Our call is very important to us

A coworker got a phone call today, from something resembling a reverse answering machine. He answered the phone and got a recorded message apologizing that there aren’t enough agents available to speak with him, and please leave a name and number and the first available agent will call back.

We discussed the irony, and the evil, of such a thing. Then my coworker said something brilliant.

How much money does this company save by not having to employ an army of telemarketers who mostly listen to people on the other line saying no? Let a machine make the calls, then a small number of telemarketers can call just the people who leave a name and phone number.

Of course, maybe developments like this have something to do with why unemployment is around 9 percent.

3 thoughts on “Our call is very important to us

  • June 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm
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    I’d put money on predictive dialing. The outbound call centers figure out when an agent “should” be off the phone with someone else, and call out to your coworker. Maybe he answered quickly, maybe the prior caller didn’t release the agent quickly enough. Dumping your coworker to a default message is better (from the calling company’s perspective) than having nobody there to talk to. It’s still a byproduct of automation, but I don’t think it’s a full-scale campaign. A human caller can manipulate another human much better than a recording can. And that’s what cold calling is all about – turning a random person who answers the phone into a sale.

  • June 10, 2011 at 8:51 am
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    I may be wrong, but I thought calls like these were designed to get around certain anti telemarketing laws that have been passed. I do know that the ones that say, “Press 1 to hear an important message” are designed for that reason. In some areas it is against the law for telemarketers to call and leave you messages, but not illegal if they offer you the option of hearing it or not. I’m not sure what those laws are even supposed to be doing. The end result is the same — people are still calling me at home, unsolicited. I’m not sure how having to press 1 or not makes things any better.

    Our local school system has what they call a “Reverse 911” system, meaning that if you are in the same 911 calling area as them, they can send out broadcast messages to your phone. I don’t know who is in charge of deciding who gets to use this system, but I get a lot of phone calls unrelated to my kids — usually they are reminders of fund raisers, or to vote. Originally it was used to report school closings due to weather, but the calls are always an hour behind the local news reports.

    • June 10, 2011 at 9:38 pm
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      That’s possible, but since this happened at work, and I think both Missouri and Illinois exempted business numbers from their do-not-call laws, whoever this marketer was shouldn’t have to worry about that.

      Missouri has a very aggressive (and effective) do-not-call law. Politicians are exempted of course, but aside from political calls and calls from a couple of charities, I get no telemarketing calls. Missouri’s fines for repeat violators are steep enough that they’ve literally fined some offenders out of business. I know most states could use more revenue to help balance their budgets, and my first suggestion would be that they copy Missouri’s do-not-call law.

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