Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mangled Musings Of A Reluctant Telemarketer

Just for the record, I’ve been on both ends of the line and no-one truly enjoys being on either end of such “conversations.” Furthermore, most telemarketers I’ve met are one paycheck from living on the street. Desperation is the key to getting people to work jobs they really don’t want to do. That being said, a person has to look for a little humor in a job where you mostly rob the poor and give to the rich, or you’d burn out a whole lot sooner. (Every telemarketer burns out eventually.)

I remember a few years ago when I was doing telemarketing for another company that we came across a troubling computer glitch. It seems that a company in the Midwest had bought out a bunch of independent plumbers, but then kept those plumbers on as employees or franchise owners. The company had the customers call a centralized number, at which time they dispatched whichever plumber was closest to the customer. The problem was that a computer glitch caused all of our calls to by-pass the main number and go to the office of only ONE of the former independents.

Suddenly, the guy’s phone was ringing off the wall with telemarketers asking for the owner or manager. Whether the fault lay in my employer’s dialing computer or that of the plumbing company I never heard. However, the guy did NOT handle the situation well and soon started cursing and saying lewd, rude and crude things to male and female callers alike. It was about the third time that I got him that I asked the usual phrase before I knew who I was dealing with. His reply was that the boss was in the back room “f_ing his sister. Having a sudden spark of inspiration awoken by disgust, I told the man that I didn’t hear him and asked if he could repeat his reply. Sure enough, he had no hesitation in saying the foul phrase another time. I told him that shouldn’t take long and that I’d call back in five minutes. Then, I quickly (and very politely) wished him a good day and said good-bye. As I hung up, I actually heard the guy CHUCKLE and say, “Well, I guess you’ve got THAT right.” I fully expected my job to be on the line after that remark, but I learned later that even though the call had been played numerous times in the boss’s office, for numerous managers, none of them felt like giving me a hard time over it. I recalled that incident the other day when I encountered a raging “customer” on the line.

There’s an old saying that much of the miscommunication in the world is caused by people listening not to understand, but to respond. I’ve learned that to be true. As an example, when someone asks (or demands) to be put on the do-not-call list, we’re required by law to play a little blurb telling them that “I will be happy to honor your request” and telling them that it could take up to 72 hours to fully take effect. Often, when the person hears a voice on our end start up again, they assume that the pitch is starting over. So, while we’re telling them exactly what they SHOULD want to hear, they’re busy trying to scream their “directions” louder that the voice on our end, often making threats to call the law in the process. The other day, a fellow went into a blind rage and I shut the tape down, as is normal, until he seemed to have said his piece. However, as the blurb began to play, he told me (actually the guy who made the tape, I guess) to “go f_ yourself.” Had he not kept up his tirade, he would have heard the reply of “I will be happy to honor your request…” I got to see the humor in the foul situation, obviously, his insane temper and loud mouth didn’t allow him the same opportunity.

There’s more I could tell you, but this post is long enough already—maybe another day. © 2014


JaneofVirginia said...


You have inspired me to be a bit more polite to those who have the misfortune to sequentially call my landline !

Sunnybrook Farm said...

The telemarketers that used to call here would not take no for an answer and really deserved what I gave them. I pay for my phone service and they are using it free to harass me into buying something. That gets no respect.

Gorges Smythe said...

I'm glad to know that, Jane.

Actually, they aren't ALLOWED to take no for an answer, SF. The industry has what is called "the three turn-down rule," if a caller neglects it, he soon loses his job.

Mamahen said...

As i've said before if you've never walked a mile in shoes of a have no idea the preasure they are under.... Bless you! Praying you won't have to deal with it long!

Gorges Smythe said...

You are SO right, Mh! Thanks for the prayers.

deborah harvey said...

sometimes the temper comes out when your dinner has been interrupted 3 or 4 times in a row.
and we are on the do not call list.
also we seem to have gotten the number of people who were behind on their bills. we occasionally receive calls yet about their bills in spite of saying those people no longer have this number. we've had it 7 years already. really irritating.
i know when the downturn [read 'depression'] got worse there were more telemarketers and i was polite because i knew they were desperate for a job-- any job.
i asked Jesus to give you the new job. then some desperate person may be able to get the one you have now.
the infocision people have a large presence here due to industries shutting down but they have a huge turnover rate.
i can see why.
God bless you.
deb h.

Chickenmom said...

Had a job once where I had to call companies and try to convince them to change their accountant. Worst job I ever had. You certainly are a very special person, Gorges!

Bob Mc said...

I can easily why some people use a cell phone as their only phone these days. It's like having an unlisted number. No telemarketers, no political polls, no one looking for donations. I have little patience with any of them. I seldom get a real live person on the phone anymore. They only make that mistake once!

Gorges Smythe said...

Remember, Bob, most of the people calling you would much rather have a more respectable and better-paying job. It's the big wigs that benefit from it all.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

LOL, I'm still chuckling the last caller! I do understand the anger but not the vulgar language. I am very firm if I get a call on my cell, which is my only phone. I am on the Do Not Call list and I don't want them using my minutes. I don't have a smart phone, data plan, unlimited anything. My phone just makes and receives calls, I don't even text so the only time it gets used is for the few calls I make or if I have to work from home and use it since I'm not in the office.

Gorges Smythe said...

Some folks are just trash, Kathy. I can't blame you about saving your minutes.