Confessions of a Former Telemarketer

Yes, I was a telemarketer.  Ugh.  Before you get all ragey on me, let me tell you a few things you never knew about the job.

  • No one actually applies to be a telemarketer. – I responded to an ad for an inbound call center.  I got tricked.
  • Telemarketing firms lie to candidates in the interview. – I was told that it was inbound calls only.  I was also told that there was a little upselling, but it would be no big deal.  I was to be an order taker, not a salesperson.  Then, they said that due to low call volume, they would temporarily switch me to outbound for awhile.  Not so temporary.  Also, when I got through training they told me, “Upsell, upsell, upsell!  You’re not an order taker, you’re a salesperson!”.  Upselling was the biggest part of the job.
  • They artificially create the low call volume through overhiring. – This makes it easier for them to switch you to outbound.  You think, “Eh, it’s temporary.  It’s also better than not getting enough hours every week.”  Turned out, they’d used this trick for over 6 years.  Not so temporary.
  • You feel like crap at the end of the day. – Seriously, you don’t even feel like a human being when you’re done.
  • There is high turnover. – Nobody wants this job.
  • The call centers are actually in the US. – You’d be surprised how many people won’t believe it.
  • They lie some more. – You get two reviews.  One from your company, and one from the client.  They constantly drill into you the idea that the client grades more harshly.  Reality: the clients are really much more reasonable.
  • The managers hate their jobs. – One later job I got, my hiring manager who conducted my interview related strongly to me.  He had been a manager there and left for similar reasons.
  • The dress codes discriminate against men. – Men: Dress slacks, button up shirt w/collar, tie, dress shoes, black socks, clean shaven, no visible tattoos, short hair.  Women: wear whatever you want.  Tattoos, hair, jewlery, jeans, t-shirts, sandals, anything goes.
  • If we say there is something we can’t do, we mean it. – We are only given limited access to our system.  All we want to do is get out of the call and the fastest route is to make you happy.  We really wish we could do that.
  • We DO NOT have to take abuse. – At least not from the customer.  Even if you call us, you cuss us out, we hang up.  Period.
  • All calls ARE recorded. – You know that bit, “Call may be monitored for quality assurance/training purposes.” ?  Yeah, all calls are recorded for those reasons and more.  No exceptions.
  • We’re calling you with information YOU provided. – Yes, you unwittingly did.  Fill out something like a contest form?  Read the fine print.  If say, a cable company is running a table with info and a contest, that contest is to gather phone numbers and permission slips to call you.  You just didn’t bother to read it.  Fine print.
  • I am barely able to take a bathroom break. – We not only have to notify a supervisor when we leave our desk, we have to ask permission to use the bathroom.  Like a kindergartener.  And supervisors frequently say no.
  • We use the name of the client, not ours. – But you know our name.  Infocision Stadium?  Yeah, named for a big telemarketing firm.
  • They don’t call us telemarketers. – They prefer to call us “communicators” because “telemarketing has a negative connotation”.  No kidding.  Maybe there’s a reason for that!

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