
  2. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    When I'm sitting in my home office, workin and playin on the puter - I hear the phone line ring at the office (we have the main business line ring at the house in that office "just in case"). Often I'm on the puter at midnight and the office line rings. I never answer it, but often wonder just who the heck is calling at that hour? And, when we get into the office the next day... sure enough, there's a message at midnight from a customer requesting a quote....

    Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it....????
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    I think that for some, they see this less as an opportunity to bug you at midnight, and more an opportunity to call when they remember to, and just leave a message for you to at least get the ball rolling.

    Others seem to do it because they don't have the sense not to. I soon discover this lack of sense seems to pervade many other areas as well. Like wanting a price for a lawn seeding without ever seeing the yard. (sounds like I'm thinking of a specific case, doesn't it?)

    I do get some that look up my home # and call that. I explain at the first call that if they want to talk shop, call the shop line. I don't talk biz on the home line. And if they say "I can only reach you (at 9pm) at that number", I say "There's a reason for that." I very rarely go on to explain that during the season I put in between 80-100 hours per week, so during those few hours that I'm not answering calls, I'm not answering calls. Period.
  4. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    We do not get any late night phone calls from customers or potential customers, but we do get an occasional early morning call as early as 5:00 AM:(

    I never answer that early. I just let the machine get it, but it still wakes me up.
  5. Loosestrife

    Loosestrife LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 80

    I now have an unlisted number for the very same reason as stonhenge posted.

    A client had called the office line and left a message. She then called my home number, at 11:30 at night. I didn't answer it, was too sound asleep. I saw the time stamp on the message when I got up, and listened to the message. "Give me a call AS SOON AS YOU CAN". So, I did. It was about 4:30 a.m. I called, obviously waking this person up. I apologized (HAHA) for calling so early, but explained to her my reasons; since she called so late at night, and left a message asking for a return call ASAP, I thought that there must have been some type of emergency.
  6. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    Wayyyy back when the home line was the business line, we got a call at 2:10 AM once, from a rich old bird that has us cutting her grass. Seems she wanted the shrubs trimmed the following week. I asked her why she was calling at THAT hour??

    She was Acapoulco, and it was 11:10 PM there, and it was cheaper to call after 11 PM.

    The home line became our business line (and still is the main line into the business) and we got an unlisted phone ordered the next day.
  7. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Phone answering systems are just another management tool. Using them allows you to prioritize your time which is a necessary skill. As long as calls are dealt with in a timely, professional manner, most people don't get too angry. I would suggest that larger businesses do try to have a human answering calls during established business hours. Even so, sometimes voice mail is faster and easier for the client. And yes, the phone does ring at weird times.
  8. Mike (MLC)

    Mike (MLC) LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    My wife answer's the phone during the normal business hours, which is good because most people like talking to a live person. But, we do get phone calls as late as 10pm sometimes and as early as 5am. I just had a customer call today at 5:00am. I wasn't even awake yet, but she was just getting off of work. She is a nurse at the local hospital. I hate that they call at strange hours, but I guess that is the only time they might have to call us.:rolleyes:

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