Telemarketer Tells All

telemarketerI used to hate my job. Not just a normal "I don't wanna go to work" kind of dislike, but a deep-seated, scathing, fire-of-a-thousand-suns type of hate. I worked in a cramped cubicle calling people all day. I dealt with supervisors who had more children than IQ points. I was the guy that calls during dinner, offers you a service you don't want or need, and won't stop talking long enough for you to tell him off. I was a telemarketer -- and these are my confessions.

See average salaries for telemarketers.

I started telemarketing my first year of college. These places have a very high turnover rate, so I scored a job relatively quickly, along with my best friend, "Jacob." At first it wasn't so bad; but as your enthusiasm wears thin your sales go down -- along with your commission. Bad management compounds the problem; and before you know it, you're out of that "go get 'em" attitude instilled during training.

Hare are a few pieces of advice if you are dealing with a telemarketer:

  1. Be polite. If you are rude, there is a small button we can press that will schedule a callback in three days, or two days, or five minutes. If you're really rude there is an option to call you back in Spanish, depending on the area you live in.
  2. Don't tell the telemarketer to "take you off of their calling list." They'll say they will, but they don't have to and will probably schedule you for a callback in five minutes in Spanish. Instead, ask them to "Put me on your DO NOT CALL list." Telemarketing is usually done out of the phone book, so there isn't a calling list to remove your name from.
  3. Make sure you give them enough time to tell you who they're calling for. I once had a gentleman stop me as soon as I said hello, requesting to be put on our "do not call list." Since he had no idea whose services he was refusing, it was against protocol for me to place him on this list. When he asked for our company name I replied that he seemed rather busy and we would call him back another time. I listened to him scream obscenities at me for a few minutes and scheduled a callback in three days. In Spanish.

After we tired of pretending to do our jobs, we started recording prank calls to customers with the small tape recorder meant to tape sales. The quality-control department left two hours before us, so we were left to our own devices during this time. I would routinely call people and tell them I was Jerry Garcia and hang up. We did this for months, taking the tapes home to listen to when drunk.

When these antics wore thin, we would bring in a tape of nasty, angry, tooth-gnashing metal and rewire the tape recorders to play this music to the client. Nothing is quite as hilarious as listening to someone who thinks they are on hold waiting to talk to a customer-service representative with Slayer playing. Sometimes we would record drunk conversations between each other and play those. Sometimes it was polka. Sometimes it was an infomercial we had taped. It was always hilarious.

At the end of our run, Jacob and I simply stopped working. We would clock in, walk out, and come back eight hours later to clock out. Eventually we decided to get other jobs, but it still took them two months to figure out that we hadn't been in and to fire us. In spite of how much I hated the job, it does make for a good story every once in awhile. Especially when I'm listening to recordings of irate customers and knocking back a few cold ones.

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