Fishing would be better than having to deal with countless call centres making obscure calls to both my landline and my mobile, and no I am not Dean Merchant !!
The first time I saw the words ‘Bishop’s Stortford’ appear on my mobile screen along with a mobile number I thought, I wonder who this is. ‘Hi, can I speak to Dean Merchant please?’ …………
‘No 0ne here by that name’
‘Oh so who am I speaking to then?’
‘Mind your own bloody business’ ….. they then go on to ask me if I would be interested in taking out a Golden Charter funeral plan policy. I hang up, then 30 minutes later the phone goes again, ‘Hi, can I speak to Dean Merchant please?’………..
‘No you bloody well can’t and no I am not interested in paying for my funeral and please remove my number from your call centre records’
The next day it starts again and when I see the number I answer ‘If you are looking for Dean Merchant, join the club, I don’t know him, I have never heard of him and I am definitely not him, now please will you delete my number from your database’ This has been going on for around three months now and I am getting truly pissed off with it to be honest. I searched Facebook for Dean Merchant as I wanted to give him a piece of my mind, unfortunately there are hundreds of Dean Merchants so my chance of giving him a ticking off for using my number were nil !!
The next day when my phone rang it was from Bishop Aukland, again with a mobile number so I answered and this time they were not looking for Dean Merchant they simply went straight for the kill ‘Hi, I’m calling about your recent car accident and the fact that you haven’t yet made a claim’
‘Wow, that’s amazing’ I responded ‘I have been confined to my house for the past five months, recovering from a broken femur, I haven’t so much as looked at my car in that time, how did you work out that I have had an accident, or is there something that I don’t know yet?’ the caller hung up, I probably went off the scales of the tick box sheet she was working from.
Add to this all the automated landline calls where I am constantly bombarded with the usual ‘Hello, your bank has put aside thousands of pounds for your PPI claim’ and it becomes a communication nightmare. The companies using these call centres for awful intrusions are doing themselves no favours in terms of marketing, they are simply making a nuisance of themselves.
I am sure that if one of these organisations had the common sense to tailor their calls and use the human touch they would be so much more successful in the marketing of their products. If someone called and said ‘Hi, I wanted to talk to you about funeral insurance, is now a good time to speak or could I call you back at a more convenient time?’ they might actually get the consumer to respond positively and to think about the offer in a more constructive way. Indeed, I do actually have a Golden Charter policy, I bought it around 20 years ago and believe it or not from a sales call on the telephone so if handled correctly and if it is appropriate then I, like many, will buy into the offer. The problem is that when we answer our phones we are already on the defensive if we don’t immediately recognise the caller, these bland scatter gun approaches have actually helped to destroy what was once a lucrative marketing/sales strategy.
Now of course we have data companies refining data, pre questioning consumers and gearing them up for an offer, then selling these data subjects to end users as live lead generated potentials for huge sums of money. It’s big business but if it is handled well it certainly works. I still believe in the power of all direct marketing but only if designed responsibly and respectfully.
It is why I still prefer direct mail as an initial form of direct contact over direct dialled calls it works for me and for many others. If I keep getting calls for Dean Merchant I am definitely taking my rod and going fishing and will be leaving the mobile at home.