Ask the Experts | Paying After-Hours CSRs

Question: We have our CSR's take the after-hours phone home each week on a rotating schedule. How should we pay them for this service?

Gary Elekes; Founder, EPC Training:

That’s a great question. It doesn’t just apply to the CSR’s – we do on-call managers and rotate that responsibility. Sometimes, in a smaller company, you only have a certain amount of people, so they end up with the phone more. The larger companies obviously can spread the opportunity to have that responsibility.

So it depends a little bit on your philosophy for how important that is for you. Some companies really want someone to be 100% on call 24 hours. Other companies have a different philosophy – maybe they’re ok with that moving to an answering service and they really only have that until midnight or something.

We’ve always had a pay plan of $250 per week, but we expect a 24-hour service. So we expect someone to actually answer the text or answer the phone, or the contact form it comes to on the web. And that’s a different kind of responsibility than, maybe, turning it off and letting it roll to an answering service.

I’m agnostic in terms of picking the number, but I do believe you need to pay those folks for that responsibility you’re asking of them, they’re giving up family time. So, often in life we trade time for money. Because we do that, I think there has to be some kind of compensation there. Drew and Wally may have some different experiences.

But we’ve always assumed that the 24-hour experience is part of what a customer -- that’s what we’re advertising and marketing, so we want the customer to actually get a live person. So we’re willing to pay a little bit extra money in order to have that person on call. Obviously the technicians have the same responsibility as well, so we give those guys some extra money as well.

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