The Absolute Truth About Marketing
Monday, June 05, 2006
  Farting in a lift. IS that you, Sanjay?
" WHAT DO YOU CALL SOMEONE WHO CALLS YOU AT HOME AT DINNER TIME?" A. A PAIN IN THE ARSE? B. SANJAY? C. A TELEMARKETER? The answer: "All of the above". Some telemarketers would defend their right to fart in a lift..........

I have just put the phone down for what seems like the umpteenth time, the calls from companies that I don't know wanting to get me to buy something from them. Most of them have foreign accents and sound like they are calling from a distant, exotic land. It brought to mind a recent incident. I serve on the board of the association that represents, among other marketers, those annoying people who call you at home during dinner. I used to own a call centre and, as a matter of policy, we didn't call anyone who didn't know us and welcome the call. It's not hard to structure your marketing to avoid pissing people off. Some cheaspskates don't want to do it. [I just took another call.]
I am also the chair of the branch committee that organised an entertainment event to coincide with our national conference recently. The event was a quiz show and I helped write some of the lines on the invitation. Little lift up flaps revealed the answers to questions posed on the cover of the invitation. The question I wrote was:" WHAT DO YOU CALL SOMEONE WHO CALLS YOU AT HOME AT DINNER TIME?" A. A PAIN IN THE ARSE? B. SANJAY? C. A TELEMARKETER? The answer was "All of the above". Pretty funny, I thought. But a fellow board member wrote to complain to the executive director in the following terms: (Note, the reference to 'customers' means companies that hire them to call you. There is no reference to consumers.):
"I received a mail piece yesterday promoting the , specifically the event on at Darling Harbour. is an Outsource Contact Centre that provides Inbound and Outbound Contact Centre services, including Telemarketing for a number of well known blue-chip Australian brands. We provide those services in Australia to Australians. We are (Association) members, and have been since we started our company some three and half years ago.From very small beginnings we now have over 200 operational contact centre seats, with 120 of these involved in Outbound Telemarketing across a number of industry groups, products and brands. We, and our customers, see our involvement as being an integral part of the whole Marketing and Direct Marketing mix. We are professional in all that we do, and work with professional organizations that understand marketing, direct marketing and telemarketing. Put simply, we’re not a back-yard, off-shore bunch of fools working with dodgy companies on dodgy deals. And, within the industry, there are many who are like us.
"Consequently, I take a significant amount of offence at the question and answers that are on the bottom left of the mail piece for this event. I figure, that if I was to show this piece to the 150 telemarketing staff that I have that they too would take a significant amount of personal offence to it, as I’m sure many else within the industry would.
"Simply, the inference that any telemarketer that calls you during dinner is a “Pain in the arse” and “Sanjay” is not funny – it’s just plain offensive. We have 150 people that, due to the wider marketing and direct marketing initiatives of the companies that outsource their work to us (and we do a damn good job of it) that are not a “Pain in the arse” or named “Sanjay”. God only knows what those who are actually named Sanjay and work for us or similar organizations in Australia would think!"
SO he admits to calling people at home during dinner and employing someone called Sanjay who is a telemarketer. But he's not farting in the lift. [I just took another call.]
My dissenting position: Unsolicited telephone calls are offensive to the vast majority of those people whose opinions are sought. It damages brands and it is damaging our industry's image. Ban them!
 
Comments:
I agree telemarketing is offensive. I just hang up on them immediately.
 
There's usually a few people that really make a group look bad. It just seems like some of off-shore call centres are making outbound call centre companies in general look really bad.

Their annoying calls extends to businesses.

We pick up at least one telemarketing call everyday from some off-shore call centre. You can tell because there's a slight delay when they respond and the quality is bad.

Not only are they selling us things we don't need, they are also really demanding of our contant details. They ask for our phone number or fax number and they're very rude about it. I was very amazed.

My friend also receives a lot of telemarketing calls at his business. What the centre would do is call more than one phone number and see who's the first to pick up. They would engage in their "sales pitch" with the first person who picks up the phone and hang up on all the other numbers that were not as fast in picking up their phones. That's guaranteed to piss of anyone.

What's being done about these telemarketing companies?
 
I would like to show my support for Michael's comment that unsolicited phone calls are damaging both to the telemarketing industry and the brand being represented. I question the effectiveness of unsolicited phone calls versus solicited calls. Any contact that is warranted and relevant will always out perform unsolicited contact. So when will these clowns wise up and realise that "yes" its more difficult and there's more work involved, but at the end of the day they will achieve a far better reponse to number of calls ratio. Amateurs!
 
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