I’m going to ask you a question and you’re going to think I’m crazy but make sure you read all the way to the end of this post because it will become clear why I’m asking in a moment…
Do your customers know if you are open or closed right now?
Do they know when you are open or closed at all?
When my wife and I were at the Jersey Shore not that long ago, we walked past a restaurant that looked closed… the chairs were on top of the tables, there wasn’t even an “Open” sign in the window. But we tried the door and it opened. And then a waitress seated us and gave us menus. As the meal arrived, my wife said, “You know nobody knows you're open right?” Weirdly, they didn’t seem to care.
Do you just take it for granted that your customers know when you’re open? And what do they do when you’re not open? For example, let’s say you have a duct-cleaning service… well, if what if a customer gets home from work at the end of the day and they realize they want their ducts cleaned, what should they do? If you’re open, they could call you. But if you’re not open what should they do? Some service business owners will say: “they can call back tomorrow during working hours” (but what if the customer can’t because their job is too busy to allow them to do that?) And, some service business owners will say, “they can just call the Emergency Service number” (but will the customer do that? Probably not if it’s not an emergency or if they don’t want to pay a premium price just to have their ducts cleaned).
If the potential customer is calling outside of business hours but does not want to pay the emergency premium then you are closed to them! That is why you need a 24/7 phone number; every customer is too important to miss because they think you are closed!
It’s like the hours that banks have: 9-to-5. That’s the normal banking hours but who can make it there then? If you have a job, you need the bank before nine and after five! (After all, do you want your own employees doing their banking during working hours when they are on your clock? Of course not! So the same goes for your customers who can’t call or even be at home when you want your business to be open).
Strategies To Serve Your Market
24/7 Number: It’s a good idea to have another number to call, at the very least to schedule services for another day (even if you don’t offer “after-hours” services). You can send people to a non-emergency scheduling service.
“After Hours” Employees: You may even find that it’s useful to have some employees who work evenings and weekends. For example, maybe you have an employee who can’t make it in during the traditional work hours because of family commitments but they are willing to work evenings and weekends. You can accommodate their work schedule by offering extended/non-emergency services on evenings and weekends—it’s a win for your customers who can’t take time off of work to call or be at home to let your team in, and it’s a win for your employees who don’t want to work traditional hours.
Be Clear On Your Website: Of course, you should be very, very clear on your website! Let your website visitors know when you are open for business and when you are scheduling for. Tell them that they can call 24/7 to schedule work and tell them what hours you are scheduling your teams for.
It All Starts With Your Avatar
It all comes down to who your perfect customer (your “avatar”) is and how they need to be served. If your perfect customer is a hardworking person who is at a demanding job all day then you need to adjust your business so you serve them when they are able to be at home… otherwise, you’ll be sitting there wondering why your phone isn’t ringing with work.
No, you don’t have to offer all your services 24/7/365 but you do need to be aware that your customers may be limited in when they can call, when they can be at home for your team… or even when they think that you are open and able to serve them.
Pro tip: When you have a team member who is willing and able to work extended hours, send out a very special marketing postcard to your best and busiest clients and tell them about this service, and be sure to remind them that there is no additional cost to have your company work for them in the evening. You should see an uptick in calls, especially in the late afternoon and evening, because suddenly you are much more accommodating to people’s busy schedules!