Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I just read a very well written blog by The Fan about the lack of respect for others feelings in this world. It's a wonderful piece, and it caused me to say this: Telemarketers are people too. I know, I know they call at inconvenient times and don't take no for an answer right away. However, does that give people the right to verbally abuse them?

For full disclosure, I do work in IT for a call center, so I may be a bit biased, but it also means that I see what happens on the other side of the phone. Those inconveniently timed phone calls are not there fault, there is a piece of equipment called a "dialer" that automatically dials numbers all day long and the next available agent gets the call. The not taking no for an answer the first time? They have too, it is part of their job requirement. If they didn't do it, they might get in trouble.

These are real people, trying to make a living in these hard economic times. In the area where I live, jobs are scarce, yet this center employs over 200 people, and pays at least $2 more an hour than minimum wage. A lot of our employees are mothers trying to get off assistance, college kids working there way through, high schoolers having their first job to earn some money for college and to put gas in their car or money for their first date with their first crush. In other words, real people with real feelings.

With all that said, why are people so keen and eager to be rude to this particular industry? I know there are rude telemarketers out there, but should the harmful few tarnish a whole group? I have seen people reduced to tears because of the abuse they take from someone they were unfortunate to get. One that sticks in my mind was this little sixteen-year old girl who got a job because she was trying to get enough money to go on a trip overseas for school because her parents couldn't afford it. She was a really sweet, and nice young lady who was always polite. Then one particular person she got on the phone decided they would act big and call her every name in the book, tell her she didn't have a real job, and that she would never amount to anything. Just what a young girl needs to hear. She just broke down crying right on the phone, and the person just started laughing! The awesome part was how those people working around her calmed her down, got her to forget about it, and she still works there.

Look, I'm not saying you have to listen to their whole spiel, or buy whatever they are selling. But can't we just be polite about it? If you really don't want to talk at all, just politely ask to be put on their "Do Not Call" list, they will then have to read you a short DNC notice, and that's that.

Just remember the next time you want to take your frustration out on a telemarketer, that sixteen year old girl I mentioned could have been your child, or sister. Would you want them verbally abused by a stranger?