That depends on when your customers want to do business and what kind of business you’re in. If you’re in a business that serves other businesses you should be alright just being open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm. Time zones should also be taken into account you are doing business. If you’re in the East and doing business in the West you should cater to all your customers and adjust your hours accordingly. The old school hours for businesses were always 8 am to 5 pm and many of them closed for lunch. In today’s economy if you close for lunch your competitors will probably EAT YOUR LUNCH.
The best answer to dictate your hours is actually a question: “When do your customers want to do business?” If your customers expect you to be open a certain amount of hours, then you should either be open those hours or be ready to explain why you chose the a different set of hours. Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap that many small business owners fall into by being open whenever people call you. Too many small businesses owners tell prospects “call me anytime” when they first open and wind up establishing an outrageous expectation of service which can’t and shouldn’t have to be upheld.
Go with your gut. The best way to handle this is to open for the amount of hours you feel provides a good level of service and opportunity for customers to reach you during the normal hours they expect you to be around. If you’re not sure, check around with your competitors and see what hours they are open. You might decide to be open slightly different hours each day so you can pick up business they might be missing. Whatever you decide, track it. Check the times you are receiving messages and getting hang ups. Usually you can get this from your phone bill, otherwise, ask for a special report tracking this for a month or two until your figure out when you are missing business.
Pay attention to call times, talk to your customers and determine the best hours for your business to be open with a logical, thoughtful, customer oriented approach. Make it happen!
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