Suzanne Yates, of alldayPA, reports on the changing nature of customer service and the flexing of the working week.
Customers can seem a little ruthless at times. The big push for Sunday retail has transformed the way that we shop, for better or for worse. There is an expectation on companies now to be open at the weekend, or at the very least be available to contact pretty much 24/7.
This hadn’t really hit me until it was pointed out to me by a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago. We were out for lunch when the conversation steered towards her recent trouble with the bank. She was sent a new card without a pin code.
When she rang the bank to find out when she could expect those all-important four digits to arrive, their customer service line was closed. As a result she was left essentially penniless until her local branch opened their doors on Monday, and that’s when she said it: “Who isn’t open on a Sunday?”
She has a point. Research carried out by alldayPA reveals that over the past two years, the number of calls on a Sunday has increased more than any other day of the week. Calls made during the middle of the week declined, with Wednesday seeing the biggest decrease.
More than ever customers want their queries answered or complaints handled in the moment, regardless of the day of the week; and such demands are putting businesses under pressure. Conveniently, a solution could be found in the new changes to flexible working laws.
The Government is changing legislation regarding flexible working, and the requirements on who can apply are being extended. Employers have a new duty to consider all requests accordingly within three months, and from 30th June all workers can apply for flexible hours if they have worked for over 26 weeks at the date of application.
As the research from alldayPA shows, businesses can clearly benefit from increasing their availability, and with that in mind your request for flexible working could be met with enthusiasm from your employer. While many working mums struggle for childcare during the week, there may be an abundance of helping hands available over the weekend.
While your employer isn’t obligated to agree to your request, there is nothing to lose by asking. Even if your original application is turned down often a mutually beneficial compromise can be reached. Many businesses may increase their ability by having an on-call phone, so why not offer to take calls at home over the weekend? Perhaps in exchange for shorter days during the working week, giving you more time for morning and afternoon school-runs.
The changes to flexible working legislation have been met with resistance from a number of groups based in the UK, and for some, Sunday will always be a day of rest; that must be respected. But for those of us who want a more flexible working week thankfully it opens a lot of doors.
*Suzanne Yates writes for alldayPA, a telephone answering service, specialising in bespoke packages to suit businesses of all sizes. Picture credit: Stuart Miles and www.freedigitalphotos.net.