We All Hate Marketing Call Centres

Last night, BBC's Panorama was about an undercover investigation into marketing call centres. It was a fascinating insight into a business that is affecting most of our lives on a daily basis. We all hate to receive those calls from strangers that so bizarrely often start with "how are you today?".

Most of us hate to receive such telephone calls which are at best an irritation and at worst, an out and out confidence trick.

One school of thought could suggest that it is surprising that these call centres continue to thrive. If everybody hates them so much then how can they survive?

It all comes down to two factors, one of which is an aspect of human psychology that fascinates me.

They Wouldn't Do it if we Didn't Buy

One of the main reasons they continue to do it is that it works! For the vast majority of us, these calls are nuisance calls and there is not way we would ever respond positively to them. But there is a more vulnerable sector of society that can be drawn in by the well prepared scripts that these telemarketers read.

A lot if research goes into what is said and although it is like water off a duck's back to many of us, the language is compelling to others.

These people form the minority of course. So maybe an insurance call centre has to make 200 phone calls before they receive a positive response. However, the profit from that one positive response is more than enough to pay for the other 199 calls which only resulted in the phone being slammed down or out and out abuse.

It is the same reason that there is so much spam on the Internet. However, spam emails are much cheaper to send that telephone calls are to make. So there are companies who are happy with response rates of one in ten million! That is all they need to make a profit.

The end result is that a few sales are made at the expense of irritating many.

Businesses Need to Sell

When someone starts a new business, they need to sell their product or service and the business owner's thoughts immediately turn to marketing. A decent website is always a part of such a strategy. But they also know they need to shout from the rooftops to make sure enough people learn about their new business.

Advertising can be expensive and despite the big expense, is not always effective as it is a passive form of marketing. It comes as no surprise then that small business owners will often consider more aggressive forms of marketing.

Thoughts turn to junk mail, email marketing (or spam) and even the dreaded telemarketing. Even though the business owner may hate being the recipient of these forms of marketing they are often quite willing to impose such inconveniences on everyone else.

If these methods did not work they would not be used. But they often do work and that is why we must put up with these terrible annoyances. Whilst it may be inconvenient to be bombarded with such methods of marketing, we must accept that people who set up in business for themselves must find ways to attract new customers.

There are unscrupulous companies involved in these marketing methods that give every one else a bad name. But many are just honest business people genuinely trying to get their business off the ground.

So if someone calls me and clearly tell me who they are and honestly tell me what they are selling (local accountants do this from time to time) I try and remember that we all started a business once and we all tried methods that might be a potential nuisance.

Done in the right way, these methods of marketing can work if backed up by honesty and integrity.

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