Thursday, 26 August 2010

Cold Calling Leaves British Customers Cold

When you get a Cold Call in the evening and it's obvious the cold caller is using a cold calling script doesn't it just drive you mad? Cold calling scripts are invariably stilted and its often impossible to get the caller away from the set line of conversation. Ceri Stanaway of consumer magazine Which is right when she says that cold calling is "At best a nuisance and at worst an intimidating intrusion into our lives.” The self -referencing rhetoric of direct mail and selling organisations is that its all about providing service, and making people aware of choice. The dirty little secret of course is that it's a high pressure sales led activity that knows it can use the gullibility of customers who feel under pressure to win a few extra dollars of turnover. According to the BBC they report that a significant majority of Britons believe Cold Calling Should Be Banned

The question is very simple. Why do organisations conduct cold calling campaigns? Is it driven by an altruistic concern that we aren't aware of the best deals that just might transform our lives? Are these organisations being philanthropic choosing to call us in the early evening to save us the hassle trudging around stores and surfing the web to ensure we know just what's on offer? You're having a laugh aren't you? No profit driven organisation does anything unless there is something in it for them and that something is 'incremental sales'.

People who wish to exploit the gullibility of others are masters of 'the situation'. Control the situation and you control the person. So, 'get them when they are off guard in their own homes, get them at meal times when they are likely to agree to anything to get you off the line'. Cold calling is an aggressive activity that exploits the vulnerability of people. Worst of all are the cold calling pariahs who call elderly people. I have personal experience of this with my father. Cold called by a utilities company they tried to 'aggregate' his policies into one 'easy to pay plan'. Sounds great until you do the arithmetic and  his payments would have trebled!

The people who design cold calling campaigns sit in their office planning how to exploit people. They now that the majority of people are not skilled in rebutting their selling techniques, they know that people often struggle to say 'no', they know most people have never heard of 'bait and switch', 'low balling' and the host of other manipulative techniques they deploy to get a 'Yes'

I recommend the Telephone Preference Service to get these leeches off your case. The real issue for customer choice is the right to choose when to speak to an organisation, when to ask for information and when to spend their money, and how to spend their money. It is not the right of a business to decide when a customer does these things. So stop there, don't tell me these businesses never do these things, don't give me the shallow nonsense about 'providing a service'. Cold calling is the professional equivalent of aggressive begging and the perpetrators should be named and shamed. In the meantime it would pay to learn about their dirty tricks. Customers are not gullible.

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