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