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All in Good Time

Rachel Bachrach

Whether you’re calling customer service, buying a new food processor, or planting grass seed, your timing matters. Here’s a cheat list of the best times to do almost anything.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

1800-Customer Service

CREDIT CARDS: The best time to get a native English-speaking customer service agent at your credit card company is mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or around 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, according to former American Express employee Steven Schwartzberg ofMemphis,Tennessee.

Why’s that? At 9 a.m. people are just getting to their desks and making all their calls. People also save this type of call for their lunch break, plus anyone whose card was declined when they went shopping is calling to complain. You want to slip in between the two groups.

“If you call on your way home from work at 5 or 6 p.m., chances are you’ll get routed internationally — that’s when call volume is high, the workday here is ending, and it’s morning inIndia,” Mr. Schwartzberg explains. “But around 10 p.m. you’re more likely to get a customer service agent in the Mountain or Pacific time zones.”

One caveat — if you’re requesting a refund or need something more complicated than basic service, calling at the beginning of the day gives you two advantages: People are in better moods early in their shifts, and you’re more likely to find

a manager on duty who will have more power to process your exceptions than the frontline customer service agent.

PARCEL DELIVERY: Call any weekday besides Monday — the busiest day of the week for UPS and FedEx. Any package picked up Thursday or Friday is likely to be delivered then, and because there are more deliveries, call volume is higher. Also, don’t call before 10:30 a.m. on any given day. Express shipments get delivered in the morning, and anyone who paid extra for that service is calling to find out where their package is and when it’s arriving.


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