Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Telemarketing: a sure way to annoy consumers

In a day and age where there are almost as many methods of advertising as there are people on the planet (advertising on eggs—yep, eggs—has recently been added to the list), how on earth is it that many marketers resort to bugging you at home?

If you’d like to tell me about your product or service, you have ample opportunities for doing so: run an ad in the paper, plaster your product or service on billboards, or you can even tell me about all about your product during a private moment in a public washroom. But, please, for the love of Buddha, don’t call me at home, interrupt me mid-mac-and-cheese and think I’m going to be pleased—or even neutral—about this annoyance.

What irks me the most is not the bogus, “You’ve won a free cruise!” recorded announcements, but rather the calls from legitimate businesses, especially those of whom I’m currently a customer. There have been points in my life when I have been stalked by the Royal Bank, Telus—or both. The calls, of course, aren’t to sell you anything. No, they’re simply courteous check-ins from service-oriented businesses. “This is just a friendly customer service call to make sure you’re happy with your VISA/bank account/phone plan” they assure you. Followed almost immediately by a casual, “I’m just looking over your VISA/bank account/phone plan and I notice you don’t have insurance/a platinum card/the bigger, better bundle, etc.” It’s often the same, and it’s always annoying.

The very purpose of marketing is to popularize your product or service to consumers. People need to like your organization in order to support it. While telemarketing is more sales than marketing, it is still a consumer touch point and can undo positive results from other marketing efforts. Obviously, it must have some success in terms of financial gain, but I doubt the dollars are worth it. I have been with RBC my entire life, but have considered switching banks (a MAJOR hassle) as the number of calls I have received amounts to nothing short of harassment. I don’t feel the need to take any action, however; I find comfort in the fact businesses that resort to this pathetic "marketing" tactic are likely harming themselves. Hmph!