I used to be a telemarketer.
I know, I know, not the most honorable of professions. But it had flexible hours, decent pay, and I could do my homework while the computer dialed numbers. It was the perfect job for a busy student.
Telemarketers can be irritating, no doubt about it. The repeated ringing of your phone at inopportune times can really get under your skin. So if you’re looking to keep your blood pressure down and your phone relatively silent, here are some suggestions for freeing your phone from those pesky – but hardworking – telemarketers.
Don’t let it ring
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. While I can’t speak for all call centers, I’ll give you a brief idea of how our system worked. Any phone calls that weren’t answered were redialed about an hour later. The repeated calls would continue for several days until the phone number was taken out of the queue and filed away for later. The point here is that letting it ring will eventually get them to stop calling you, but only for a few days. You’ll still have to endure several days of repeated calls, and once those stop, it’ll probably happen all over again.
Don’t hang up
Picking up and hanging up has the same effect as letting it ring: we’ll just call you back later. And silently hanging up after initiating a conversation is just as bad. This is extremely irritating, and the system will force me to call you back until you let me know whether or not you’re interested. After all, if you didn’t say goodbye, how could I know if we got disconnected or if you were genuinely not interested?
Don’t pretend to be interested
As a telemarketer, I worked on a commission. Getting someone to answer the phone was the hardest part; when someone did actually pick up, I tried desperately to make a sale. Many people would answer the phone, and to be polite, listen to me for 30 seconds or so. Then they would hang up without saying anything. If you know you’re not interested from the outset, tell me. It’ll save both of us time, and it won’t hurt my feelings.
Don’t be rude
Let me just start by saying that telemarketers are people too. This means two things:
- They’re not evil.
- They can get frustrated, like anybody else.
When you’re working in an industry where you’re constantly being yelled at, hung up on, and treated poorly, it’s easy to have a bad attitude. While a telemarketer will never, ever be explicitly rude, some telemarketers can become downright vindictive after a hard day. I had co-workers who’d call rude people back just to be irritating. Was it wrong? Yes. Did it still happen? Absolutely. Be nice to your telemarketer, and they’ll be nice to you.
Give your telemarketer a little credit: They know when you’re lying. People often try to shake telemarketers by telling them that the person they’re trying to reach is out of town. If you tell me that the homeowner is out of town for two weeks, I’ll call you back in two weeks, simple as that. I’ve heard every excuse in the book: vacations, broken toes, gunshot wounds, jail time, and one woman even told me she couldn’t talk because her stairway had collapsed. People are creative. While their extravagant lies sometimes gave me a good chuckle, they wasted everyone’s time. Lying to your telemarketer is usually a lose-lose situation.
Use five simple words
The best technique for curing your phone line of unwanted calls? Answer the phone and say “take me off your list.” If you’re one of those well-intentioned folks who say that you’re “not interested,” we’ll probably call you back in a few days. Why? Purchasing phone numbers can be expensive, so companies will call you as many times as they legally can just to try to make a sale. If you’re truly “not interested,” you can avoid the calls by telling them explicitly to put you on their do not call list. By law, your phone number will be permanently taken out of the queue, and you won’t receive calls from that company again.
Get on the National Do Not Call Registry
Since February of 2008 it’s prevented most telemarketers from doling out unsolicited calls to annoyed consumers. It’s really easy to register. Just head over to their website, and enter the phone number(s) you wish to add, as well as your email address. You should stop receiving calls within 31 days.
Be aware that placing your number on this registry won’t stop all calls
If it did, I wouldn’t be writing this article. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calls from, or on behalf of, political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors are still permitted, as are calls from companies who you have an existing business relationship with, or companies to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. To break it down for you, certain groups can call you, and so can anyone to whom you’ve given written permission. Which leads to my next point…
Don’t give out your phone number unless you really know where it’s going
People always demanded to know how I got their number. The truth is, I didn’t know. They could have called our hotline for information, requested information from our website, or more likely, provided their phone number to a third-party website who sold us their information. If you enter your phone number online, read the fine print to make sure they won’t be selling it.
My experience as a telemarketer gave me a lot of insight into the best ways to deal with telemarketing calls. While some of these techniques may not work for all telemarketing calls, many of them will. Just try your hardest to remember that telemarketers are hardworking individuals, just like you. By being polite, answering the phone, and requesting to be placed on their do not call list, you can stop the phone calls, and give the telemarketer more time to call customers who may actually be interested.