14 November 2012

Those Annoying Marketing Phone Calls

“Good morning!” I said one day into the handset of my landline after nearly stumbling on the way to where the telephone is located. “Good morning,” the even-toned voice at the other end said. “May I speak to Mr. Rex Raymond Torrecampo?”

“This is he,” I politely responded. Then, the farce began. “Good morning again, sir!” the voice at the other end continued, encouraged by my response. “I’m calling on behalf of XXXX (this would be the bank which issued my credit card) and may I interest you on an insurance package that the bank is offering?”

“I’m sorry,” I politely said, “but I already have my own insurance package.” My parents, after all, taught me to be polite. “Then may I speak to you about another product?” To which I said that I was not interested, either.


I know that those poor agents were simply doing their jobs. On the other hand, whatever happened to respecting customers’ privacy and wishes?
The conversation ended convivially and the call centre agent and I said goodbye to each other.

Several more calls and I was starting to get really annoyed. The calls would come at the most inappropriate times – when I was in the bathroom; when I was cooking or having dinner; or when I was in the middle of a really tense movie scene.

It had become so annoying that I felt impelled to call my credit card provider’s call centre to lodge a protest and ask not to receive any more marketing calls.

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir!” the polite call centre agent told me. “I will refer your request to the department concerned so that you don’t get any more of those calls.”

“Thank you,” I gratefully said to the agent; all the while thinking that since I had called the bank itself, that it would be the end to the matter.

I mentioned the call to my sister, who works in the call centre of the very bank from which I got my credit card. Opting out, that is what my sister called what I did when I called the call centre.

Now hear this – even she gets those calls; and she already works in the bank’s call centre, albeit another department.

I am sure that all banks and marketing departments who do the same are covered legally by the fine-print that they all invariably ask people to sign that are either too small or too lengthy to read, anyway.

But the calls are still not only annoying but also downright intrusive! Moreover, how many people even know about this ‘opt out’ that my sister told me about?

Not that opting out did me a whole lot of good. One day, it was my cell phone that rang. I was having lunch; same routine.

“I’m sorry,” I said to the agent, my mouth still full and I was really unable to disguise my annoyance. “I already called up XXXX and asked not to receive any more calls, so I don’t know why you’re calling me.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry sir,” the voice said at the opposite end, “I will include a note on your account to make sure you don’t get any more calls.”

“Please do,” I responded, all the while wondering why she still needed to do that since the bank’s call centre agent who spoke to me said exactly the same thing.

And, of course, a week later I got another call… We went through the entire thing again; and when the agent said the same thing about making a note on my account, I suddenly forgot all that my parents taught me about being polite.

“That was the same thing the agent told me last week!” I said to the woman at the other end, just short of shouting into my cell phone. The agent, realising that I was upset, hastily apologised, “I’m really sorry sir, but we just want to make sure that you hear about all our products.”

“I know!” I retorted. “But you should call those who wish to hear about your products, not those who don’t!”

I know that those poor agents were simply doing their jobs. On the other hand, whatever happened to respecting customers’ privacy and wishes?

I have since written to the bank and received a response apologising for the inconvenience with a reassurance that there will be no more calls. We will see. I am not over the edge yet; but when I get there, I will definitely change my credit card provider.

Meanwhile, the call I got this morning really lifted my annoyance level. Rushing to answer the phone and saying good morning into the handset, what do I hear but a recorded marketing message!

That’s even worse than the call centre agents! I immediately slammed the receiver down and loudly quoted my Mom when she was mad, “Ay sa putang-ina ni Herodes!”

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