Here's the Best Time to Call Customer Service

The face of friendly assistance
Getty Images
When it comes to getting fast customer service, the early bird gets the worm.

That's the finding of a new study by ZenDesk, a provider of customer service software. The company looked at the median response time for customer service inquiries based on the time of day that the request was initiated. The data is quite clear: The earlier in the day you initiate the call, the faster your issue will be addressed. Your best bet is to put in your request anywhere between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.; after that, the average response time declines over the course of the day.

As the graph shows, requests put in during the morning see a 5-hour median response time; wait until the end of the afternoon, and you're looking at a response time closer to 17 hours.

"You want to get your inqiries in by lunch, because things get quite a bit worse later in the workday," says Sam Boonin, VP of products for Zendesk.

One possible reason is that the people working in the customer service department simply get tired and slow down in the afternoon; another is that they've got more of a backlog as the day wears on. There's also the fact that inquiries made toward the end of the day may not get answered until the next day.

"Large companies like Amazon are able to staff their customer service 24/7, but most companies are not," points out Boonin.

The fact that median response time is listed in hours, rather than minutes, is attributed to the fact that the survey encompasses all customer service channels, including the relatively sluggish email. You'll get a much faster response by phone, which Boonin says is still the fastest way to go.

Of course, fast doesn't always equal effective. As we've noted in the past, your best bet may be to contact a company through social media, where the public nature of disputes tends to encourage a rapid resolution in the customer's favor.

But if you just want to get a fast response, pick up the phone -- and do it before lunch.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Re: Daily Finance.

I need a customer Service person. Trying to find one all day.

Very important to me !! Thank you Al Grandis

April 25 2014 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I try to have phone sex with various companies. I usually get hung up on a lot. But there are times I do lucky. Banks are great. Some have really excellent customer service.

November 04 2013 at 8:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I found the above info not to be accurate. When I contact customer service - I only contact via phone. No email,no snail mail and certainly not social media (I'm a mature adut after all).
The absolute WORST times to call are the mornings. Everyone calls then. I will also never call on a Monday or Friday as those are busy all day. Monday is the WORST.Best time I have found is to call between 1-2 A.M. Then the lines are not busy and the customer service reps are very friendly. This only works with big companies like Amazon,Target ,Walmart, all airlines and travel sites,etc. It also works with my utility companies who are all open 24/7.
If I get a customer rep in India or the Phillipines I politely ask them to re-route my call back to the USA and connect me with a native English speaking person. It works every time.
Another suggestion that always works for me.....I get the rep's name and repeat it to them
(them) Hi,My name's TaNiqua,how can I help. (me) Hello TaNiqua,that's a beautiful name. I could really use your help.(them) thank you.I'd be happy to help you. It works like a charm. Let them know you acknowledge them and they will bend over backwards to help. Be sincere and kind and remember their ONLY job is to answer the phone. They didn't do anything to cause your flight delay,break your gizmo when it was shipped, send you the wrong item,etc.
If I'm angry I still remain calm and polite. I'll say "Please understand I am not blaming YOU,I just need your help." The old saying "you catch more flies with honey,than you do with vinegar" is still true.

November 04 2013 at 3:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The numbers of customer service agents available to answer calls lessens after 12 noon. The lunchtime rotation begins at Noon and full staffing sometimes does not resume until after 4 :00 pm.

November 03 2013 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i find my best customer service experiences are in chat rooms at 1 AM
as for the article about calling in the morning, i guess its nice to have stats, but if i need to actually call rather than chat, and i sleep too late(night shift person), i will put the call off till the next day.

November 03 2013 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It all depends what time it is in India!!

November 03 2013 at 2:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

To Matt Brownell:
But if you just want to get a fast response, pick up the phone -- and do it before lunch.

My lunchtime or lunchtime in BFE? You never know where the call is routed to before you start the eternal quest for information and/or enlightenment. You have much to learn, grasshopper.

November 02 2013 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to syntheticlubeguy's comment

Was this directed to me? I am not Matt Brownell, but if it was directed at me the call routing is moot as the peaks will still occur around lunch, dinner, etc. The stats bear that out as fact....just like my 20 years in the business, Grasshopper.

November 02 2013 at 10:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoyed this article as I am in the Contact Center software business selling recording, analytics, and workforce management software. It was a bit disjointed as the article headliner indicates the best time to "call" yet the stats referenced indicate hours as they are factoring in all communication modalities. I wish they had focused more on "calling" rather than e-mail, social media, etc.. as calling in is still the fastest way to get First Call Resolution assuming you call during non-peak times (ex. stay away from lunchtime, dinner time, end of month cycles, etc). Many companies use Workforce Management (WFM) software to make predictive analysis of when to have staffing levels optimized to meet anticipated call volume demand (ex. the perfect mix of enough agents to keep queue wait times minimal yet not being overstaffed which is very expensive given labor costs). If the article had explored the "call" aspects I think the stats would have been more meaningful as to what the article headliner promised.

November 02 2013 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you call COMCAST, you'd better be prepared to listen to jibber jabber from the Phillipines for about 3 hours.

November 02 2013 at 10:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

You would have to calculate what time it is in India.

November 02 2013 at 9:32 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply