Goodbye, marketing calls

Summary:Telemarketing calls can be quite a menace. Three years back, when I was admitted in a hospital for a C-section, I remember being woken by an overzealous telemarketing executive who wanted to sell me a credit card.

Telemarketing calls can be quite a menace. Three years back, when I was admitted in a hospital for a C-section, I remember being woken by an overzealous telemarketing executive who wanted to sell me a credit card. And he called not once, but thrice, as I struggled to catch some sleep between congratulatory calls from friends and relatives and cranky spells of my new born.

While I was doing my research, I learnt that India's nascent telemarketing industry has been quite a nuisance to many important and busy people in the country. One such person, I learnt from a source, was none other than the country's finance minister P. Chidambaram. He was in the United States and a telemarketer woke him up at 2.30 in the morning. The telemarketing company and the executive in question obviously had no idea that it was the finance minister they were calling, and that he was in the United States and the time differential between the two nations is substantial.

Similarly, I learnt that Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of India's largest private sector company (Reliance Industries Ltd) and amongst the richest businessmen in the world received a call from a telemarketer who wanted to know if he needed an ICICI personal loan. Ambani was scheduled to meet a very senior ICICI Bank official that evening, and he promptly narrated the incident to the gentleman.

Ever since incoming calls have become free in India (January 2003), the telemarketing menace has been on the rise. In my case, getting three to four such calls in a day is commonplace. Therefore, on Jun. 5 this year, the announcement of the 'National Do Not Disturb' regulation came as music to my ears. I have been calculating the kind of money I can make each time a telemarketer breaches my NDND registry. At US$12.20 (Rs 500 per minute), each breach should fetch me more money.

On a more serious note, the NDND registry does come as a big relief to those who don't need any more credit cards and personal loans. In fact, it should help the telemarketing industry mature a lot faster. Telemarketing executives--many of whom are barely past their teens--can target people who will actually entertain such calls--retired persons, people who are not that busy, people who love to talk, people who want credit cards and personal loans... Their yield per call will actually go up. Hopefully, they will get to hear lesser curses and rude 'no thank-you's. I think it's a win-win situation.

Topics: Banking

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