Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Charitable Coping with Telemarketers

Telemarketers. You have all been interrupted by them, you try to avoid them, you put your name on that national do not call list, but they STILL manage to find you.

There seem to be, in my experience, a few standard ways of dealing with this kind of interruption:

1) Abruptly hanging up ("I'm not wasting one SECOND of my life on this tripe.")
2) Politely listening, then letting them down gently ("Thank you for calling, but I'm really not interested today.")
4) The artful dodge ("Hey, can I have your phone number and I'll call you back?" or "Hey! What do you know about the Mormons? Would you like to know more?")
5) Play the insanity card ("I told you never to call me on this phone! It's bugged!")

Too often I use method 3. Not good. Especially because I've been there.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but once upon a time, I too was a telemarketer.

It's a good thing you're sitting down already. I can just see the shock on your face. "No, mormonhermitmom, say it ain't so." Well, it was. I was young and needed money for tuition and the company was hiring just about anybody for a little better than minimum wage in a small college town. I thought it would be better than a fast food gig. Oh, how pride cometh before the fall! At least people who patronize fast food joints sort of know what they are getting.

You need to know that most telemarketers are, at heart, decent people just trying to earn a living. It's the way they are trained that brings so many people indigestion. They cannot, on threat of losing their jobs, let you off the hook when you say "no". They are required to give you a "rebuttal", a response to your "no" that hopefully will persuade you to stay on the line and give them a chance to give you the full sales pitch. The company I worked for wouldn't let us give a polite goodbye without the possible customer saying "no" at least three times. The last few telemarketers that have called me this year kept pushing beyond that, hence my number 3 response, but I know I should rise above that. I remember being on the receiving end of the number 3; not fun.

The other thing you need to know is that some telemarketers have to make hourly quotas. That's right, they have to sell so many products in an HOUR to keep their paychecks. Depending on the product, that could be anywhere from one to six calling plans, supplemental insurance policies or warranties and hour. They don't have time to waste doing their nails or texting their buddies. If they are talking to fast for you to understand them, that may be the reason why. If you can't be polite, the best thing you can do for them is to just hang up (1). If you cut the line, they can't press you for the three "no's" and they can go on to the next call without getting in trouble with their bosses.

And one last thing: If they are trying to sell you something that you, yourself, sell as a traditional or online businessperson, don't tell them that. The most humiliating call I ever made was trying to sell supplemental life insurance to an insurance agent. He treated me like a six year old, and I knew I couldn't get off without three "no's" so I had to sit there and take it and just give the stupid rebuttals anyway. I was PRAYING for the guy to just hang up on me.

Needless to say, that job only lasted two months. The thought of endless filing for my father suddenly seemed the best job in the world after that. I got out before it was too late.

So please join me in doing more to help these poor souls slaving away at a cubicle with prowling supervisors behind them. Just say no. AND HANG UP!


Pam said...

I've never had problems with them because I ordered a private unlisted line long ago. When their computers DO randomly connect I'm not nice, I just hang up and don't even say goodbye. The first time I did that it really bothered me because that made me feel so rude. I guess you get over it when you get called so much, you end up not caring. What a society that is that pushes you into doing that, good grief!

Andrew said...

You know, although telemarketers can be annoying, and I don't like receiving calls as well, I would rather get a human than a machine. I think an automated caller is worse, especially when it's a political candidate.

I have been a sales representative for Comcast. Luckily, all the calls were inbound, so that was a plus. But I did get my share of angry callers. The worst feeling I had was not having the power to negotiate contracts, prices, and subscriptions to keep the customer. That was hard.

There was one time I did temp work for a political calling center. The worst part of that job was not being able to take the called person's phone number off the calling list. Very strange, even though the law allowed political parties to call people without liability under the law.

mormonhermitmom said...

Well, OF COURSE, politicians left themselves a loophole so they could bother people for money. Free speech costs mucho dinero. HA!

Lourie said...

I have hung up. I have even said, "I'm not interested. Pass it on." haha. Probably got me back on the list. But it felt good in the moment. I hope I never hung up on you.

Nikia, May and da kids said...

SERIOUSLY, I am using your Mormon answer. I never even thought of that but if I have a few minutes to burn, why not, huh??

Thanks for the tip = )


Sarah Bishop Jackson said...

I cut them off before they get more than a few words out of their mouth and say "No thank you; take me off your list" and hang up.

I remember grandpa once telling a telemarketer that he couldn't buy their product because he was going to die soon and he wouldn't be able to use their product. Only grandpa could get away with it with a straight face. The telemarketer was falling all over himself apologizing to grandpa. :)

Andrew said...

Yes Aunt Sarah!

Grandpa also told one about the time a telemarketer was selling a water softener. He got his goose by saying he hated soft water, and that he would throw it to the ground and start beating it with a stick. The telemarketer hung up! Loved it!

Oh, another experience at Comcast. Sometimes you get good ones. I remember two times I made friends over the phone. One friend I made talked about anime, and we went off talking about a club at the U that showed anime. Another one was a judge in Park City. Having worked at a law office, I called him "your honor" for the rest of the call. He seemed to remember Dad, but I don't remember his name, but he did go to the U Law School during the years Dad went.

So, I guess telemarketers don't have it that bad.

Pam said...

As you can see by the answers on this one that telemarketing has affected everyone.
But the stories of G Bishop remind me of how much humor he had, he made me laugh.