Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ah, those buggers - Telemarketers - डोक्यात जातात रे हे लोक

It’s about 3ish on a Friday arvo and I think of getting a Latte, as work’s busy like anything since morning and I need a break…. Just as I was about to CTRL+ALT+DEL and make a quick dash to the coffee machine, my mobile starts playing Eye of the Tiger – Survior song (That’s my ring tone). It’s an unknown number… I was expecting a call from my friend, so thinking that it was him, I answer the call with a very excited ‘Hello!’. My excitement turns to utter disgust when the voice at the end says “Good Afternoon Sir, We have a new special Credit Card for you”. Without letting her completing her sentence, I say politely, “M’am, I do not need any new special, ordinary or extraordinary card. Thanks”. I also remember telling her to take me off their list for the 101th time. They (X bank) had called me about 100 times before and I had told them to take me off my list. But nothing’s happened for the last 100 attempts. So I had given up…. Anyways, I get back to my workstation with a Latte. The phone rings again. This time there is no one talking. I hear unintelligible noises in the background. Then a lady says, “ Sorry for the wait, Sir, Actually we have a very special Credit Card scheme from X Bank”. Furious at the second call in just 5 mins, I cut her midway before she starts throwing crap and this time, I decide to be a little rude. I go “What the hell is going on? This is the second call in 5 mins…Call your manager”. The lady says ‘Sorry’ and hangs up. My colleague, Rahul, gives me a bemused look and asks, “ What’s wrong?”. When I tell him about these bugging calls from a call center.…he gives me a big smile. He knows that everyone working in our software company have been a victim of such calls.

I recall a funny incident a long time back when I had just joined the company. We were in some meeting room in Viman nagar Office. My Project manager and my TL along with my team are discussing the weekly updates and the meeting room phone rings. No guesses here. It’s the same bloody old call center calling again to sell some Credit Cards! My Project Manager calmly responds back saying that we are in a meeting. There’s a smirk on his face and we all are smiling. The call relieved the heavy duty project related atmosphere in the room. But that was then when it was the first call I had experienced. Now, it’s quite different. These days, I get a little more than irritated when I get the calls. Can’t help it….There has to be some law to be able to stop these bloody call centers calling again and again offering the same old foolish stuff on phones-Credit Cards and Personal Loans…

I am also impressed with the new innovative ways (Pure lies) of selling employed by some call centers….Thursday morning, I get a call from a liar…err a telemarketer…She goes ‘ Good Morning Sir, Thank you for applying for a Y Bank’s Credit Card”! I was stunned….I mean, I can’t remember to the faintest of my memory if I had ever called Y Bank or visited their website, leave alone applying for a credit card. I go, “ I never applied for a Credit Card!” and she replies plainly “ Sorry Sir” and hangs up!!….A preposterous reply, which makes it very clear that she lied ...

I never used to hate telemarketers/cold callers so much as I have started hating them off late. In fact I worked for a call center in the spring of 2003 in Melbourne, Australia and let me be honest here; I had my worst stint there selling phone cards. I was there for a brief period of 2 weeks. From day one, I realized, that’s selling’s not my cuppa tea . I am cognizant about the fact telemarketing isn’t easy at all. Harsh targets and the flak that these guys get from the customers make telemarketing and cold calling a mentally stressful job. But that doesn't mean using‘lies’ to get your way. I never lied when I was making calls for those two weeks. Neither did any of me mates. Anyways, I am not going into the ethics of telemarketing.

…But it’s about time I come up with some brilliant ways of tackling these pesky callers.

Maybe I should try that Jerry Seinfeld line next time I get a telemarketing call

I can't talk now, but why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you tonight". When the telemarketer hesitates, he continues "Oh, do you not like getting calls at your home from strangers? Well now you know how I feel" before hanging up. "

I guess, humor should work!

No comments: