Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Telemarketing 101

I received a call tonight from someone selling something. I felt inspired to lay a little marketing knowledge on you, in the event that any of you are in the field.

One of the first rules of advertising is it has to be memorable. The fact that I don't remember what this jackhole was peddling isn't a good sign. My friend Sushi Sue hates the Head-On advertisements, but at least they stick with you, even if it's for the wrong reasons.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. He called and asked if Benjamin was home, putting on his best "this is a long, lost buddy of his" voice. I confirmed he'd reached me, but the use of my full name was an instant tip off. I knew where this conversation was headed, which, in the world of telemarketing, is a no-no. You always want to lead your mark...err...customer.

Once he knew he was talking to the person he wanted to talk to, he opened with a joke. Something about talking to all the grouches on earth until now, and it was good to hear a friendly voice. I think he intended this to serve two purposes:

1) Break the ice, disarm me, and open my mind to speaking with him more.
2) "Please, buddy, even if you hate me, don't abuse me. I hate this too."

It sorta made me want to sodomize him with my phone, so the latter was unsuccessful.

Over the next 10 sentences, he mentioned my name (Benjamin) 7 times. This was a poor attempt at strengthening the connection he hoped he established, but didn't. People like to talk about themselves, and they like to hear their name mentioned. It's psychological fact. It feeds our super egos. That said, not only was 7 times overkill, but the fact that it was Benjamin (which is a mouthful) and not Ben (which is more familiar and comfortable to me), it also had an opposite effect. Hearing two extra syllables seven times mostly made me tune him out and hate him.

The one thing he did right is kept talking. It's hard to hang up on someone if they never shut up. Unfortunately, I think it's a bogus tactic. He rambled on for two minutes, and I wasn't even listening. I was waiting for a pause to tell him to take a hike, or continue at his own peril in the form of a verbal lashing so brutal, he'd likely quit his job and leave his wife. It also didn't help that he called 15 minutes after my son went to bed.

To the guy's credit, I did feel a little guilty when I told him to shove it and hung up.

When I still lived in good ol' Pennsyltucky, there was a website called "" that you could sign up for, and once you were on, they took you off of all telemarketing lists. Telemarketers who called anyway were subject to a $10,000 fine, and could be sued for additional harassment fees. Finally, something besides music that I miss about Pennsylvania.

Massachusetts has a list too, but it doesn't become effective until next month. I forgot what it was like to get these calls every night.

1 comment:

MJS-SWD said...

Not for nothing but I am on 24 hr emergency call, also a Do not call reg. A number came up 415 562-3260 "J. Walker". I answer Hey Jack, thinking it was the person calling me. It was 9:02pm est. (A she answered) and said no,,??... I am doing a research call on music? cutting it short she tells me they are using a number generating to make phone calls?! Ok, that is it, I push further.
I asked them for the supervisor number which she gave me 888-225-9898 I called it and a Dustin or Justin answer the phone after asking for a supervisor at that number. I ask him do you understand that I am on a do not call registry! He replied in a real smart a-- comment, "Excuse me, but You have to understand, please tell me where it says research call are applied to the do not call registry?"
Now I am all ready mad enough and said but NOT after 9 at night. So then he got real smart a-- and said, "there is nothing in the do not call registry that says we can not call you for research after 9 at night!"
He went on about how well known they are as a company and BIG companies pay them to make research calls, So I ask him what big companies, like BMG..., he is quick to change his tone of voice and he tells me its all on his website. "American Customer Satisfaction Group" or "ACSG"
So I said I already looked at that site and so tell me who pays you to call. He then says I cant tell you that look it up online!
So I said well take it Like I am calling you to do some research and would like you to answer my survey. Then he says but isn't it against the law to call after 9pm. I said well you told me it not, so please answer my research survey, then he did the old smart a-- comment good bye, & hung up on me.
I reported both numbers and a comment to the FTC about this company and this Justin or Dustin's comment about being above the Government law.
Also any big company purchasing this companies services, just think after the public call and people get a bad taste in their mouth with said such bad telemarketers, breaking the law.

I just thought the public should know that this company believes they have every right to call you way after 8 or 9 at night and border line of laughing in you face because you are mad.