May 132011
 
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series What Time Is It?

Time Matters For Our Local Businesses In This Global Economy

What Time Is It? Use the Sunclock for Domestic and International World Time Zones

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Hash Tag Meetups :: Client Interactions :: Resources



It was time for me to clean up, close up some browser windows … Having worked on it (whatever “it” was) for the better part of an hour, I was hoping for an escape. Inadvertently, I clicked on the Greenwich Time link on my Chromium bookmarks bar. Playfully, I thought to myself, “What time is it?” … and the idea was born. Time to write a post with just that title!

When Does Time Really Matter?

The reason I have a link to the Greenwich Time site within easy reach is obvious: I need to know what time it is around the world at various times throughout the day. What?! That wasn’t obvious to you? Ahh, read on and it will be!

Ten to one, all the work you do every day is not online. In many cases, while our local business activities are nearby, we’re also conducting business activities that span numerous continents. This necessitates knowing what time it is on both domestic and international fronts.

Even the online portion of work-related activities sometimes require converting local time to another time zone. Presented below are a few scenarios I’ve encountered that required me to figure out the time elsewhere.

Hash Tag MeetUps

From time to time, I like to sit in on one of those Hash Tag Meetup — various meetings online where you get to ask, answer, or just watch the stream fly by while some bloglebrity (that’s a blogger celebrity-type personality) is interviewed or shares some nuggets of business gold via Twitter.

Throughout that day you’ll see Tweets from time-challenged persons (like me) asking, “Um, 4pm Central Standard Time? What time is that on the East Coast?”

Daylight Saving Time Since 2007: Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the United States at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March. Time revert[s] to standard time at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. — Greenwich Mean Time

Factor in Daylight Saving Time — which apparently changed in 20071 — and keeping up with the time just becomes laborious.

Finally, I grabbed the link that allowed me to quickly find out what time it was — in every time zone — in the U.S. I click it enough times during the week for it to earn a spot on my bookmarks toolbar, right at eye level!

Before we leave the subject of Twitter and Time, BufferApp released some interesting (if not quite scientific) stats about the best times to tweet to get more engagement.2 Unless you can translate the recommended times into your own timezone, you’ll miss out on that one!

Time in The Rest of The World

Now, what about keeping up with the time in the rest of the world? For the small business owner or blogger who barely has time to take a quick break, knowing the time in the U.K. or Perth is hardly important. Except when you need technical support or want to have a phone conference with a client.

You Need Technical Support

You find out how much what time it is matters when you need customer service or technical support to solve a pressing issue or answer an important question.

Consider this typical scenario:

You run into a problem, so you call tech support, only get a recording. Checking their website, you find chat is offline. You decide to pen an email.

What Time Is It? Post Your International Customer Support Hours!

It’s 9am, so you figure you’ll be a good customer and give the tech people a few hours to respond. You check at 11am, then again after lunch. By now you’re a bit miffed that they haven’t had the decency to send you a response, other than that automated thing which you sorta appreciate, but come on!

Finally (late afternoon), you realize that they’re on the other side of the world! Nine o’clock a.m. your time is 9pm their time. So even if you wait ALL DAY for an answer, one will not be forthcoming until the following day!

Knowing the time on the other side of the world can save you quite a few frustrating moments, and ensure you pick up the phone when somebody is likely to be awake on the other end.

… if you post your hours and expected response time, your clients will be more comfortable contacting you. If you post 9-5 EST and they shoot you an email at 7pm EST they will be less likely to sit by their computer waiting for a response. Due to your posted hours they will expect an email the following morning.3

On the flip side of this, it wouldn’t hurt for vendors to have 24-7 customer support, but some companies really do keep bankers’ hours. More realistically, posting customer support hours — along with the time zone — goes a long way toward helping customers remember when to seek interactive support.

Did I hear someone say, “Time is money!”

Time Matters In Client Interactions

Technical support is not the reason you need to pay more attention to what time it is on another continent. The level of customer service and client interaction you give could very well be impacted.

Chronograph Watch International What Time Is It Perhaps . . . You’ve just finished that key proposal and you’re ready to fire off the email, drop the hard copy in the FedX guy’s arms, and take a breather.

So, you fire off the email, pass the package off to the courier, hop on the trolley for your fav coffee with the whipped topping. Yes!

Then you realize that one item in the cost projections could use some more explanation. You added a note on the budget, but this client is big on minutiae and undoubtedly will want to talk about it.

Rather than wait for him to discover he’s got questions, you whip out your smartphone, say the name, wait for the connection, then hear … “our office hours are” …

Ooops! In your excitement (just like most other times), you forgot. Oh how you hate the “when I’m sleep, they’re awake” game you end up playing with clients across the continent or on the other side of the world.

This is the place where I convince you to buy an international Rolex! But since the Rolex isn’t in this month’s budget, let’s settle for an international time clock on the computer (or links to virtual clocks) and a smart around-the-world app on the mobile.

How do you stay atop the changing times?

How do you keep up with time around the world? Share your techniques, special apps, and any tools that help you know what time it is in places around the world that matter to you. Have your say in the comments area.


Resources

FOR U.S. TIME ZONES


FOR WORLD TIME ZONES


APPS for SmartPhones



Image Credits:
Screenshot of posted Customer Support Hours courtesy ProjectManager.com.
Sunclock screenshot taken from Sunclock from World Time Zones.
Chronograph Watch by OCAL.

[This is the first entry in the What Time Is It Series. Part 2 is Timers – Not Clocks – Make The World Go-Round.





Footnotes

  1. The Greenwich Mean Time website is the place to be if you want to know what time it is! Daylight Saving Time, for the U.S. and its territories, is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the state of Arizona (not the Navajo Indian Reservation, which does observe). Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, due to its large size and location in three states.  [↩ go back]
  2. BufferApp Blog, What are the best times to tweet to get more engagement?, March 2, 2011, was based on research by Dan Zarella and Gary McCaffry.  [↩ go back]
  3. Customer Management Hack #2, Designated Customer Service Hours from the Home Business Hacks series.  [↩ go back]

About Vernessa Taylor

Hi, I'm Vernessa Taylor. I write most of the articles, tutorials and reviews around here. Join in the discussions, share your thoughts, ask questions and lend a hand when you can. Need something? Ask! Check out my About page to learn more about me and my work as a technology consultant and internet coach. Don't forget to connect with me on Google+ and Twitter @CoachNotesBlog.

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  9 Responses to “What Time Is It In The Rest of The World?”

Comments (8) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Hi Vernessa,

    For me it’s a big problem because not being in US, it is a permanent confusion with Central Standard Time, East, West… a mess! As you said it’s important for business and tech support.

    The better is to find online the time e.g. worldtimezone.com and timeanddate.com

    All the best,

    Gera
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  2. Hi Vernessa,

    Yes I’m in general on US sites…well most of my readers and blogs I also read, are there :)
    I’ve bookmarked several time converters online and I go there when I need it.

    Cheers,

    Gera
    Gera recently posted..Guide How to Import Blogger to WordPress with Error in Your Google Account and Can’t AuthorizeMy Profile
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  3. Hello Sheena,

    Welcome back! Staying connected with employers and business partners across timelines is so important. Other than using a multi-time watch, it helps to know where to quickly check time in the rest of the country or around the world.
    Vernessa Taylor recently posted..Autoresponse Plus 4 Almost Ready For The Digital ShelvesMy Profile
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  4. I’ve never put much thought into it, Vernessa. However, after reading your post, I am now beginning to realize how time difference could have affected some of my past transactions. There really is no serious math involved in figuring out the time differential for me. It’s because I just base it on the notion that if it’s daytime where I’m at, it must be evening on the other side of the world. I never paid much attention to small time differences with neighboring locations thinking that it doesn’t matter if it’s noon or afternoon. Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that a couple of hours can make a world of difference especially when dealing with a valuable client or sharing of important material.

    • Hi Roro,

      If most of your transactions are local, the issue of “what time is it?” doesn’t come into play so much. Your idea of “daytime here, evening there” works in many situations.

      Of course, sometimes daytime here (wherever here is) is also daytime there. :) This is real noticeable on Twitter when you figure out that 9am your time is 11am their time but it’s the next day for them!

      Thanks for dropping in. :)
      Vernessa Taylor recently posted..Who Helps You Map Your Path, Grow Your Business?My Profile
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  5. Hello Vanessa,

    I must say that when we talk about time, in many places around the world, it is very important especially to those who have family and friends in any destinations. By the way, You have a great site with those countries attached with time!

    • Hi Singh – Welcome!

      Yes, you have a good point about family and friends being in different places on our globe. These days, families can be separatedy by members going to school in different countries or friends matriculating in one place then accepting work assignments abroad.

      Writing this, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to just how global personal networks have become, so thanks for bringing that point up. :)

      I’m so happy you like the countries and times over in the sidebar. You are the first to comment on it. What makes your notice extra special is that I just added that feature last night when I signed up for the Clicky Stats service. Maybe you’ll add it to your blog?
      Vernessa Taylor recently posted..Who Helps You Map Your Path, Grow Your Business?My Profile
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