Can telemarketing survive the abuse?
By Peter Mayne, Key Account Director, The Trading Floor.
8 Aug 2011: The days when telemarketers would simply reach for the nearest telephone directory and start randomly calling numbers should be long gone but it seems some organisations are still living in the dark ages and these lazy operators are now one of the biggest threats to the future of the industry.
In the past if companies were wasting their time and money by taking the ‘needle in a haystack’ approach to telemarketing it didn’t really matter to anyone else. In some cases it could even have a positive impact on those of us that are able to supply high quality and up to date transactional data by showing the rest of the world how not to run a telemarketing campaign.
However, today data is more accurate than ever before so we should know exactly who needs what products and when they need them. There really is no excuse for such practices and those that persist in doing so are merely providing a disservice to the entire industry.
Despite this there are still lots of unscrupulous operators out there. Just recently I answered the phone to someone offering to pursue any Payment Protection Insurance (that I may have been mis-sold). When I questioned where they had got my details from the caller didn’t know and neither did their supervisor. I explained that by law they are required to provide this information within 28 days but I never heard from them again.
This is a typical snapshot of life in telemarketing for many organisations. To put it bluntly too many companies couldn’t care less and are happy to do as they please. This is annoying for consumers and it’s also infuriating for those of us working in the data industry. It’s also this type of behaviour that results in consumers registering to remove themselves from lists.
In contrast we often find that consumers respond positively when they are targeted by marketing campaigns that are relevant to them so telemarketing is still a fantastic tool when it’s used properly. However if it is to maintain its foothold in the marketing strategy mix, the industry must come together and tidy up its act.
Everyone has a role to play in this and harsher punishments must be introduced for those who flout the laws. Whilst there’s already a bereavement pool which is crucial in preventing unwanted distress, the industry could also benefit from a real-time central pool or temporary suppression pool which would help with the vetting of data and also increase the chances of a positive response.
Telephone data is already becoming scarce as the number of landlines in the UK continue to decrease and rogue practices are encouraging people to opt out of sharing their details at an alarming rate which means the clock is already ticking.
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