Adventures in Telemarketing part 3-D: The Power of Prayer!

So the stipulations of “keeping” the job are as follows: You have to set one lead per day,. and you have to set two qualified leads per week. What this means is that once a day you have to set a lead. A qualified lead is a scheduled appointment that is promising for a sale. I put keeping in quotation marks because this rule is enforced very loosely; if it were enforced strictly Don Ravencroft would have nobody working for him ever. It’s impossible to get a lead everyday. Two qualified leads is more realistic but even that poses a challenge.

A few facts about the dialing system: it is an automated system comprised of the numbers from ten counties divided into three calling areas in the Eastern NC area. It is old, out of date, unable to be updated, contains many numbers on the “Do Not Call List”, and has been used for the past fifteen years. So what that means is that marketers, by the very nature of the equipment they are using, are fighting an uphill battle trying to set qualified leads from numbers that have been called hundreds of times before.

This is not to say setting good leads is impossible, as during my tenure there I was very good at doing so. It is to say though that it’s very frustrating to call people to offer them our services only to find out we’ve done so already and to hear that the former customers are in the process of litigation against Don for doing a piss poor job (this happens a lot). Then there are those who get mad at us for calling, especially since they are on the Do Not Call list. They are always fun to talk to, informing us that they are going to turn is into the FCC and sue us and blah blah blah. I was tempted from time to time to tell them “take a number”.

Also, there is a bonus system in play. We got 1% of each sale, provided we had set up two qualified leads per week for three weeks, or basically six qualified leads within three week period. This information will come into play in the next entry of this saga.

At first I treated the job and all this information as a joke, and basically pretended I was being paid to make prank phone calls. Then the strangest thing happened: it turned out that I was good at this. I had my first sale from an appointment I set pretty much within the first week.

Kelly and Ayisha sat around yelling (their version of inside voices), singing, and doing whatever other than doing their work, which also gave me an edge. Not to say they didn’t get leads, they sometimes did too, but if they got one lead per night, they were done for the evening. Kelly would get people on the phone and basically start talking to them about anything but having work done to their home, and at one point started holding a tent revival with a woman on the phone, minus of course a tent. He spent a good forty-five minutes yelling and speaking in tongues to a woman and inviting her to go to his church. It was completely hilarious on one hand….and obnoxious as hell on the other.

So about a week into my job, Kelly starts talking about a lady named J. Leigh coming back to work there. He was talking about how awesome she was and how she wouldn’t put up with any of April’s crap. April, being the marketing manager, wanted them to work. If anyone was putting up with anyone’s crap it was the other way around. Be that as it may, there was constant conflict being ratcheted up hourly as Ayisha and Kelly did what they could to get under April’s skin. There was a combination of buttons one could press from their station that would crash the entire system. Kelly and Ayisha knew what keys these were. So one afternoon, they didn’t feel like working (and I didn’t feel like putting up with this kinda shit) so they kept pressing those keys from their stations, causing April to go into a panic mode trying to reboot the system. As soon as she’d get it done, they’d go to another station and press the keys from there, shutting down the system again. They had April on the verge of tears and on the phone with Mr. Ravencroft to try to get it all under control. She was so stupid she had no idea what was going on. However, Mr. Ravencroft did, and told June to shut down the place and send us home.

We had a meeting the next day. June wore her favorite shirt.

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Hers was still black.

Mr. Ravencroft finally “blessed” us with his presence. He was a big dude, nappy mullet red hair, and 60 some years old wearing shorts he had no business wearing. Also in attendance was J.Leigh. She was a weird looking lady. She looked to have been born of many races, but lightskinned, red hair, and a facial expression that seemed to be constantly torn between laughter and despair. Also, she was a double amputee having lost both legs below the knee in a car accident. This only added to the insanity that was already in play at the time.

As the meeting went on Kelly started to talk about his grievances with April, in his usually shrill, overtly loud voice. Ron finally told him if he was going to continue to talk like that to please go outside and around the corner, so we could listen to him without having our ears bleed. Anyways, this basically turned into a bad episode of Jerry Springer (which come to think of it, Don does look like, just add 100 lbs and a red mullet) with it turning out April let Kelly borrow her food stamp card to get something to eat, which J.Lee said is racist, and then Ayisha said that April wanted Ayisha to help her sell some of her painkiller prescription pills and to look for clients she might now, which J.Leigh also said was racist. By this point, J.Leigh has rallied up the troops against April, threatening to turn her into the police, and April vacates. Which makes J.Leigh the new marketing manager.

Which also means the inmates had taken charge of the asylum.

J.Leigh, for her part, wasn’t so bad. She didn’t bother to control the marketing room at all. She basically let Ayisha and Kelly act like she and they felt their skin color entitled them to be able to act like. It was the marketing managers job to confirm leads that are set by marketers and to keep Don abreast of new appointments set. She was good at doing that and also encouraging to me, which helped me boost my confidence level up a notch. This was my second week there and I ended up getting another sale.

Anyways, I had to leave work for a week due to a personal matter. The first evening that I wasn’t there, Ayisha got mad at Don for not giving her the 1% bonus that she didn’t earn on a sale and called him on the phone and started to insult and threaten him. He responded by calling the cops on her, and they stormed the marketing room and everyone left. Don promptly fired them all. Turned out they had also decided to have a pizza party that night too, instead of working.

So when I came back a week and a half later, April had returned to the marketing manager chair, a new guy named Bryan had been hired, and previous employee Rico had been rehired.

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It works!

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2 Comments

  1. You WORKED there? Why the hell didn’t you video tape the first two weeks?

  2. I did videotape it….IN MY MIND.


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