41% more worker time is spent dealing with customers outside traditional 9 to 5 office hours, compared with three years ago, creating a rapid demand for 24 hour services.
Legal and e-commerce businesses have seen the biggest rise in 8am to 8pm working – legal firms have seen an 80% rise in calls outside 9 to 5, while for e-commerce it is 60%.
Reuben Singh, chief executive officer at alldayPA, said: “Customer expectations are changing radically. 8-to-8 opening hours are seen as the norm rather than the exception.
“Businesses advertising telephone services should expect calls whenever customers see a listing or advert, whatever time of day, or night that is. Legal firms are experiencing the biggest growth due to greater emphasis on advertising personal injury claim lines and other helplines.
“For e-commerce and IT businesses, that operate round-the-clock, customers expect staff to be working as well, with calls outside 9 to 5 up 60% and 38% respectively.”
While larger businesses are adapting to these changing customer expectations using shift workers and international call centres, research suggests small and medium sized companies are simply lengthening their working day, putting greater pressure on staff.
32% of workers in such businesses say they regularly take calls outside of their contracted hours to help meet the demands of customers*.
“For smaller, fast-growing businesses, the 8-to-8 customer culture presents a real risk, both in terms of the well-being of entrepreneurs and bosses, but also a risk to the quality of customer service that is offered,” Singh explains`.
“Getting additional support from professional call answering services is a better solution for these businesses, easing the out-of-hours burden and ensuring a consistent, professional service for customers.”