After a few discussions about the topic of telemarketing, I thought back to my days as a marketer and decided to write out some of the more frustrating facts or pet peeves that anyone on this end of the line might feel as a result of what the other person does. I will use consumer and customer interchangeably to describe the person on the receiving end of a call, and marketer as the person initiating the call.
1. Hang ups
Often time the dialing system works in such a way that when a customer picks up the phone there is a few seconds delay. This is because although the system has already dialed a house and the person picked up, the marketer is still being connected so that after the third "hello" the marketer is connected to the person. If a person hangs up, it is reasonable to understand that the person didn't have the patience to wait the extra second (especially with a delicious meal waiting on the table, already getting cold).
The issue comes when, after the connection has been made, an appropriate introduction by the marketer has been made and the customer
2. Not Identifying Yourself
Depending on your client, there can be scenarios in which sensitive and private information known. In order to prevent volunteering information to unknown parties, it's important that a marketer identifies the right person as soon as possible. This is usually accomplished in the introduction after, "Can I speak with Mr/Mrs So-and-So?" A peeve is when their response is a series of filtering questions: "Who are you?" followed by "What do you want?" and ending with "Why?" This leaves the marketer vulnerable to divulging personal information to someone who may not be the right person.
This also sets a bad tone for the rest of the call. When a consumer responds to the introduction with a positive expression, the marketer is more comfortable in the conversation and then more likely to even offer a better product or service. But, if a customer is rude right away then a marketer's defenses go up and all pleasantries go out the window at that point as a more primal instinct takes over.
3. "My [spouse] Makes the Decisions"
I understand if a consumer would like to talk it over and discuss an offer with their partner; it should even be encouraged by the marketer that they do this. Depending on what the offer is it could be something that benefits the both of them or burdens one of them, both of which needs to be considered rationally.
The issue comes when the spouse has to ask the spouse for permission instead of information. This is a spouse who makes all of the financial decisions on behalf of the other, when the other wouldn't know how to make the decision for themselves. I've seen this played out when my first calls were to widows who would be on the edge of tears because their husbands looked after a particular service and they did not know what to do. With respect to the widows and widowers, informational incompetence could have been avoided if their partner filled them in with the little day-to-day things.
The professional marketer understands the importance of emotional management; not bringing in any bad feelings from a previous conversation into a new one. The flip side is not so evident, as anger that a customer feels is often expressed towards the marketer. Simple etiquette and courtesy can go a long way for the customer to ensure that future calls are eliminated (requesting to be put on their Do Not Call list after a rapport has been built by the marketer can easily ensure this welcomed transition).
A marketer is not calling for any personal vendetta against a consumer. If consumers thought the way a marketer did, treat each new call as a new conversation, there will be a reduction in strong emotions. Often times the customer who is polite, listens, and explains (elaborates on the ever-popular "not interested" response) will most always be removed from further call backs.
I'm sure there are more pet peeves. I'll add them as they come to mind. Until then, I will also think how to mend the negative experiences by both customer and marketer.
5. "If I'm Interested, I'll Call You"
How do you know you're interested if you haven't heard what I have to say? Better yet, you wouldn't even know about this particular service if it wasn't for this phone call.
6. Fake-out Answering Machines
You have already started a courteous introduction, about to highlight the benefits of a product/service, when you discover that the person on the other end is merely a voice recording. You feel like a fool and, if you're caught on their answering machine, sound a like fool too.
7. Children on Answering Machines
Sure it's cute, at first, but after a while it's not. Maybe it's just because it's not something I would do with my own children
One way to mend negative experiences is to practice grace. A marketer should never bring strong emotions to another call, and likewise a customer should not bring all of their anger onto a marketer who calls halfway through supper.