Don't Call Offices at the End of the Work Day

Put the Phone Down!

So you've been at work all day and you haven't had the chance to make that phone call you need to make. You have to make an appointment for the boss or you need to see if you dentist is available next Friday. You notice the clock says 4:55, but you figure, "Hey, they stay open until 5, right? I can still call." Nope. Put down the phone! You should always try to avoid calling offices at the end of the day.

Technically, you can call. Sure, it is a free country. If the office hours are until 5, you have every right to do so. However, think about your own place of business. Do you really care about helping one more person out at the very end of the day? Aren't you starting to pack up your own things? Just because you lost track of time does not mean everyone has done the same.

Perhaps you do not work in customer service, so you are not aware of how tiring it can be. Sometimes a customer service worker has heard sob stories, angry rants, and problems all day long. When someone calls at the last minute, the customer service associate often does not have the energy for one more problem, especially a last minute problem that prevents them from leaving on time. Most office workers do not use a time clock, so if they work 5 or 10 minutes past 5 o'clock, they usually do not get paid for it.

What you need to consider is, yes, someone will pick up the phone. However, if they seem rushed, don't get angry. In theory, everyone should be patient and eager to help you until the last second they leave work. In reality, most people do not feel that way after working 8 or 9 hours. If you know you have an issue that will take a while to resolve, call back the next morning when everyone is more likely to be patient and have the time to properly handle your call.

Be Prepared for the Call

If you are going to call an office at the last minute (for that matter, if you are calling at all), at least have everything prepared for the phone call. If you know you are making a purchase over the phone, make sure to have your credit card ready. Don't ask for a particular service or product, and then go on a search all over the place to find your wallet. The person taking the call has other calls coming in. While you are searching for your credit card, other sales are being lost.

Even if you are not paying for anything over the phone, be prepared with any other information you may need for the call. Calling to discuss a bill with the phone company? Have the invoice sitting in front of you. Calling to make a doctor's appointment? Have your calendar or date book ready. Just a little preparation can go a long way and save time for everyone. This is especially important if you are calling anyone when it is nearly closing time.

Pack and Pee Time

I have a term for the last 5 minutes of any workday. It is called "Pack and Pee Time." Please feel free to incorporate this phrase into your normal everyday life. I believe at most offices, people are packing to leave and scampering off to the restroom before the drive home during the last 5 minutes of the day.

I have been frustrated with co-workers if they want to tell me about a major project when it is time to leave. I explain, "Look, it is pack and pee time; can we talk about this tomorrow?" Usually, they totally understand. Obviously, their hours are different from my hours, and their pack and pee time begins later in the day.

Those Reports are Not Going to Run Themselves

Aside from packing up to leave, most offices run reports at the end of the day. Usually, the customer service workers are the people running those reports. When you call at the last minute, you disrupt this process. Not only are you slowing down the job duties, but you may actually throw off the reports if your call changes the report's statistics. If you are ordering a product or a service, now the reports have to run again. That is never appreciated.

Bonus Inside Info: This Rule Really Applies to Fridays

I will give you, the customer, another helpful hint. When you call in the afternoon on a Friday, especially in the summer, about half the office or more has already bailed out. Sure, if you have a normal call, that is no problem. However, if you feel you have a complex problem, you may want to call earlier in the day or call back on Monday.

Don't get too upset if no one is there that knows the answer to your question after 2 PM on Friday. Once again, in theory, someone should be there to help you. However, on a Friday, people start dropping like flies around noon. By the time late Friday afternoon rolls around, the only poor souls at the office are the people that drew the shortest straws.

Trust me, I understand your frustration because your frustration is my frustration as well. As a customer service representative I want to help you. On certain issues, I can't help you. The people who have to handle the issue are long gone. It upsets me, too, but I can't tell you that on the phone. Do yourself a favor and call back on Monday. It is best for everyone.

Bonus Inside Info 2: This Rule Applies to Stores

As someone that has worked at a number of stores in the past, I have to say the last minute shopper is not what workers want to see either. If a store closes at 10 PM, it is not acceptable to walk through the door at 9:50. No one wants to help you at that point. There are customer service associates that have been on their feet all day. They were just about to lock the door and finally go home. Now you've stopped them.

Another little known fact to those who have never worked retail: stores also run reports at the end of the day just like an office. When a person comes in and makes just one purchase when the reports have started running, the reports have to run all over again. Now, no one is getting home on time. When you move items around, then someone has to fix them before they can go home. So just plan you day wisely and show up earlier, or visit the next day when you have more time.

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Comments 16 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Very nice hub....I agree 100% with you on the last minute shoppers.....I have seen the nicest cashiers in the world turn into the meanest people in the world...when they see a shopper come in right before you lock the doors, grab a cart and go shopping like they have all the time in the world...on the reverse end of this thinking....always schedule appointments at the end of their shifts....for example doctor's appointments....oil changes....since the workers want to go home....your visit will be very short as they want to finish up and go home....voted up


nycgrl profile image

nycgrl 5 years ago from New York

Great hub! I wholeheartedly agree on everything you said. Especially the last minute shoppers. In high school, I worked at a popular clothing store and we would close at 9pm and then clean up to all leave by 10pm. And at 8:45pm people would still show up wanting a whole new wardrobe. And they see you there giving them dirty looks and not caring. But these same people would be the first to complain if it was their job. Nobody ever cares about anything except themselves and their issues. I actually because of my experience am much more understanding. At the nail and hair salons as well, people come in for a manicure and pedicure at 7:30 when they close at 8! I don't ever do that, if its already late, I just wait till the next day. It can always wait another day.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Cogerson - I never thought of that before. I suppose in some instances if you want something done at a speedy pace, it is good to wait until it is closing. My frustration is when people walk in or call with an obvious problem that is time consuming and expect perfect service. It just isn't going to happen. Thanks for the comment and the vote up!

nycgirl - Yes, clothing stores are the worst for the last minute shoppers. Shoppers do not understand that the clerks have to fold every single item and hang every item before we can go home. I have seen one person ruin an hour's worth of work in about 5 minutes. It made me want to scream! Thanks for the comment!


Simon Badrick 5 years ago

Agree totally, how many times have difficult calls come as I'm trying to go home.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for the comment. Yes, people always call at the last minute. I am not sure if it is because of bad timing or if they are just rude.


Ddraigcoch profile image

Ddraigcoch 5 years ago from UK

It is also less beneficial to call later, as everyone thinks that they will call when THEY get off work, except by then the companies that have staggered team times for their call center staff will have reduced staff. I have known customers complain that they have waited 20 minutes before pick up, but it is Dinner time and the shift that started at 6 has packed and gone home.

Don't call at lunch for the same reason either, they stagger lunch which means skeleton staff on the phones.

Feel free to pinch these somehow Jeannie xx


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

I used to work in retail years ago, and definitely people arriving as the store is closing delays closing procedures. The same is true in the restaurant business. It may mean cleaning dishes again or whatever.

On another note, if I ever have to call my cable company to help with a service issue, I always call during the day as opposed to the evening. The people during the day seem so much more knowledgeable whereas the people at night almost seem to be following a script. Plus, if the daytime employee cannot resolve the issue, there usually is someone that they can talk to in order to find a resolution. That is how it has been in my multiple experiences anyway.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Ddraigcoch - That is so true. Someone should realize if they are getting off work at that time, so is the rest of the world. And yes, I agree about the lunch time thing too. I once had a customer go off on me about no one picking up their phone at about 12:30 and I was having a bad day, so I finally snapped and said, "Look, you are calling on a day when most people are at a conference and you are calling at lunch time. I am the only person answering the phone and now that you've got a person talking to you, how about you tell me how I can help you." She was pretty tame after that.

Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

ktrapp - It is true calling during the day is better at most companies. I am assuming the people working at night are new and the people working during the day have been there a while and worked their way up to the good shift. I recently learned calling at 7 AM seems to work well with credit card companies and banks. Thanks for the comment!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

That sort of what I was thinking - the new guys get the late shift. Thanks for this interesting hub.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

Great hub. I work in a school office. Unless a call is directly related to a change in a child's mode of transportation for the day, please do not call school offices at bus-time. There is a lot going on when the buses and parents arrive to take children home.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you both for your comments. Sinea Pies - you would think parents would understand that. How annoying if they call right at the end of the day when children are trying to get home.


Yoridale profile image

Yoridale 4 years ago

I agree. I also have an experience of late customers coming in and did not bother on the time.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I know! What is up with that? When the workday is over, everyone wants to go home. I don't know why customers don't get that. Thanks for the comment!


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I don't know how I missed this hub but amen! Working in customer service is exhausting and taxing. You don't need to call in the last 30 minutes is more likely because some people need to check themselves. but you know what I mean. Great hub!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Hey Alecia, I am glad we are on the same page. Sometimes I am looking at the phone at 4:55 and thinking, "You've got to be kidding me!" It makes it so much worse on a Friday. I guess some people have been lucky enough never to work in customer service, so they just don't get it. Thanks for the comment!

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