One telephone company frequently calls our house to offer long distance service and mobile phones. It has become really irritating because its agents call us over and over, sometimes two days in a row or two times a week even after we have asked that our number be deleted from their call list. How annoying is that?
If the company offering the goods and services were in Canada, we could make a complaint to an appropriate agency and the company could be fined $100 if they called again, according to a friend of ours. I'm not sure about that.
But this telephone company I'm writing about is not Canada-based. Its agents call us from different parts of the US--at least that's what they say--and they are all Filipinos.
By now, I am already quite familiar with their oft repeated lines--
"Hello, is this Mrs. Blossoms?" an agent opens with a strange Americanized accent. That is the first giveaway. I respond with some hesitation.
"Are you Filipino, Ma'am?" he or she is sure to ask. The second giveaway. When I say yes, the person on the other line starts speaking in Tagalog and asking questions like where I came from in the Philippines, etc. etc.
If I'm not busy, I entertain the call and answer the questions as patiently as I can until I have the chance to decline the offer. Very often, the agent will keep on talking. Won't let me off that easily.
"Mom, why do you keep on talking?" my son asks. My sons have become exasperated by these calls and sometimes they get exasperated with me when I talk too long with telemarketers on the phone. I will just say no to their offers anyway.
"They are just doing their job," I respond. I don't blame them for trying to make some sales. I even feel sorry for them sometimes. Good luck na lang sa yo ha?
"You'll never know if you'll work in a call centre someday," I tell my children. What comes around goes around. Don't be rude. Who knows if you will be on the other end of the call?
One day I got a call from someone raising funds for some expensive equipment for our city hospital. At that time, Gino was working as a fundraiser at UBC and getting very little results. I decided to donate a small amount to the hospital as an investment for Gino. You know, the principle of sowing and reaping. I did not have much to donate, but I sowed that Gino might reap the result. I remember him coming home from work a few days later very happy about raising more than a hundred dollars, more than the little I invested. I can't say for sure that my gift had anything to do with it, but I'd like to believe so.
It's for this reason that I try to be nice to telemarketers. It's for my family or myself who might do this kind of job some day. Remember the Golden Rule?
It must be difficult to work at a call centre. I had same experience at work when we had a yearend call campaign. That stretched me even if we were not selling anything and those we were calling were already friends of our non-profit organization. How much harder it must be to make cold calls and sell goods and services!
"Sorry, I'm already satisfied with my long distance provider," I always tell agents of this telephone company I was referring to earlier. "Besides, we hardly make long distance calls to the Philppines."
I have been sucked by a phone sales agent into getting two cellphones that were about to be phased out. I have changed long distance providers a few times in this way too. I almost got a vacation offer to Cancun. But now I am very cautious and suspicious of anything offered by phone. I have pat answers to telemarketers and they always start with "Sorry..." If I don't give them any sales, at least I could give them some courtesy. Telemarketers are people too, not automated answering machines.