Business alert messages should be sent during business hours

11Nov10

Let’s say that you run an online service that is primarily used by other businesses. As part of the service, you send email reminders to your business customers when their immediate attention is required for a specific issue. Sometimes, you have no control over when these messages are sent, since issues can arise at any time and the emails are generated immediately afterwards. But in other cases, the messages are created based on a daily or weekly reporting period, so you have a little bit of flexibility about when they get sent out.

Now here’s the part that just baffles me: why would you send a message to another business in the middle of the night to notify them about a time-sensitive issue, if you already had enough data earlier that day to give them a proper heads-up? For instance, if you’re providing a tech support application that sets a two day benchmark for responding to customers, and it’s nearing the end of the second business day after a case was submitted, should you really wait until midnight to tell the user that they’ve fallen behind? Of course not. Send them a message a few hours before the close of business on that second day, and they’ll actually have a fighting chance of addressing the issue on time.

In general, if you have enough data to predict when alert messages are likely to be sent, then try to send those email alerts to business customers during business hours. After all, if you’re giving them a heads-up that their immediate attention is required, it makes sense to deliver that correspondence during the time period when they can actually deal with the issue at hand.



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