Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feeling lonely?

Feeling lonely? Don't talk to enough people during the day? Wish more people called you?

Start a business.

We get 5-7 telemarketing calls a day. All of them ask/whine/beg/demand to talk to the owner. At first I (innocently) took most of them (we are a small company, no "screening" here!).

They almost always want to sell us something we don't need - a satellite dish for TV (we are a business?), credit card processing (it took too much time getting our current one to work) or Miami Heat tickets (if cold calling a tiny Internet company 90 miles from Miami is your best sales lead, I wish I could short the Heat...).

Once a month a collector calls, looking for Mrs X - apparently someone had this number and several companies would really like to speak with her. They never believe that this is a business phone now, apparently pretending that the number changed is a common scam (really? amazing!).

My current favorite call comes from AT&T. The caller ID always says "Provo UT - (801) 221-2893" or similar (I am from the rural south and sound like it, so I can never speak ill about someones accent, but it seems safe to say the callers don't sound like they are calling from Utah, a state I have spent much time in). When you answer, there is always a telltale pause, as some gremlin / outbound dialing machine connects your live voice to someone in a huge telemarketing center... "My I speak to the owner? this is X from AT&T." He tries to sell us some modification to our phone service, which we don't need and don't want. I always ask him to take me off of the calling list, at which point he/she hangs up on me. The number is always disconnected if you try a call back. This is annoying.

Is it really AT&T? Who knows? They clearly say they are. Perhaps is is some rogue vendor. If it is AT&T, the people charged with monitoring their outbound sales efforts suck at their jobs.

We are going to stop answering these calls.

If you are selling a product via the phone, I would be looking (hard) for a new delivery mechanism. You may have the greatest product in the world, but you can't sell it if people don't answer. I believe that day is coming... The bad guys are winning.

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