Telephone canvassing: the secrets of a former operator

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Hours on the phone and no right to hang up. Cold calling is a scourge on your side, but have you ever wondered what was going on on the other end of the line? A former telephone operator, who lasted three months in the industry, agreed to talk about her experience and reveal to us the secrets of the trade, perhaps one of the most hated by the French.

Émilie was 22 when she accepted this student job, to which she devotes “20 hours a week”, which “pays well” and which hires quickly: “No sooner had a friend sent my CV to her superior than he called me, not even to give me an interview, but to get me to sign a contract directly!”.

The girl has no experience in this area but, regardless, she will be told everything she needs to do anyway. She then becomes a telephone operator for a marketing agency, commissioned by a large bank whose customers she must question.

“The locals were a little crazy,” she recalls to Planet: “There were dozens of cubicles, with only a computer and a landline phone, in an atmosphere and furniture from the 1990s”. For six hours, Émilie makes a series of phone calls, with a 15-minute break every two hours, no more. Very quickly, she realizes that she does not have much room for maneuver: “On our screen was displayed a telephone number that we had to call: we dialed and we debited the speech, which was also displayed on our screen. It is then a satisfaction survey and she must enter the answers of the customers as the conversation progresses.

“Once the investigation was over, we hung up and called a new number. We repeated the same sentences all day long and we felt like we were becoming robots,” she recalls.

Robots constantly listened to by their superiors, who then criticized their call. Émilie remembers very well the practices put in place and which often lead to harassment…

Very quickly, Emilie’s superiors ask her to be more playful on the phone and, above all, give her tips on how to convince the person to answer her. “We must not give them time to say ‘no’ at the beginning of the call, we must push them to go to the end of the conversation by repeating to them that ‘it will only take a few seconds’, when in reality the call lasted a good 10 to 15 minutes”.

The young woman has no freedom in her conversations, since everything she can say is displayed on her computer screen: “Even a little ‘OK’ or ‘agree’ in addition it did not pass So obviously the conversations were painful, in the sense that they clearly lacked naturalness and spontaneity.” She also faces “very angry” people who do not hesitate to insult her: “We couldn’t say anything, the instruction was to let them hang up first”.

As Planet explained to you, not picking up when they call is the wrong solution, because they will continue to call, which Émilie confirmed to us…

Émilie is deeply bored in her cubicle. She explains to us that at that time, “50% of working time was hearing the phone ringing in a vacuum, because a lot of people didn’t even pick up and I understand them”. The problem, for them, is that she was then obliged to call them back: “We called back several times and several days in a row, as long as the person had not answered, they remained on our call lists at TO DO”.

By sharing her experience, Émilie also gives you advice on cold calling. Since they’re not allowed to hang up and they’ll call you back if you don’t pick up, it’s up to you to wear them down. Planet has given you its tips for achieving this.