In the Trenches: Expanding Our Hours
I’ve written about Cranky Concierge’s struggle with business hours before. One reader asked the obvious question that emerged from the discussion: “So, Brett, how far down the line do you see your business being ‘open’ 24/7?”
In other words, when will we just forget about business hours entirely and be a round-the-clock operation? I don’t imagine this is going to happen anytime soon, if ever. That’s because our ability to operate all day and all night depends on the company’s growth. When there’s enough demand, I will hire people to work additional shifts. But we definitely aren’t there yet.
Do we get a fair bit of interest outside our traditional business hours, which are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Pacific), Monday through Friday? Yes, but it’s primarily on weekends. For example, sometimes it’s a current client who just didn’t have time to contact us during the week. Other times, it’s a new client who’s working out travel plans when he or she is at home. Today, we see those types of
emails come in and, after making sure they aren’t urgent, we respond on Monday morning. (Sometimes we reply on Sunday night, so we can clear out our in-box.)
Is there enough demand to justify hiring someone to work weekends? No, not yet. I mean, we might have a couple hours of work each day on Saturday and Sunday at this point. If we see that increase, then weekends will be the first time slot to get coverage.
Meanwhile, do we have enough interest between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. to warrant a graveyard shift? Definitely not. And I don’t imagine we ever will — unless we grow internationally. Most of our U.S. clients do not plan trips in the middle of the night, so our hours work for them. If, however, we start doing more business in Europe and Asia, then those overnight times for us are daylight for them. That to me is a much easier decision. If we make a big push in those regions, then we’ll add more staff at those times. Otherwise, we won’t.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.