Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Telesales - what to make of it?

I am writing this out of sheer frustation at being at the receiving end of an unfair accusation from a telesales executive (lets call him X) of a communications company(lets call this company Co.).

Around a week back...
It was slightly after six in the evening. Mihir had just finished his bath and was all ready to go to bed - we were just winding down, have a quiet chat and walk around the house. I still had to cook dinner. My only aim was to get Mihir to bed, have a cup of tea and then start cooking dinner. The phone rang.
X: Can i speak to Mr Raddi?
He was still at work and i mentioned so, and asked who was calling and if there was any message that i could take for him.
At this juncture,
X: Am i speaking to Mrs Raddi?
To which i answered yes After which, X asked me a couple of questions regarding how much i spend on making phone calls - to what countries, internet connectivity details and expenditure -, etc, etc - in short a quick picture of my communications setup at home and average expenditure on the same. By this time Mihir had given up on his sleep, had jumped out my arms to crawl out and explore the bookshelf. So I tried to answer as honestly as i could - knowing that we do spend a substantial amount every month. And i wanted to know about the product on offer.
X talked about his product and its cost - i had a couple of questions, which he answered. I mentioned that i would definitely consider this and if he could send across any documentation either by email or mail or if there was a website that i could check out. Because having seen enough of similar products, i know there is small print - like costs go up after the initial trial offer, or sometimes a phone number change is required, you know how it is - the works. And by this time, Mihir had decided he had had enough of the book shelf and my tugging on my jeans.
X, there was no stopping him - he had to make that sale right away. I was interested in what he had to say - but i had to attend to my baby. So i mentioned about the baby, hoping that he would get the hint and i could politely get off the phone.
X - oblivious to the sound of the crying baby in the background - still expounding upon the million ways in which i will save money, and how superior the product is - urging me to take on a free trial. At this point, i mentioned, that i need to speak to my husband about the offer, do the sums and consider if the free trial/product-service offer made sense to me. I explained this but he still talked about the free offer. At this time, I explained that i had a baby and generally a free trial means, you need to return the piece of equipment if it doesn't meet your expectations - and that trip to the post office is always a pain for me. I didn't want to take on the trouble and hence wanted to carefully examine the offer beforehand.
X: i do understand that you need to speak to your husband and discuss it with him. What time will he come home? I will call in two hours. Can you discuss it with him by then?
By this time, Mihir was positively howling and i just said yes, taking the immediately available opportunity to get off the phone. However before i could hang up, X warned me that the offer was a special one and only available for that day.

Later in the day...
At around 8.30 or so - my husband is just back from a long day atwork - mihir is still battling sleep - but i have managed to put together dinner somehow, and we are famished. As we sit down to dinner and just as we are about to start, the shrill ring of the phone. Who could it be - mostly its someone from the States (accounting for time-zone differences) - and the phone is promptly answered. He spent half an hour explaining the offer all over again to my husband - who clearly had an expression on his face saying "who is this guy and when can i have some dinner" - although he managed to glean the fact that X was calling from a call centre in Bangalore. At that time of the night, my hubby hung up saying he needed to revisit the information before making any decision and that X should atleast give us a week to do so and that if the offer was not available to us then - well we had missed out and it was our misfortune.

A week later in the evening...around 6 PM or so.
I dont know how but X managed to call exactly at the time when Mihir was extremely sleepy and just about to drift off - only to be woken up by the telephone ring. X asked if my husband was around. Dear hubby was out of London and going to return later that evening. I explained to X, very patiently too, i must say and X agreed to call later.

The next day... this time in the afternoon just after Mihir's lunch...
Again impeccable timing, this time he managed to wake Mihir up just after he had drifted off - i picked Mihir up and answered the phone. It was X. I had dropped my voice to a whisper and explained that i couldnt take the call at the moment as the baby was just drifting off. X, as we have established by now, was not ready to just hang up and persisted on.
X: Mrs Raddi, the offer will not be available later. What time can i call you?
Me: later, please - not now.
X: tell me a time.
I, once again, requested to get off the phone then. Mihir is up and wants to grab hold of the phone. I was exasperated, irritated and really angry.
Me: I am not interested in your offer. If i lose the fantastic offer, its all my fault.
X: in an angry tone - Mrs Raddi, i knew the first time i had talked to you that you would not go for the product.
Me: then why did you bother to call me? i was just looking at the phone in disbelief.
X: Thank you.
Hangs the phone up.
Baby bawling in the background.

That was the first time, a salesman hung up on me. Not only that he managed to really insult me by implying that i was just getting him to call because i had nothing better to do - and really spoiled the rest of my day.

I have been a salesperson myself and i know how difficult it is to secure a sale. But i have also been a generous buyer of products and services - and i have responded to all forms of promotion activities - telesales offers, catalogues, internet offers. And in this particular situation, X almost had a sale. If he has just understood my predicament with the baby, understood the fact that in order for me to consider his offer properly, if he had just emailed the details to me - it would be easier for me to consider the salient points of his offer. I couldn't possibly remember the zillion things he was offering. Or better still, he should have just secured an appointment to call. I was interested in the product. I was fully aware that i might lose out on the offer and mentioned so.
I think the worst blunder was to imply that i wouldn't have bought in the first place - what kind of accusation is that?

In either case, thats how it happened. I would be very interested to know what X could have done to secure the sale and what i could have done to have had a better experience.


Amolsledge said...

HI Sonia,
I was not surprised by the reply & behavior from this telesales person. I had a similar experience a few months back.
This girl calls from India telling me about this phone card which is cheap etc.. and tells me the charges are 11Cents per minute to which I replied saying there are phone cards available for better rates here for calling India.
To my surprise she shamelessly asks me what is the rate I get & which is this card I use. I told her to check it herself and not ask me about it.. and just hung up.
I think one cannot be polite for a behaviour such as this. I am sure you will think twice before taking another such call.
I guess, the reason for all of this is immature telesales consultants & comapnies try to make a quick buck in process losing hell lot of business.

Neelum said...

I suggest you write to the company who the idiot was representing. We as educated consumers should give a feedback to service providers, they will appreciate it and at the end we as consumers willget better service!!