Does your business need someone to call after hours?

Tips and tricks of avoiding call after hours

It’s a Friday Afternoon, at last the end of the week and you just go to leave your desk and the phone rings. What do you do? Do you answer? Or do you have someone to answer for you?

After Hours

The ‘always on’ culture has created a working environment which makes you need to be available to answer clients 24/7. If you own your own business, you do not have the option of clocking off and there is always more to do. You can’t be there all the time so you need to know everything is being cared for when you aren’t around.

It’s a nice idea to have someone personally answering calls however, if you own a small business sometimes you just don’t have the staff. You can hire people to man the phones but sometimes their other tasks get swamped by them constantly taking calls. Your focus should be your customers and how you can produce things to make their experience better.

In an ideal world you need someone who can always be available. This is not always possible, so you may need someone who can manage calls for a few hours after closing time. You need someone to manage things whilst you are away but it is important as a small business owner to stay within reason when hiring help.

An ‘Out of Hours’ Receptionist

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch very far, an on call receptionist could be the answer. By having someone managing calls in a remote location they can take care of your business in a professional manner without all the distractions from a busy office. They will be able to focus on their task. It’s useful for a start-up as you may not have the office space and it is an affordable solution.

Many businesses close up at around 5pm. This is a difficult situation as people may need help as they’ve just finished work as well. If you use an out of hour’s receptionist, you can have them answer the phones after you close and before you open in the morning. This is a more budget friendly choice that makes sure your customers are being cared for even after hours and it also makes it possible for you to be notified if any emergencies arise.

We’ve all been there when we aren’t happy with something and you want to talk to someone but instead you are greeted with an automated phone message. Even though we live in an age of technology we still want to talk to someone human.

Even though it is generally easier and cheaper to have an automated receptionist, a real person to answer messages is more personal. Your clients will also appreciate this aspect of your business, when they have an issue they want to talk to a person not a robot.


Everyone needs a break but as a business owner you don’t want to leave your business closed just because you aren’t there. At times such as Christmas and Easter, the whole office may be off but you still want someone to care for your phones. When you have an on call receptionist, they can be available any time you need them to be, which means you do not have to worry about your business being taken care of. They have the ability to take care of your business when you aren’t there.


If you still do not want to hire anyone new, the next question to ask yourself is – do your clients need to be contacted after hours? If you often find yourself sat in the office working on a project for a clients and you look up and realise it’s later than you thought but you need to talk to your customer. Should you start and out of hour’s relationship with them? It may make them think that this will be a regular occurrence and they can contact you whenever. Here are some tips to avoid taking out of hours calls:

What if it’s urgent?

You need to know your clients. If you find you are working with a company that is a little slower to get things done, make sure you are ahead of the game so they can catch up quicker. This means you won’t be held back later with last minute problems. However, some people working in industries such as estate agencies, often receive calls outside of work, to avoid this happening regularly make sure they only call during emergencies, otherwise just be available through email.

Is there an alternative?

Clients will sometimes have problems out of hours, it happens to everybody and the issue may need to be dealt with quickly. It could then be beneficial for you to have someone on call specifically for emergencies. If you do not have the funds you could introduce an out of hour’s rotation into your staff.

How do I establish my working preferences?

The best way to handle not having to deal with out of hours calls is to discuss your available hours with your client. Talk about when they can contact you in an emergency or accommodate extra time for certain projects.

Many people use their personal mobiles for work and if you give out your number to clients it suggests that they can call you after hours. If you are not, specify another way they can contact you out of the office.

If in doubt just remember the Golden Rule. How would your clients react if they heard a familiar buzz on their nightstand and saw you were calling them? If you wouldn’t want to receive a call at that time don’t make it.

What is the right phone system for me?

For a business that does need to take calls after hours it is important to have a phone system that will work in your favour. If you find a system with a voicemail tool with all the features you need to handle your calls. Sometimes clients call without expecting an answer, let the voicemail take the message, if you always answer you are always expected to be available.

Another feature that is helpful if you want to avoid calls out of hours is DND or Do Not Disturb. If you can’t take calls after hours, set your phone to DND and divert to another number that is available to talk.

Universe is a phone system that can provide these features for you so you don’t have to worry about dodging out of hours calls. You can even have the Universe SIM if you need to be available after hours and you are away from your desk or working from home.

Other articles you may like

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!