Rant #1: Phone Etiquette.
For those of you who don't know, I have a part-time job in the evenings working at a theatre. My job is to call up past subscribers and theatre-goers and offer them a chance to subscribe for the upcoming season. Yes, it's pretty much telemarketing, but NO, it's not cold-calling. These are people who actually go to the theatre and like it, so it's not as hard of a sell as one would expect. Plus, I have a sexy voice. Which helps.
But yeah, it's telemarketing. And there's a mostly-deserved stigma about it. Don't worry, I'm not that guy. I don't harrass, and when you tell me you're not interested, I pretty much take it without a fight (unlike some callers).
People are defensive, when it comes to phone sales. I totally understand. But this doesn't mean that the rules of politeness are suspended when it comes to telemarketers.
I've gotten flat-out hung-up-on, yelled at, cut off, put on hold indefinitely. But that's not even the worst.
You know what really gets me? The people who say, "Well, it's not a good time, call me back on Thursday," and then avoid me like the plague. I call back, because I honestly think you may be interested, and you don't pick up for a few days. Then finally, you pick up the phone just to hang it up immediately. OR you pick it up just to say, "Stop calling me!"
You friggin' told me to, JACK.
So here's the deal, consumers of America--if a person calls you up trying to sell you something (whether it's something you'd want, or not), I'd like you to remember a few key points:
- The person on the phone is a real person. They should be treated like a real person--not spoken down to or verbally abused. Of course, if you do that to telemarketers, you probably do that to restaurant waitstaff, which makes you a grade-A jerk.
- If you don't want what they're selling, DO NOT tell them you'll a) think about it; b) talk to your sig. other, or c) call them back at the number they offer. Instilling false hope of a sale=not cool. Especially for those of us who work on partial or full comission. Time wasted with you is missed opportunity to get rent money, capice?
- And never EVER tell someone to call you back, if you don't want them to call you back. Not interested? Grow some stones and say, "no, thank you." Don't jerk around some person on the phone just because you're too cowardly to say "no." It won't hurt our feelings, and it probably won't make us homicidal. But you know what will? Stringing us along.
- At the end of the call, after you've made it clear that you are not interested, do not simply hang up. Just because no business is being transacted doesn't mean that the rules of common courtesy are suspended. Thank them, say goodbye, and then hang up. (Caveat: If they keep talking or won't take "no" for an answer, then thank them, say goodbye, and hang up, even if they're still talking. Courtesy works both ways.) But don't just say, "Not interested." *CLICK* Because that's just rude.
Look, if you don't like telemarketers, there are resources for that, like no-call lists and whatnot. But rudeness and jackassery are not the answer.
All we are saying, is give politeness a chance.
That's it. Rant #1 over.