Responsing to emails out of hours

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by DavidWH, Mar 10, 2019.

?

Do you deal with emails out of hours?

  1. Yes

    12 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. No

    6 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. DavidWH

    DavidWH UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,383 249
    Like most people I have my email on my phone.

    I find myself checking emails away from work, replying, and on occasion forgetting things.

    I have one customer who's been emailing me over the weekend regarding a missing parcel. I appreciate it's urgent for them, but there's very little I can do over a weekend.

    When I'm not in the office there's not much I can do about other enquiries, like alterations and changed.

    I'm thinking of removing the email from my phone, and just dealing with it in office hours.

    What's the consensus? Yes or no to dealing with emails outside office hours?
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: DavidWH Member since: Feb 15, 2011
    #1
  2. Alyson Dyer

    Alyson Dyer UKBF Regular Free Member

    141 39
    I read emails out of hours but don’t respond until office hours. Most clients would assume that the emails were only accessed in office hours.
    However, as we are a husband and wife business we will respond if something is urgent and we are on holiday
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: Alyson Dyer Member since: Oct 27, 2011
    #2
  3. I_DO_MARKETING

    I_DO_MARKETING UKBF Regular Free Member

    371 97
    I respond to all emails instantly. Even if it's just to acknowledge receipt and say when I can respond properly.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: I_DO_MARKETING Member since: Oct 24, 2015
    #3
  4. johndon68

    johndon68 UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    3,380 617
    I removed my work emails from my phone a couple of years ago and it’s the best thing I’ve done. Without access to my PC, I can’t do what I’d do so work emails on my phone were pointless.

    John
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: johndon68 Member since: Nov 2, 2009
    #4
  5. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    14,266 1,557
    I will read the email when it arrives or when I get a chance to check my phone.
    I will at least then reply to say out of the office and will investigate and let them know what is going on.
    Maybe they have to wait several hours then before back in my office and able to check what is happening.

    Have found over the years people will forgive a lot, except the feeling of being ignored.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #5
  6. DavidWH

    DavidWH UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,383 249
    The emails I've had all weekend are regarding a missing parcel. I know as much as they do, as I can only access the same tracking information. It's Sunday and there is nobody I can call to find out anymore.

    Yes it's an inconvenience for the customer, but I can't do anymore than I have. I looked into it yesterday when they first contacted me, replied with what I knew.

    Then since then it's been multiple emails demanding more information, assurances it's going to be delivered tomorrow. Non of which I can do a thing about on a Sunday.

    A lot of the emails I can't deal with unless I am in the office, as I don't have the files and software on hand.

    99% of our enquiries are through office hours as we're mainly B2B.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: DavidWH Member since: Feb 15, 2011
    #6
  7. UrbanRetail

    UrbanRetail UKBF Regular Free Member

    174 46
    Tried it for a few months and I swiftly removed it from my phone. It's hard enough to switch off from work without receiving emails 24/7.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: UrbanRetail Member since: Mar 3, 2012
    #7
  8. DavidWH

    DavidWH UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,383 249
    I wouldn't mind most of what we do isn't really that important.

    If it was critical they perhaps should have gave us instruction sooner rather than trusting a courier to deliver it on the day they needed of.

    Most things can wait until office hours, as they won't get dealt with or actioned until we're back in anyway.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: DavidWH Member since: Feb 15, 2011
    #8
  9. HomeWrking

    HomeWrking UKBF Contributor Free Member

    34 5
    It is tempting but it means you never truly leave work...
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: HomeWrking Member since: Mar 9, 2019
    #9
  10. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    11,913 3,086
    Out of hours?
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #10
  11. ffox

    ffox UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,228 213
    Customers, even B2B, should not be communicating with you via your named email address. They should be accessing service and support via specific mail addresses like [email protected], or [email protected].

    Your level of data update should be an internal matter and beyond sight of the customer. So, you may have auto forwarding of mail from [email protected] to your named email address. That way you will see the issue and respond as necessary.

    Your response (if any) should be from the [email protected] address. You should also have an auto response from the [email protected] address to inform the customer that their mail has been received and will be dealt with of your in your normal office hours.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: ffox Member since: Mar 11, 2004
    #11
  12. Maxwell83

    Maxwell83 UKBF Regular Free Member

    527 120
    If your customers know your office/opening hours, then do not respond outside of those hours unless its urgent and you can actually offer something they need (maybe even just a simple reply to say "office is closed now but will look into this 1st thing" or whatever).

    Generally, no one expects a response on a weekend when they already know that the place is closed? So any you give would be a bonus, not an expectation. And any you don't give will not be an issue.

    I personally have access to my emails on my phone, but I don't have any alerts on - I check it if I feel like (rare) it just to see what is going on but I do not feel obligated to do anything about those emails until I am back in work mode.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: Maxwell83 Member since: Aug 4, 2012
    #12
  13. HomeWrking

    HomeWrking UKBF Contributor Free Member

    34 5
    If you own the business it is often hard to come out of work mode :(
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: HomeWrking Member since: Mar 9, 2019
    #13
  14. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,487 957
    I do for a few reasons:
    1) We are dealing with something that people are in general quite anxious about, so for me to reply and answer their questions, it takes me maybe 5-10 minutes but stops them worrying for the evening/weekend.
    2) We are not the cheapest broker around, so I tend to think we should be doing what others do not.
    3) If I answer it now, it wont be there in the morning.
    4) I regularly deal with emails at 8pm at night and maybe a sunday evening as I can do them without being interrupted.

    But, there is a limit. If I was getting 10 emails back and forth I would need to draw a line under it. But if it is just a one off email that will take 5-10 minutes then I have no issues doing that.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #14
  15. DavidWH

    DavidWH UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,383 249
    @Newchodge "out of hours" as in outside office hours.

    We're only a small company, so have the generic email, and each member of staff has their own named e-mail.

    General enquiries, all go through the generic email. Once we're on with a job, someone is running with it, so this is where the named e-mails come in handy, as everyone doesn't need to know about an alteration etc, it goes directly to the person dealing with it.

    I did reply yesterday, however all I could do is provide the same information the courier provided them online. By replying I've had several more e-mails asking further information, which we simply don't have, and can't get until tomorrow morning when I can speak with the courier.

    If I'd not replied yesterday the outcome would be the same for the customer.

    @tony84 most of our enquiries aren't 'urgent' and can probably wait. "how much to sign my van" is our favourite, especially if it's sent at 11pm, it's a good indication that we're dealing with a time waster.

    We don't get that many emails outside office hours, that we can't deal with them in the morning. Probably less chance of replying to an e-mail on a Friday evening, and forgetting about it come Monday morning.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: DavidWH Member since: Feb 15, 2011
    #15
  16. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Full Member

    12,140 4,218
    Tell you tomorrow.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
    #16
  17. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,487 957
    I agree, I think our customers are different to yours and I am 50/50 on whether in your industry I would be dealing with customers out of office hours.

    But I suppose the flip side is, how much goodwill business do you get from customers who said "they even replied to me at 10pm on a saturday night"?

    I used to use my personal phone for business until I had someone call me at about 11pm on a Saturday night. I was probably in some dodgy place like the Ritz talking mortgages out of my head. Although the less said about the Ritz the better.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #17
  18. ffox

    ffox UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,228 213
    deleted
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: ffox Member since: Mar 11, 2004
    #18
  19. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    14,266 1,557
    I have replied to some people and gained orders from it - because of the speed of response.

    Probably the most common questions are about whether an item can be sent out today and whether the item is waterproof.
    Nice helpful seller who quickly responds - a chunk of my repeat orders come from those who I have replied to.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #19
  20. DavidWH

    DavidWH UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,383 249
    I know some people who do similar business to us, they work from home, do loads of business through social media, and are happy to work late into the evening and weekends. It may work for them, however we're targeting a different market.

    The kind who expect a reply at 10pm aren't really the kind of customers we want... similar to the enquiries we get through social media, we find them to be of poor quality, are price driven, and rarely convert.

    I think I have answered my own question, as 99% of customers we have deal only in business hours. Other than the issues we've had with the delivery this weekend, we've had one other email asking whether they need to bring their vehicle to us, or can we do it at their place... I think the reply can wait until Monday.
     
    Posted: Mar 10, 2019 By: DavidWH Member since: Feb 15, 2011
    #20