Thursday, March 06, 2008

Answer at your own risk

"Congratulations! You've just won a trip to Jamica!"

"Good day, I am calling from CitiOne. We are offering an introductory rate of 9.9% on credit transfers ... (a rapid rant of yadda, yadda, yadda ...) You can take advantage of this fantastic opportunity for the first month without charge, cancel anytime up to 30 days ... (another continuous litany of blah, blah, blah ...) Can I confirm your mailing address to send you the sign up form?"

Unless you've been phone-less you will appreciate the call from credit card solicitors. It's not intended to be a conversation, but it is a non-interrupted spiel about some new offer from a credit agency. The caller usually speaks without a pause, which makes the listener feel somewhat hesitant to interrupt, and irritated. For experienced answerers of such calls , there are different ways to cut it short. You could immediately hang up, interrupt assertively to convey your disinterest, or you could be more colorful with your words.

Many people have caller display which gives them a choice when they identify that strange number calling. They can avoid the whole waste of time, if not the sound of the phone ringing. For many others who do not have call display, the ringing phone is often not answered at all because they try to avoid an annoying call. Before the industry of mass telephone solicitation exploded people did not have to worry about paying for an extra phone service like caller display. For those on low or fixed incomes, it's an expense that was unnecessary in past years. Maybe you've had the experience of calling people, and did not get an answer, but yet they are home. It's too bad in our high tech modern world that people have to worry about dealing with unwanted calls day after day throughout each year.

On the other end though, let's not forget the often dismissed poor caller who has to be patient, in knowing that the spiel they have been directed to deliver, might irritate the solicitee. It's safe to think that they are not sitting there thinking, "even if I can't get the caller to sign up with us, at least I've ticked off another person." After all, they are doing their jobs. Too bad that the way in which these companies work is to verbally impose upon the listener a non-stop string of sales talk which makes people dreading to answer the phone. Some volunteer agencies have people who call and are not so pushy, where it is not so uncomfortable to interrupt. A lesson could be learned from that style.

In the meantime, the credit card callers won't be surprised if you cut the "conversation" short. After all, you're just doing your job too.

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