We’ve all heard jokes about telemarketers – from the calls during dinner to the “funny” things to say in response – but working in a call center can actually be a viable way to make a living if you enjoy speaking with people and providing good customer service. Today, many business owners feel that it’s important to try to reach new customers by phone. Therefore, finding a job with a telemarketing call center isn’t all that difficult. Working in the field, you’ll find that you experience many of the same issues as employees in other types of call centers.
Telemarketing Call Center Tasks
In general, when you begin working as a telemarketer, you’ll be provided with a list of names, telephone numbers and a pre-written script to follow. Your objective will be to make direct contact with an individual and then try to sell them a product or service. Unfortunately, most people will tell you they aren’t interested in your product or hang up on you as soon as they figure out you are a telemarketer. In most cases, that happens as soon as you tell them your name and the company you represent – if you don’t deal well with rejection, seek another line of work.
Because telemarketers are often viewed as a nuisance, many consumers registered their phone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry. If you’re a telemarketer, you aren’t allowed to call individuals on this list. If you try to call an individual on this list and they determine that you’re a telemarketer, you may have to pay fines and penalties or be subject to investigation by law enforcement authorities.
Issues You Might Encounter
Just like collections call center professionals, chances are you’ll receive a certain amount of verbal abuse. Depending on the policies of the company you work for, you’ll either be asked to hang up immediately or try to diffuse the situation. As you might expect, the likelihood of making a sale in these situations is very low.
In other instances, people frustrated with telemarketers may decide to play along and pretend they want to buy from you. These individuals can use any number of conversation lines to make you feel very uncomfortable, and perhaps even embarrassed. As you might expect, gauging legitimate interest from these customers in the products you have to offer may be difficult, but it’s all part of the territory.
Unfortunately, when you call someone’s home, you won’t know what was going on prior to your call. Among other things, individuals can and do drink excessive amounts of alcohol, as well as get into family disputes. As a result, you may be exposed to any number of comments and a wide range of emotional atmospheres. If you’re an emotionally sensitive person, or can’t tolerate foul language, it may not be best for you to work in a telemarketing call center.
Even though you may find a number of positions related to telemarketing, it’s not always an easy job. In particular, if you’re offered payment based on sales, you may find that it’ll take a huge amount of calls to attain any kind of success. On the other hand, as a telemarketer, you’ll gain experience dealing with many different kinds of people and communication behaviors, all while earning a healthy income.
When you think of call centers, you probably think of the traditional customer service model where you call in for account information or assistance with other issues. However, there’s another type of call center that’s set up to make outgoing calls on the behalf of a business or other organization. For example, a university development staff might use a call center to solicit prospective donors or an environmental advocacy group may call to distribute information on new recycling programs. These types of call centers are known as “outreach call centers.”
When working in an outreach call center, you’ll be spending most of your time contacting individuals by phone. In most cases, you’ll have a pre-designed script or format that you’ll need to follow during the course of the conversation. For example, if you’re calling on behalf of a charity organization, you’ll begin by telling the recipient of your call who you are and which charity you represent. These scripts are designed to achieve a specific purpose in the minimal amount of time and you’ll need to adhere to them as much as possible.
Depending on your interests and skills, you may qualify to work in a wide variety of settings. Government agencies may operate outreach call centers in order to disseminate important information. As mentioned previously, charities and other non-profit organizations may use these centers in order to raise money or awareness for their cause. You may also be able to work on your own as an independent outreach call center coordinator by providing services to smaller companies who can’t afford their own centers.
Starting an Outreach Call Center Service
Even though the cost of telephone equipment and service can be steep, reaching out to customers by this method is invaluable to many business owners. Receiving a phone call gives a much more personal feel than a letter. Unfortunately, it’s becoming significantly harder for businesses to meet their financial obligations, so many are looking to outsource large volume calls to a professional service.
Today, there are also many businesses that need the services of a call center for a one-time event. For example, if a local business wants to have a special celebration, they may decide to use telephone calls to invite people. If you can provide the same service for less than it would cost the company, you might just be in business. In other cases, you might be able to find work catching up on the backlog of outgoing telephone calls that are normally managed by routine office staff.
For the most part, incoming and outgoing call centers perform similar tasks for a wide variety of companies. That said, the difference in who initiates the contact leads to a number of differences in how you will focus and structure each call. When you work in an outgoing call center, your conversations will be much more script-driven and you may be required to comply with a number of specific government regulations.