Author Topic: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.  (Read 7799 times)

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despedina

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How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« on: May 20, 2013, 11:06:18 PM »
Where I work I'm a rep that has about 100 dedicated clients.  Basically we are wholesale and our clients are distributors, so this is not the general public. I've been working with many of these clients for several years and most are wonderful, reasonable people.  However there are a few unreasonable ones that I can never seem to please 100% no matter what I do.

One such person emailed me Friday night about 5pm her time. Unfortunately 5 pm her time is 7 pm my time and I was long gone from work. This morning I responded that I was sorry but I just got her email and would take care of her request right away.  I also reminded her my normal hours are 8:30-5 so if she has an emergency after that she can call either the main line and talk to a 3rd shift production supervisor (our service dept only has 1st shift) or there is our Hotline after-hours number if that doesn't work.
She called a little bit after that and asked if I shouldn't be checking my emails from home in case such a situation arises. I explained that that would not be possible.   She continued to tell me that I really should be checking my emails from home or from my cell phone (which is my personal phone fyi) and that I should be aware that she sends inquiries after hours that need immediate response. 
I finally explained that I was not set up to work outside of my building that any further questions should be directed to my supervisor.  Doesn't anyone realize there are those out there who don't get paid to work from home after hours?   I know this lady will bring this up again in the future as she does not let things go easily.  I so want to say "I'm hourly and any work I put in outside of work will not be compensated and by the way my cell phone is paid by me and only me and does not have unlimited data".   I tend to think, however, this is none of her buisiness.

Slartibartfast

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 11:13:55 PM »
"Yes, I realize that issues do come up outside normal hours.  That's why you can call our 24-hour line and talk to someone any time, day or night.  I'm only here from eight-thirty to five on weekdays, though, so if it's something I personally have to do, I will try to get it done as soon as possible when I'm next at work."

If she tries to tell you you're required to answer email / phone calls at all hours, repeat: "Oh, I'm afraid that's not possible for me.  You can call the main line, though, and talk to someone else who can try to help you!"

Bluenomi

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 11:19:51 PM »
Ahh don't you love clients like that!

There is no need to explain thing to her, just be firm and keep reminding her 'I'm not avaliable after 5pm local time, please contact x for after hours service.' I suspect nothing you say and no amount of logic will made her happy so there isn't any point stressing yourself over it in an attempt to get her to understand. Just keep telling her the same thing until she gets sick of the broken record!

cicero

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2013, 11:22:17 PM »
It does seem like in this age of cell phones/pads/Wi-Fi/etc some people * don't* get it that you have a separate life. It doesn't really matter if you are an hourly basis or not.
I like slartibartfast's reply. Another thought is for you tho put an auto reply message on your emails on Friday afternoon - this way , when someone sends you a request 'too late' on Friday, they will at least have an option of getting your 24hour help line

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Library Dragon

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 11:23:05 PM »
Caveat: I don't know your company's rules.

Explain that your communication needs to be via the company's avenues, email or office phone.  Since your phone is personal you aren't to be answering work emails on it.

Also, checking for emails would require working after normal hours and compensated.  This would have to be approved first and she is more than welcome to submit a formal request to your supervisor.

This indicates that you aren't being unhelpful, but must operate within company policy. She may still not like it, but you aren't just saying no. You are giving her an action she can take to try and get the results she wants.

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despedina

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2013, 11:25:18 PM »
Thanks. Part of me keeps thinking I should explain to her why but then I think, well, its none of her business what my employment status is! 
This same client has picked apart our price catalogue (didn't like the layout), questioned how invoices are sent (not remotely part of my job) and other things that I feel are petty. I do pass her comments along to the people "in charge" of each of these things and tell her as much. I just wonder if she has too much time on her hands!

PastryGoddess

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 12:55:34 AM »
I'm going with too much time on her hands. 

If you can do an out of office reply on your email and set up an after hours voice mail greeting, that may help.  Then when she complains, you can point out the fact that she was given various ways to reach your company after hours and chose not to.

Noph

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 01:20:37 AM »
Definately do as suggested by the above posters!  Try something like "Mrs.Difficult, I have no access to work data after work. That is My Company, Inc.'s policy.  But feel free to contact Supervisor John Doe at (his/her phone/email) about how this matter. Now is there something I can resolve now for you?"   This sounds more like "Lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on your part" than she's bored.    My company has the same policy for people in the op's job for very good reasons.  Just tell whatever supervisor you use what is headed his/her way.  I like to know what sort of poopstorm I'm dealing from inside the company first as it allows me to be prepared to make the customer happy without throwing a good employee under the bus to make a poor customer happy.
Sorry about my spelling.

LadyClaire

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 07:58:25 AM »
I've had that issue with students and even co-workers where I work, who seem to think I should respond to e-mails all hours of the day and night.

I once got back from vacation and found an e-mail from someone that said "I know you're not in the office next week, but could you send me a list of the vendors we usually buy chemicals from? I need it by Monday" (it was Friday night at about 8:00 p.m. when they sent the e-mail).

I hadn't checked my e-mail while on vacation. Being hourly, once I go home, I don't check my e-mail either, so I hadn't checked it over the weekend before my vacation officially started. Besides that, I'd sent them the vendor list months ago..so they should've had a copy. They were rather displeased when I got back and hadn't sent it to them when they asked, but my boss basically told them "tough cookies".

siamesecat2965

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 09:22:23 AM »
Thanks. Part of me keeps thinking I should explain to her why but then I think, well, its none of her business what my employment status is! 
This same client has picked apart our price catalogue (didn't like the layout), questioned how invoices are sent (not remotely part of my job) and other things that I feel are petty. I do pass her comments along to the people "in charge" of each of these things and tell her as much. I just wonder if she has too much time on her hands!

Don't! you don't owe her any explanation as to why you aren't available to help her after your workday is finished. You're correct in that its none of her beeswax.  I would just simply keep repeating how she CAN get assistance when you've gone for the day, and leave it at that. It's not like once you go, that's it, she's out of luck. Your company has other options and whether she likes them or not is her problem, not yours.

Cami

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 09:36:21 AM »
I've worked with customers like that as well. Here's the deal: they won't CARE that you are hourly and won't be compensated for working outside of your regular hours. They don't care. All they care about is being treated like royalty whenever they want your assistance.

So telling them the truth is useless and wil likely result in more aggravation to you because she'll counter with, "Well, if MY employees want to keep THEIR jobs, they know they need to be available 24/7 regardless of whether I'm paying them or not. I guess you don't want to keep your job, do you?"

Save yourself the aggravation and keep telling her to contact the supervisor.

TootsNYC

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 10:09:57 AM »
Thanks. Part of me keeps thinking I should explain to her why but then I think, well, its none of her business what my employment status is! 
This same client has picked apart our price catalogue (didn't like the layout), questioned how invoices are sent (not remotely part of my job) and other things that I feel are petty. I do pass her comments along to the people "in charge" of each of these things and tell her as much. I just wonder if she has too much time on her hands!

Oh yeah she does! And she has too high an opinion of her own opinion.

Blow her off. Be Teflon.

And don't even bother to answer her question when it's off topic. Treat is as a rhetorical question, and don't even respond to it--go straight to the business at hand.

(also, don't apologize anymore for not having seen something between 5pm Friday and starting time on Monday. Simply respond as though you were answering their email immediately--which you were. The apology created the expectation that you might have been in the wrong)

z_squared82

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 10:14:34 AM »
Perhaps you can go with, "I'm sorry, I'm not permitted to work outside my normal hours." Sure, YOU are what does not permit you, but for all she knows, your place of business has a strict OT policy. Heck, throw in a line about a strict OT policy. I know I have, especially when I worked somewhere where all OT had to be approved beforehand.

rashea

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 10:46:07 AM »
I think it might be worth dropping a line to your supervisor and letting them know that you are getting this request. Are you able and willing to check emails after hours if you were compensated? I'm hourly, and I'm happy to tell people that my hours are 7:30-5:30 M-Th and I'm not available outside those times except by pre-arrangement. I've not had people have issue with that too often.
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betty

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Re: How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 10:51:49 AM »
Chiming in to agree with others.

Hourly has nothing to do with it. You are allowed to work during work hours and not work during non-work hours. Just keep telling the customer when you ARE available.

I run my own business from my home. I do work all sorts of weird hours, but that is for my own convenience. I do not communicate with clients outside of regular business hours. They can leave a message or send an email, and I'll respond between 9am and 5pm. Otherwise I'd have clients expecting me to be available at all hours, and that's not healthy for me.