By Josh Bashara
No one likes telemarketers. It’s just that simple. They always call you at the worst of times — during dinner, while your putting the kids to bed, and always when your walking out the door — to try and sell your crap you don’t want. They always sound like a moronic robot over the phone (that is if they even respond when you say “Hello”), mispronouncing your name in a way that only an imbecile would. You scream and shout at them, you tell them to leave you alone, but to no avail. The calls never stop. Some nights it gets to be too much; the only solution is to rip the phone cord out of the wall and enjoy a glorious ring-free night.
Well guess what, people? The time has come to set the record straight: We don’t really like you that much, either. Take it from someone who’s been in the telemarketing business for more than six years (I started when I was 16). I have worked for four telemarketing companies in that time, doing everything from training to supervising to just plain calling your ass during dinnertime. And contrary to popular belief, I don’t do this because I am the devil incarnate or because I am some sadistic madman. I do it because I get paid a lot of money to do it.
Telemarketing has been a booming business in Omaha since the ’80s. Not every city in the country has this many telemarketing companies, for those of you who might be wondering. Telemarketing has prospered in the Midwest due to its citizens’ lack of any regional accent. We are linguistically the cleanest in the nation. This is one of the reasons we have so many call centers here in town.
In a city where the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country, telemarketing accounts for a big part of that workforce. As said earlier, telemarketing on average is a very high-paying job. Most outbound telemarketers make between $6 and $16 dollars an hour, depending on their placement and skill level. Turnover is also very high because of the stress factor from you people telling us “NO!” every 90 seconds.
Let me try to explain a few things about telemarketing that you might not know. Everyone gets filled with this unwarranted rage when they have to pick up the phone and actually wait a second or two for the telemarketer to say hello. Well, this is because most telemarketing companies use a computerized dialing system, aptly named the dialer. (You people didn’t really think we sat there manually dialing your numbers all night long, did you?) The computer dials telephone numbers from lists, according to the program we are trying to sell. Most dialers call these numbers, wait for the other end to pick up, and then — depending on if an answering machine or a live person is on the other end — sends the open call to us. In theory, it is supposed to work out so that the call is sent to us right after you say hello, but sometimes there is a second or two of lag-time. See? It’s not our fault!
Everyone also gripes about the way we sound: Like a lifeless, droll robot. Well, yeah, a lot of the less skilled or newer telemarketers do. We have a script that we read from, depending on what we are trying to sell you. Most of the time, we try and pitch a number of different products in a single night. The less sales-oriented telemarketer needs this script to read from as a guideline. Only the old-school, more experienced reps have the know-how to adapt quickly and actually sound like they are having a conversation with the customer.
As for always mispronouncing your names? Well, like I stated earlier, the second a call pops up on our screen is the second that we are talking live with you. So once the call pops up, we have maybe half a second to look at your name and try to pronounce it. I’d like to see some of you people who whine and bitch about us butchering your name try and pronounce names like “McHoroerweski” within the first second of seeing it.
Sometimes it gets pretty damn mind-numbing and tiresome to call people for hours on end, especially when Mr. and Mrs. General Public are constantly shooting a barrage of no’s and profanity in your ear all night. It begins to take its toll, which is another reason we can sometimes come across a little lackluster.
It is very much in your interest to just politely say “no”, and thank the caller for their time. Most people wouldn’t believe some of the sales-floor antics I’ve witnessed over the years. Like I said earlier, we don’t really like you — the customer — very much, either. A lot of kids, when screamed at or verbally assaulted, will mark the customer down as a “call back” after they hang up. This means tomorrow night, guess what? Another call. If you hang up right after the caller introduces his or herself? Tomorrow night, another call …
Of course, this is not normal practice within the telemarketing industry, but you have to understand that a huge percentage of telemarketing reps are teenage to college-age kids. They go there to collect a paycheck. Their customer care stops when their opportunity to make money off you does. Add the age factor to the tediousness of the job and after a few hours, you have a sales floor full of kids bouncing off the walls goofing off and making fun of these moronic people we call. Sometimes — not often — but sometimes, we will even shift into a very patronizing tone with the customer, or even swear or shout back at them. Nothing gives you more insight into just how dimwitted the general public is than a telemarketing job.
The best thing you can do is to respectfully ask to be taken off the calling list. Ninety-nine of the time, they will do it. Remember next time, before you tell that telemarketer to shove his “great offer” back up his ass where it came from, he’s most likely looking at a screen displaying a bunch of your personal info. Is this really a guy you want to piss off? No, its not — unless you like getting obscene phone calls from a payphone at 2 a.m. every night for the next month.
I currently work for a very successful telemarketing company (which will remain nameless for fear of walking in tomorrow and having a pink slip waiting for me) that deals mainly in magazine subscriptions. The following list was compiled from feedback with a number of college-age co-workers of mine.
“It’s about time those f**ks learn a little of the shit we put up with every night,” said Mike Skinner, fellow UNO student.
So without further ado, I bring you the Top 10 Things Telemarketers Hate About You:
10) People who agree to a sale, and then for no reason at all hang up halfway through the confirmation.
9) When the customer is not available, the person who answered the phone asks, “Is there a message?” When we say “No message, thank you,” the person screams at you not to call back.
8) People who ramble on for 10 minutes about how many cows there are in Nebraska compared to people.
7) Men who hit on female reps.
6) Parents who get all bent out of shape when you ask for their child, even though it was them who put their kid’s name on the magazine label. We have no way of knowing that!
5) People over the age of 60 that just about have an embolism from the confusion that comes from trying to renew a magazine that they forgot they had.
4) People who rip you a new asshole for calling too late when it’s 7:15 p.m.
3) The “funny guys” who try to patronize us and ask us stupid questions about the product we are offering. Yeah, like we haven’t heard that twenty times already this month, sir.
2) General and pointless stupidity.
1) It’s not a dammed prescription! We’re not pharmacists, people! It’s a magazine subscription. Say it with me … SUBscription.