Tuesday, 18 August 2009

You do your job, I'll do mine

Telesales people, sitting in huge offices with a headset, script and sparse details on a screen, think PAs and receptionists are power mad. They're big fish in small ponds, jobsworths, exerting what little hold they have over those unfortunate enough to call their offices. PAs, on the other hand, think telesalesmen are irritating time wasters, trying to wangle their way into the earpiece of a nameless manager or director for half an hour of pointless sales pitching. I am under instructions not to let their call through. They are under instructions to get through at any cost. The difference is that while they probably hate talking to me, as I make their job harder...I actually quite enjoy getting a call from them. I'm not power mad, you see. Just bored.
One called this morning, asking for my boss by name. Now, I'm no business consultant, but I reckon if telesales representatives didn't sit in a massive room with other telesales representatives, they'd have better luck. See, this bloke gets plus points for the contact name, but deductions for: the pause before the call connected, the constant buzz of other salesmen yapping the background, and the Unknown Number that came up on my phone. Oh, and the way his American accent was transmitted to London seemingly via the North Pole, through a piece of string and a paper cup.
As it happens, my boss wasn't around, so I asked what he was calling about and whether I could take a message. I knew the answer already. "It's a business call." Well ok! And so commenced a game I like to call Telesales Guess Who?
I started digging. If this is a sales or marketing call, I said, I'd really rather you didn't call back, as we can't put you through. "It's not a sales call." Ok, well marketing call then. "It's not a marketing call". Of course. Ok, well what's the nature of your business? "It's confidential" he replied. Ahhh! That old chestnut. So confidential that you're sitting in a noisy room full of other people making the call. I see. Well if it's confidential, it's probably important...so he'd better call you back! Strange, your number's coming up as 'Unknown'. What's your number? "It's ok, I'll call back". I wouldn't. "Sorry?" I wouldn't call back. It's just his phone is diverted to me all the time, so I'll recognise your voice. Better get someone else in your office to call back then I won't know it's you. "Oh, err...Thank you, Goodbye."
I could have gone on, but I know someone else had a run in with him last week. He loves this game as much as I do. He'll be back.


The Unbearable Banishment said...

True story: I use to cold-call and interview people for a market research firm. Political opinions. Consumer surveys. Etc. One evening I was interviewing a woman in the farm belt about what pests her husband treats his crops for (Aphids? Thrips?) and in the middle of the interview she decided to masturbate over the phone. I couldn’t believe my good luck! And I was being paid!

Blue soup said...

I used to work for the Office of National Statistics (yeah, wish you were me much??) and I had to call people up for the government's household survey (apparently respondents are required by law or something to take part).

It was just a job to try and get me through university. There were some really horrible people at the end of the line sometimes, but most of the time tehy were just like you and me, and if you were lucky, you got someone with a good sense of humour and it could be quite enjoyable! In the loosest sense of the word.

Chapati said...

Don't you love the new type of sales calls, which are literally pre-recorded messages. I wonder how many people actually listen to them!

Robbie said...

I once received a phone call offering me cheaper and better telephone costs......while working at BT.
Sometimes they just don't check where they phone.

arbyn said...


Please let us know when he calls back and all about your conversation.

One time I had a call from a telemarketer who didn't block her number--we had a weird conversation where I think she signed my boss up for something and then hung up on me so I called her back.

And wouldn't you know it, she answered. I suspect it was her home number.

Anonymous said...

A telemarketing company used to hire a lot of teenagers in my area, including my sister and a few friends. So whenever someone calls asking if I'll do a survey I always want to say yes, because I know how much of a depressing job it is!
The one time I did say yes, the next question was "Are you over 25?" my negative answer meant I couldn't take part anyway. Dang. I tried.

It seems everyone has a telemarketing story...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Unbearable - Hahahaha, actually brilliant. I'm not sure what the proper response is to that: but I feel congratulations are in order. What a feat! :D

Blue - I used to work in telemarketing too. My colleagues who worked overtime hours on Sat & Sunday got the brunt of the arsehole calls. People hated being rung at the weekend more than anything.

Chapati - Thats the thing though, someone has to fall for those things, or they wouldn't bother doing them. Nuts.

Robbie - What dumbos. Thats like the company that called me saying I was due an upgrade. How do you know. You're not Tmobile. Scammers.

Arbyn - Schoolboy error! Usually even when they do give a number they don't allow incoming calls on it. Hope you gave her hell.

Roseski - Yeah it's a pretty soul destroying job. Luckily when I did it the office was just full of people my age all mucking about. It was actually quite fun at that age. DOn't know how people do it full time as an adult though.

nuttycow said...

I used to work in recruitment and it's exactly the same thing when you're trying to head hunt. Guessing names, making up stories.

By the end of my time there I knew all the receptionists at "The Big 3" by name!

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

I could also be sympathetic to cold calling sales people - but I cant. I've been at the receiving end of too many of these bods with issues that stem from being in a really crap job.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Nutty - I'd love to pick your brain about the recruitment game. It intrigues me having been on the receiving end of their funny ways for years on end.

MOT - Oh god, sod sympathising with the bastards. Let's lynch 'em instead. And where's your bloody blog gone?


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