Cold calls, sales calls, unsolicited calls, nuisance calls, marketing calls, what ever you call them I'm sure you will agree they are irritating! So I thought I would write a little piece on how to avoid those interrupting sales calls or lying scum that make you pay for something that is actually nothing, but also I want to help you understand and identify if they are a genuine Market Researcher gathering data and opinions and NOT a sales call!
To begin with I suggest you become both of the following:
Ex Directory, which mean your number is not available through the directory enquiry services or published in a phone book. This is a topic of confusion mainly with the older generations as it only reduces those calls that have used a phone book to gather their potential customers. But it is one step closer to having a bit more peace. This has to be done with your telephone network provider, so contact them and find out how.
The second is becoming TPS registered, the Telephone Preference Service, regulated by Ofcom, is an option available to those who want to opt out of Sales or Marketing calls. Let me stress here that those are not the same thing as genuine MARKET RESEARCH calls, I will discuss this more later on. So if you want to stop those sales calls, go to http://www.tpsonline.org.uk. This does take 28 days to take effect but after that you should only receive the genuine market research calls. Be aware that the TPS is free, there is no charge, but there are a number of bogus companies who will try and offer you extra assurance of call prevention for a fee - rubbish! You can find a list of some of those here http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/news1.html
Just FYI - Most Market research companies use an Auto Dialer which automatically dials a number, these numbers have been randomly generated by a Random Digit Dialer generating numbers at random as it implies, and this is why they still get through to ex-directory as they are not selected from a phone book.
Having done the above, if you find your phone does ring and you hear that background chatter, the first indication its coming from a call center, just hear them out, all you have to do at the end is say 'Thanks but I'm not interested'. But what if the person on the end happens to be researching and your opinion could have an effect on something in your area that you actually feel passionate about. That is what genuine Market Research is all about, giving you an opportunity to have your say! I have worked in the Market Research industry, I have been on the end of the telephone, and no I wasnt selling anything, I hate the sales calls as much as the next person. I was doing genuine Market Research asking your opinions so that the information could be used to better our world, REALLY, there are some genuine companies out there doing this. But the problem is the others who pretend to be what their not and are really just SALES at the end of it all.
So having heard the Market researcher out, and you think you might be willing to take part, my suggestions are:
- Ask them if they can give you the Market research society's verification service number (0500 39 69 99) which by law if they are genuine they have to offer you this number at the end, but ask for it first, they should be able to give it to you - if not they are not genuine. If you want to, tell them to call you back so you can verify with the MRS service that this company is genuine - just remember to take the name of the company so you can actually check.
- Whilst you are chatting, Google their company name, make sure their website reinforces what they have said they do and what they're about.
- Only give the information you are happy to give, most surveys only need a few demographics to be able to use it, like your age, sex, and possibly nationality. The rest is usually optional so if you don't feel comfortable giving it, don't.
Hope this helps