Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I had a telemarketer hang up on me

I know it's normally the other way around but I suppose I was being a bit of a smartarse. Let me say firstly that I am sympathetic to telemarketers, I had a business once that relied heavily upon converting telephone calls to sales, so I know it's not an easy job. But this bloke rubbed me the wrong way.

I often get pestered by people who call the office and bluff my staff into putting them through to me. This usually happens if they actually ask for me by name and that's not hard to find given it's plastered all over our website. I'm not sure where this bloke got my name from but he was put through and then started to give me the spiel.

You know the one. It often begins by mentioning a charity and in this case it was the Australian Red Cross. Maybe if that organisation has media monitors they'll check out this blog and perhaps learn a bit of a lesson. This bloke wanted to put in a lolly machine and a portion of the funds raised through this vending machine would go to the Red Cross.

"What portion?" I asked.

"What do you mean?" he said.

"Well, you just said a portion, how much of the portion goes to the Red Cross and who gets the other bit?"

"It's a partnership between the Red Cross and ....vending machine company," he explained.

"OK," I said, "how much of the money collected goes to the Red Cross and how much to the vending machine company?"

"I don't have those figures but the man who installs the machine can tell you when he comes out."

"Not much good sending someone out here to install a machine that I don't want, if you can't tell me what percentage of the money raised goes to the Red Cross - is it 80%, 50%, 5% - how much?"

"We've raised over $150,000 for the Red Cross with these machines"

"That's admirable," I replied, "but you may actually have collected $20million and only given them a very small percentage."

That was when he hung up on me.

So a word of warning to telemarketers, make sure you anticipate all the questions and have all of the facts at your finger tips. If you can't do that, at least have the courtesy to offer some excuse about having to find out the answer and offer to get back to the person asking. You can then hang up gracefully and mark the number never to be called again.

And a word of advice to the Red Cross - if you're going to allow people to use your name like this at least tell them to be upfront with all of the facts.

Now if you think I may have been a bit harsh on the poor bloke then have a listen to this one.


WalksFarWoman said...

That's incredible Loz I always thought these telemarketers were a lot more skilful at thinking on their feet. I can't believe that he thought anyone would agree to such a thing merely based on the mention of a name.

I once gave a blind caller a shock by agreeing straight away that I needed double glazing. It was a bad mistake, their rep (from a reputable firm) called and wouldn't leave for 5 hours going through exactly the same performance as I'd seen on expose television programmes. Nightmare, never again.

Lollies aren't good for you anyway! :)

Gypsy said...

This is why I have a silent number and even then, the odd telemarketer manages to slip through the net. That audio was HILARIOUS!!! Talk about getting more than you bargained for.

Jeff said...

Great post. Bob and Tom broadcast from here in Indiana so I am very familiar with them. Good stuff!

HealthiaCynthia said...

I admire your initial compassionate statement about recognizing where these telemarketers are coming from... tough, thankless work. I once had a client who was a young, single mom trying to eke a living in an all-night telemarketing firm in a less-than-savory downtown location. One night a guy with a gun came in and held her up. She was, of course, too traumatized to return to that job (I'd say "thank God!" but she didn't see it exactly like that, being broke and all). So, that gave me a slightly different perspective... most of them are very young and tender and who knows what sort of scripts the hobs give them-- obviously they are just cannon fodder. I must say that way I firmly but politely say, "No thank you, I'm not interested" I don't usually get the kind of pushy response that I used to get when I was too fearful of offending (or what??). Anyhow, your blog is great... I just stumbled across it and will be back.

Heidi said...

Good for you for asking!

Jod{i} said...

Is this the same Bob and Tom? I love them, I had heard this before...gives me a chuckle!

Hey I done tagged you...

Loz said...

It's a difficult job and I reckon must be horrible for the self esteem of some people.

Glad everyone has liked the Bob and Tom link.

Thankyou for the tag Jodi :)

Sueblimely said...

I had a telemarketer hang up on me a couple of weeks ago. I am on the no-call register but the guy insisted he was not selling anything (ha). He was offering free investment consultations - at which they would be selling things!

When I pointed this out to him he got rather narky and when I then said I was not interested his response was "Will you please let me finish - we do have the freedom of free speech in this country you know. I responded "You do not have a right to invade the privacy of my home. Which company are you representing?"

With that he hung up.

Do you believe the cheek of the guy?

Cheesey said...

Hi. I did some telemarketing before and it does suck. I'm laughing because of how pissed people get when you hang up on them, even when they are not interested. I think it's a dominance thing. You were in control of the conversation and then, it was taken from you.
I admit I find it fascinating psychologically, here it is the respondent doesn't want the call, but if you hang up on them, they are pissed. It has to be a control issue.