Sunday, June 27, 2010

Telemarketers Send the Wrong Message

Ring, ring. I check the caller ID. It is a telemarketer. How do I know? I recognize the name – or lack thereof. And as soon as I identify myself, the caller hangs up in my ear. I know what they want. They want to speak to my boss. It isn’t going to happen. My boss does not take calls from salespeople. She hired me to do that.

There are three problems with the callers hanging up so abruptly.

First – It is physically painful to me. The disconnect often causes a loud clang in the receiver that hurts my ear.

Second – It is discourteous and I don’t do business with people that are rude.

Third – It indicates the caller has made some assumptions. The caller assumes that if he hang up and tries again, a different person will answer. OK. Let’s say that I am busy so an associate picks up the call and then tries to pass the caller to the boss. The boss will not take the call and the telemarketer is no further along than before. Another assumption is that I am a mere receptionist. Guess what – the mere receptionist can prevent anyone from speaking to anyone else. In addition, in a small office like ours, the receptionist is also the office manager. I make many buying decisions independently plus recommendations on the really big purchases. Get me angry and you go nowhere on your sales pitch.

I doubt telemarketers think of these things. They just start speaking when the computer completes the connection. However, the marketer is the one who disconnects the call. By doing what they do, over and over again, they tell me that they truly are not trying to sell me anything at all. They are just logging calls while telling me in effect “the company I work for is so awful that one should never buy anything from it because it hires people like me.”

Somehow I doubt that is the message any reputable company wants me to receive.

Computer calls next time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Talking to Ourselves

Not long ago, I read a column on in which Kevin Yee speculated that if Walt Disney had been playing with an iPhone instead of watching his daughter on a small merry-go-round, Disneyland might not have been created. Busy texting or playing a game, Disney’s mind would not have been free to imagine a place where he could go on rides with his child.

Every post in this blog has been about outward communication. Yee’s column asked me to consider the conversations we have with ourselves and the movies that play in our mind. We label it imagination or, when we are feeling uncharitable, we call it daydreaming, inattentiveness, or even ADD. We worry if we talk to ourselves, even if it is silently. Are we going crazy?

How tragic that we feel we have to be busy all the time. Why are we afraid to let our minds wander? What’s wrong with sitting on a park bench and imagining that things can be different? What would our world would be like if DaVinci had not stared at cracks in the wall, if Einstein hadn’t stared out the window or Disney had not sat on a park bench? What if they all had been busy playing Tetris on an iPhone instead of turning their minds loose?

We claim to support “thinking outside the box.” That can only happen if we give ourselves a chance to do it. We must communicate internally, turn thoughts over, and reap the rewards of the creative energy we all posses. It’s OK to be doing “nothing.” It’s even OK to talk to yourself – just don’t let your lips move.

I cannot imagine the losses our society suffers because we are so busy doing that we no longer do nothing.

I am so thankful that Walt Disney did not have an iPhone.