Who’s calling your business after closing?

Illustration of desk with nighttime cityscape next to it

If a phone rings in the middle of the night and no one is around to answer it, does it still make a sound?

Yes—the sound of a missed opportunity (which we imagine is kind of like a soft *woosh* or something).

We recently gathered and analyzed insights from over 25 million calls as part of Ruby’s 2022 call trends report. Of those, 1.34 million came in outside of normal business hours. That’s a lot of missed midnight connections for businesses that send calls to voicemail between 6pm–6am.

And these after-hours calls are only becoming more frequent—increasing by more than 18% from 2020 to 2021.

How many of these calls represent real opportunities for your business? To help answer that question, we’ll be using Ruby’s opportun-o-meter™ to give you a clearer picture of who these late-night callers are and what you can do to win their business. Let’s take a look.

Here’s who’s calling your small business after-hours:

1. Known contacts

Known contacts are vendors, partners, colleagues, employees, and others that know you or someone on your team personally—people who know you by name.

And people who should probably know better than to call outside of work hours.

However, stuff happens, and there will always be times when these trusted individuals need to reach you ASAP. Whether it’s a delayed shipment, a cybersecurity incident, or a compliance catastrophe, some things just can’t wait until morning. That means these calls are—you guessed it—opportunities to protect your business and your bottom line by solving problems as they pop up.

Opportunity level:


2. Existing clients and customers

Customer expectations are higher than ever. And one of the most important, downright vital, borderline non-negotiable expectations that today’s customers have of small businesses:

24/7 service.

It’s inevitable that your current customers will have late-night concerns from time to time. This could be as simple as a routine billing question; or something more serious, like a flooded basement.

Adding live chat to your website is one way to field after-hour questions. But some customers still prefer to reach out with a phone call—and if no one is available to answer, their next call is probably going to be to a competitor.

Opportunity level:


3. Prospects and leads

Modern marketing strategies put you in control of how and where new customers get introduced to your business.

What you can’t always control, however, is when they reach out.

They might be in a different time zone. Or they might be making a snap decision between you and a competitor. Whatever the reason is, striking while the iron is hot is crucial to converting your leads into paying customers—even if it’s early Sunday morning. Having a real person available to answer their questions and address sales objections in real-time can mean the difference between a captured opportunity and a missed connection.

Opportunity level:

Off the charts

4. Robocalls and solicitors

Not every call requires an answer. Some can just be ignored—while others deserve a judicious press of that red “decline” button.

Robocalls and solicitor inquiries fall under both categories. And in a perfect world, these calls would always come in after hours instead of eating up your workday. Unfortunately, they usually come in when you’re at your busiest, disrupting your day and distracting you from pursuing actual opportunities.

We hate these calls almost as much as you do. That’s why we decided to put a stop to them for good. Learn how Ruby’s robocall filtering system frees you from interruptions here.

Opportunity level:


(Almost) every call represents an opportunity for your business.

With the exception of robocalls and solicitor inquiries, most after-hours calls represent opportunities —opportunities to win, retain, or lose business, improve perceptions, strengthen connections, and much more.

Put simply, every conversation between a business and its callers is valuable. Allowing even one late-night call to slip through the cracks can mean countless dollars lost in opportunity costs.

But calls that come in outside of normal hours are also only one part of the equation. In Ruby’s 2022 call trends report, we take a closer look at who your callers are, why they’re contacting you, when they prefer to reach out, and how this all comes together to impact your bottom line. Check it out!