Monday, June 15, 2009

How To Hang Up On Telemarketers...Nicely

How many times have you been enjoying dinner, the phone rings and you answer..."Hello" but there's no answer? Again you say "hello" but still no answer. Just as you're getting ready to say hello for yet a third time in an exasperated voice, you hear a hum. The hum is the sound of about a hundred distant voices all chattering inaudibly.

You let out a sigh as a human voice finally comes on the line saying something like:

"Good evening, this is Mark calling from 'some company'. May I speak with Mr. or Ms. (insert your name horribly mispronounced)".

Why does it take them so long to respond after you say hello? Allow me to explain.

In a previous life I worked as a Project Manager for a large Toronto Call-Centre. Back in 1996 I was part of a team which opened up a brand new centre in North Bay Ontario. Stop booing people, I've been out of the industry for YEARS now...if you're gonna throw fruit, please make sure its mushy and not frozen, those tomatoes leave welts. Thank you.

Most telemarketers use technology called 'predictive dialers'. Rather than have employees dial their phones by hand they have software that does it for them. Instead of having telesales reps wasting valuable time listening to voice mail and 'the number you have dialed is no longer in service' the software screens them out. The employees sit idly at their desks, headset in place and fingers at the computer waiting to hear a beep in their ear.

The predictive dialer actually "thinks", it calculates how many numbers it must dial to get a live voice, and co-relates that to the number of reps on the phones. The reason for the delay, when we're sitting there saying "hello? Hello??? HELLO!!!", is because the dialer is looking for an available agent to send the call to. Once that person hears the beep in their ear, a screen with our name and account information appears on their computer. Rather than asking for the person they're calling right away, they introduce themselves first so they can locate the name and hopefully figure out how to pronounce it. do you hang up on these poor saps without hurting their feelings? Being an ever so polite Canadian, I don't like to be rude to the chained in rep on the other end of the line. I know what these sweat shops are like, where workers are wedged into cubicles so tiny they almost look like fattening pens for veal. I simply wait until they get out the first syllable or two in their spiel, and then I hang up. The operator chalks it up as a 'ghost call', in other words the person hung up before they had a chance to speak with them. The sales rep isn't crying to their supervisor about a rude caller and I get to enjoy my dinner, win win.

Hope you find the information of some use, I had to think of something else to blog on while we all sit back and wait for Iggy to grope around in his trousers, checking to see if he has the stones down there to take Harper's inept government out.

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