Tagging Telemarketers

The ‘Do not Disturb’ (DND) registry was the only refuge for people being solicited with offers for everything from home loans to credit cards to land investments. And even after registration, there were no guarantees that the calls would stop. Then, a stiff fine was proposed for violations. The newest solution looks promising – a landline number that tags telemarketers. – a 140 series number. Telemarketers won’t be happy with the screening once awareness of the number series spreads. But in the long run, it could turn out to be a blessing since the calls being answered have a better chance of conversion. And keeping with the trend of instant identification, porn sites will now have to carry a .xxx suffix rather than a .com, making them easier to filter. The people who pay for these sites will have quite some explaining to do when the credit card bills show up on their statements!

There are numerous ‘how-to’s’ on the net on dealing and dodging telemarketing calls. It is the subject of numerous forums and passionate discussions. And seeing how it gets under the skins of those affected, there are several strategies that have evolved to counter and thwart them. It’s a game of cat and mouse, much like the war between the hackers and the hacked. The pressure on those working at call centres only increases when they have to deliver results by intruding rather than persuading. And it just boils down to the verbal abuse they can tackle and stay calm. Self-esteem can be the first casualty. There is enough experience to show that cold calling is probably the worst sales strategy, but it continues to be used because it is cheap.

But telemarketers come across dumb customers as well and the results are delightful. Here’s a long conversation where a customer is made a free offer from SBI Cards and has genuinely no clue as to what it is about. He shows off his non-existent English-speaking skills in an effort to impress and by the end of the conversation, the girl making the call is frantic and doing all she can to prevent herself from bursting out with laughter. It couldn’t have been better scripted.