Telemarketers Are People Too: Things You May Not Know About The Business And The People We All Love To Hate
Someone Who's Been There.
As a former telemarketer and telemarketing trainer, I would like to clear up a few misunderstandings about the business and the people. First off there is something we all forget when we pick up the phone and yell obscenities, humiliate and degrade the caller.....They are people too just trying to do a job the best they can.
One of the first things I stressed when I trained new hires was, You WILL get yelled at and you WILL be called names or worse. Please understand this is a very stressful job because the people called don’t know how it really works. You are just a voice to them. Don’t take it personally. But it’s hard. There were many days I myself sat and made calls with tears running down my face. No one likes to be bothered with those calls. Telemarketing is not a perfect system by any means but it does provide an income for many people, many very nice people.
With that said let’s get started.....
Who Are Telemarketers?
Most telemarketers fall into three main categories, ELDERLY, because they need the money and are too old to be hired anywhere else, DISABLED, also because of job limitations, and SINGLE/DIVORCED/WIDOWED MOTHERS, who are just trying to raise and provide for their kids. This may be the only job available for them and it is a real job.
What is Telemarketing?
Telemarketing is a cost effective way for companies to promote products or services to individuals and businesses across the country. Companies such as banks, credit card companies, unions etc., hire call centers to market their service or product to current customers or cardholders across the United States. The call centers are provided with a call list, (which is not perfectly updated for it is nearly impossible to do that), then it's fed into a huge computer called a dialer. It distributes the calls to the terminals where someone is sitting ready to receive your hello as your name pops up on their screen.
The telemarketers are in a large room filled with computer terminals that receive the calls. There may be at least 200 people separated into groups called teams. Each team has been trained to a specific program or product that was brought in by a client . They are all talking at once to different people about different products/services so that is why you hear all the back ground noise. Some people get spooked when hearing other voices thinking they are being called by scammer but never fear it is a legitimate call. It's just the way the business is set up.
The call center employees ARE taught the laws that govern telemarketing, everything involved in presenting the product/service professionally, how to be courteous, and extensive selling techniques. Then there comes the product knowledge training that includes all the information that a “client” has provided about their perspective product/service. The training can be very in depth and detailed. Clients want the telemarketers to KNOW what they are talking about when they talk to you. After all, the telemarkerter, though not an employee of the actual client, DO REPRESENT them and their product/service. I can’t stress this enough. A lot of people have the mind that the telemarketers are actually calling from their local bank etc and even threatened to change banks because of the calls . Please don’t do that. I’ll explain why below.
The most frequent questions and complaints telemarketers deal with:
My Bank etc. Said They Didn’t Call Or Don't Have A New Credit Card Promotion.
That’s right , your local union or bank more than likely didn’t. For example: If you are a member of a union, and their national office has decided to promote a new card, that offer will extend to all members of that union nationwide. Same with a bank. A list of nationwide card holders will be compiled and provided to A Call Center.
If You’re Calling About My Union Credit Card or Calling About My Bank Card You Should Already Have My Information.
I heard this over and over. Most of the people I talked to had the impression I was an employee of the bank etc. As I mentioned telemarketers do not work for the client, per say and they know nothing about the people on the list. They don’t know your work schedule, if you are retired, no longer using that bank, got a raw deal from the company before, are laid off, sleeping or eating etc. The ONLY thing telemarketers have access to is the name and address that pops up on the screen so they know who to ask for.
Why Do You Call Me Every Day At The Same Time?
You have to realize the telemarketer has no control over who gets called or when unless the the consumer asked to be called back and then a “call back” can be set at the telemarketers terminal, but even then it’s not a perfect system. You will never speak to the same person twice. The call lists are fed into the dialer, sorted by timezone and then sent down the wires to any and all open terminals. Each list is set on a timer and coded so that particular call list will be repeated the next day at the same time.
How Do I know If You Are Really Who You Say You Are?
Good question and a smart one in this day and age. By Law EVERY telemarketer has to identify themselves immediately using their REAL name. If you have doubts there is a number for the call center and a toll free number for the actual client you can ask for. If any telemarketer leads you to believe they are employees of the bank etc., they do so illegally. The best advice I can give you if you are truly unsure is ask questions. A legitimate call center employee will gladly answer your questions honestly and explain who they are and even offer you the numbers to verify. Telemarketers are also assigned a TSR# , (Telemarleting Service Representative), when hired. It identifies them so they can get paid, shows what terminal they are at etc. When you ask for a number to call they are required to also give you their TSR# number. If they refuse, either it's a bogus call or they are just being difficult. Which ever that case may be hang up. In a situation like that it's better to be safe than sorry.
Why Do I have To Give You My Social Security Number?
First off if a telemarketer asks for your whole social, hang up immediately. The only time you would EVER be asked to provide your SS# would be if you are doing a credit card application over the phone and then only the last 4 digits are required. Since the terrorist attacks, it is now mandatory to provide the last four digits so the bank can verify your identity, You certainly wouldn't want anybody else to be getting a card in your name. There is no need to be alarmed about this. Nobody can do anything with those four numbers alone. But you have my name, you say...
Doesn’t matter, there is still nothing a telemarketer can do with that information, besides, we are never allowed to have pens, pencils or anything of that nature at our terminal. That is watched closely by supervisors walking back and forth. Each “team” has a supervisor and of course the floor manager is watching everything that goes on along with the cameras.
Besides who is going to remember a number and a name after taking upwards of 3oo calls a day each and the calls are never local or most of the time not even in the same state as the telemarketer.
What Happens To My Information Once I Give It to You?
If you are filling out an application for a credit card and have verified that you agree to the terms and conditions that were read to you then the telemarketer punches a submit button and it immediately goes to the bank for approval.
It will never be seen again by any telemarketers eyes. The computers are programed and coded for each client so if you are receiving a call about a new credit card from the national bank or union you are affiliated with, that bank or union ONLY has access to your information. It's information on file which you provided at the time of becoming a customer. It will go immediately into their computer system, for verification. You will then get a letter stating the details of the transaction, whether it was approved or declined. Actually giving the last 4 digits over the phone is much safer than applying through an application in the mail. They require the whole number and there is no guarantee how many people will see it.
Why Can’t You Tell Me If I’m Approved for the Credit Card?
Again, telemarketers have no access to your personal or financial information. Their job is only to tell you about the offer, verify your name address and last four digits of your social. With that done, it is submitted to the bank, their access to you is broken and another call pops up. It is for your safety that telemarketers are limited in that sort of knowledge.
Boy was I ever yelled at over this one and every time I had to just shake my head. Please tell me how a telemarketer could possibly know the number showing up on their screen is wrong. Or anybody for that matter. Please politely say it’s a wrong number so the telemarketer can dispo that as a"wrong number", so it can be properly removed from that particular CALL CENTERS list. It may take a day or two for that process to complete so be patient. It’s a nuisance for sure so just politely say wrong number each time and it will gradually lessen the calls. If you just hang up the call goes back into the loop to be repeated thus adding to your stress.
Why Do I keep Getting Calls From The Same Company After I Was Put On Their Do Not Call List ? Unfortunately this is unavoidable. And not the telemarketers or call centers fault. Sometimes a company may have several promotions going at the same time. If this is the case, the same calling list may be provided to the call center for each promotion.
Why Do You Keep Talking After I’ve said NO?
Simple answer...Because they will get fired if they don’t and they NEED the job. It's part of the selling. It's the thinking of the client that the consumer may not have understood all the benefits of the procduct/service so the telemarketer is required to give you more information.
With the conclusion of this...
I’m not saying all telemarketers are wonderful. Some can be nasty and most get fired for it. That was a huge no no in the call center I worked for. There were to be no hang ups on the consumer, if they were screaming at you, you waited till they were calmed down enough to politely say goodbye. No laughing at them if they went off in a fit, no snide remarks or anything. If you were caught, you were out the door then and there. And in the same sense I'm not saying all the consumers we called were bad either. There were days I enjoyed some of the funniest and most pleasant conversations I've ever had as a telemarketer. Let me tell you, that makes the day. I’ve been flirted with and even got a few marriage proposals right along with the death threats and name calling. Sometimes you get a hold of someone who just wanted to talk to someone because they are lonely, so you chat a bit. Those calls nearly broke my heart.
I realize there are lots of things you may still have questions about so feel free to send me a comment. I just hope that this shed a little light on a business that few people understand and most all hate. I in no way meant to point a finger, to make anybody look bad. My intention here is to cover as much as I can in basic terms to make it easier for both parties when dealing with future calls.
I hope this helped in some way and I Thank You for visiting .
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