Monday, September 18, 2006

And are you just waving or drowning? It's so hard to tell when you're so far away

When I pick up the home phone, and after my greeting there is a small delay, I always hang up. There was one Wednesday when a computer phoned my house about every two hours. I stopped picking up the phone at all, and unfortunately this meant that I ignored calls from a friend and my sister. But they have my mobile number.

Last Wednesday I messed up. I hit the button to cut the call as I heard the delay and realised it was a telemarketer, but I obviously didn't hold the button down long enough, so the call wasn't cancelled. I ended up talking to an AAPT representative. Once I had ascertained what it was about, having been asked who my home phone provider is, I said "Sorry I am not interested in comparing plans or making a change". I think this clearly indicates that I'm not going to consider the offer and I don't want to listen to the spiel. I'm not accusing the INDIVIDUAL of anything, I'm simply indicating that I do not want to continue the call. Some of my friends say that after they say no thanks, they also hang up straight away. I don't think that should be necessary.

There is a new breed of telemarketers who are very defensive. I suspect that they are not located in Australia. Usually, if I said what I said to an Australian caller, they might reveal a bit of annoyance but they would still at least give lip service to politeness. I expect them to end the call quickly after I indicate that I'm not going to take an interest. They might offer to call at a different time or give me a number to call if I change my mind later. Sometimes I ask if I can check out their offer on a website instead - I hate trying to take in that sort of information aurally.

But these telemarketers are rude and pushy. I've had repeated run-ins with a very rude, bossy and openly irritated Optus lady, and today's AAPT man was just the same. His opening had been to ask me who my current phone provider is. His response to my statement that I was not interesting in comparing plans was a very defensive, almost hectoring "Ma'am, there is no obligation, will you please tell me who your current phone account is with so I can make a comparison." His tone was as if I had been very rude and offensive and he was just trying to do his job. He repeated this, talking over me as I reiterated that I did not want to consider any offers and please DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER AGAIN (yeah I might have sounded slightly miffed by this point).

The frustration and barely concealed anger both of these individuals showed would be more expected if, say, I had called them for some kind of assistance, and then I had been uncooperative. But they are calling me, unsolicited! If they can't even be vaguely polite in their interactions, who is going to be willing to sit through the spiel?

The first few times this happened I was just amazed at the rudeness and continued the interaction much longer than I really needed to, just because I was so amazed that my message was so rudely ignored! Now I've wised up. It still surprises me though. Either they have very little training and quality control, or they are under pressure to make quotas, perhaps to even just keep people on the phone for a certain amount of time. Or both.


bertie said...

I think you're already being too polite by answering :)

zjcroft said...

oh I agree its just awful, but they have left us no choice but to be rude!. I generally just say, I'm not interested, thanks anyway and hang up. Recently I haven't even been able to understand what they are saying (and this is with the volume turned up to maximum due to deaf grandmother) and with these calls I don't even bother saying anything, I just hang up!.
Al I can suggest is to get an answering machine to screen calls..

Olivia said...

I could get an answering machine (ours broke ages ago and we haven't bothered) but really although I was certainly having a whinge, I'm more interested in the actual crazy rudeness in the conversation itself... it's kind of fascinating - I just wonder how it can work for them at all?