What’s the best time for automated reminder calls?


A few weeks ago, I received an automated reminder call from my doctor’s office to confirm an upcoming appointment. However, they called fairly late in the day — certainly after what I would consider normal business hours. I wasn’t near my phone at the time, so I ended up with a cryptic voice mail message from them. I then had to call the next day and talk to a live person, thus defeating the purpose of trying to automate this process in the first place.

Granted, they should probably change their message so that it’s clear even when left on someone’s voice mail, e.g. saying that there’s no need to call back if you’re keeping the original appointment. But the larger issue here is the actual scheduling of the automated calls. It seems obvious, but anyone using an automated phone call system should restrict the calls to very conservative business hours, like 9 to 5 on weekdays.

After all, what’s the point of calling at 7 or 8 pm if people are less likely to be at their phone, and might even be annoyed at getting a call so late? Plus, I would guess that people are more likely to call back with questions right after they receive a reminder call. If you’re placing these calls outside of your own business hours, you’ll just be frustrating people even more when they try to reach you during those times.

In short, the best time to place automated reminder calls is during business hours. You’ll reach more people on the first try, and customers won’t have any reason to be annoyed with you for calling at times that they’re unavailable, or during periods that your own call center or storefront or office is closed.