Telemarketers Are Sharing What It’s Really Like Making Those Terrible Calls

Before the time of robocalls, people used to be contacted by real people asking about a car’s extended warranty. Honestly, I haven’t answered my phone in six years, so I don’t know if real people (other than politicians asking for donations) actually call anymore. Still, I’d like to know what it’s like to be a call center employee. Do they feel shame? Do they feel anything at all? These questions and more were asked on Reddit. The answers may surprise you!

My phone is on silent right now, and my voicemail box says “please just text me” and still, people leave messages. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot in Chinese and one or two claiming to be “my doctor” with “very urgent news about my test results.” LOL. It’s probably nothing. If you’re curious about what it’s like to make annoying calls all day, you came to the right place.

People on the internet had questions for telemarketers, and they were happy to answer:

1. “What is the best way to get off the phone fast without seeming like a jerk?”

“Saying not interested is fine, but dont just say it then hang up. Let the telemarketer say, ‘thanks anyway” or “have a good day”. If they just keep going after you’ve clearly stated that you’re not interested, then I’d just hang up.” –stop_cheez-it_time

2. “Do you guys/girls ever get offended by things that people say over the phone?”

“Rarely. Once a lady said she didnt know what I did to end up where I was in life. That one knid of stung.” –0hBother

3. “What’s the craziest reply you’ve ever had someone say to your calls?”

“Well, I made calls for a environmental organization in Berkeley Califonia, so as you can imagine, we had our fair share of nuts.

Once a guy said, “You just woke me up, I haven’t had a cigarette yet, and I need to poop, how do you think I’m doing”?” –0hBother

4. “Is there a specific region or set of numbers you call or do you just randomly dial a phone number?”

“I’ve worked for a few different outfits, and they all do it differently. My last job was with APM based out of Illinois. We called for various sherifs and police organizations that were specific to a particular region. “Illinois Council of Police” or “Cape Coral Fraternal order of Police” Usually the company would enter a bidding negotiation with other telemarketing firms in an effort to purchace a set of numbers in with in certian county in the given region that pretained to the organization we were representing.” –0hBother

5. “What’s the easiest way to extract fines from a telemarketing call hitting a cell phone number?”

“If they call your cell phone once, tell them it’s a cellular phone and they are not permitted to call it. If they call it again they are in violation.

Be sure to ask the name of the caller, the name of the firm calling AS WELL AS THE COMPANY THEY REPRESENT.

If the caller dodges giving you their name, INSIST on talking to management. They are required to tell you who they are and who they represent.

Document it all, the numbers the calls come from, the people you speak with, record the calls if you can.

Depending on the type of call you are getting violations vary.” –

6. “What was the worst insult/rant a person has shouted at you?”

“I never got yelled at personally…well, I did, but it wasn’t directed towards me, if you know what I mean. They were unhappy with the bank I was calling on behalf of, and proceeded to tell me about how much they hated the bank for about ten minutes. Another guy I called once was like “Do you know what fucking time it is? On a fucking Saturday?” and I just tried not to laugh and was just like “Yessir.” We know what times we can legally call. Our dialer shuts off time zones at certain hours and on certain days.” –formertelemarketer

7. “Would you like the job if you were paid decent commission?”

“Negative. That job is soul crushing.” –formertelemarketer

8. “What’s the funniest call you’ve ever been a part of?”

“My favorite one was with an older grandmother who was watching one of her grandchildren. She was actually a sale, and halfway through the process she asks me to hold on – obviously I say yes, then wait. I hear some commotion in the background, then she comes back…

‘Okay, can we expedite this? I’m making cookies with my grandson, and he just spilled a gallon of milk all over my slippers. He says he’s sorry but I know he isn’t.’ followed by the shriek of a small child who’s just been sassed [he had to be only like five] yelling ‘I AM SORRYYYYYYYYYYYY.” “NO YOU’RE NOT.'” –formertelemarketer

9. “What was the pay like? Were you paid hourly, based on your sales, or a combo?”

“Hourly. It was barely more than minimum wage. We also had “incentives”, which were just there to laugh at, really. To get anything decent we’d have to have a 70% conversion rate and make double our quota for the day.” –formertelemarketer

10. “Why in the hell will some telemarketing companies call you, then when you answer, it’s just silence?”

“Most telemarketers are run through an automated dialer. It will call you and wait to hear your voice, then patch you through to someone available. Sometimes we aren’t paying attention, sometimes we just don’t want to take a call and just need a break so we’ll sit on mute. If no one’s available it will sit on that dead air until someone is, then ship you over to them.” –formertelemarketer

11. “Where do you get the phone numbers to call?”

“They are purchased. DIfferent temelarketing firms bid on them. We have a set amount of time to call the numbers, say 3 months. If we purchace the list for say 10k, any money that we generate from those calls within the given time frame over 10k, we get to keep. Different frims do it differently, but thats how it worked at my last job.” –0hBother

12. “What was your reaction when you actually got a person who listened?”

“Just continued with my schpiel. More people listen than you think.” –formertelemarketer

13. “Is there any call that sticks out as a memorable call?”

“I’d have to say the most memorable call I ever had was a guy in Arkansas. No matter how many times I told him I was calling about insurance, he kept saying “I don’t vote”. He must have been in his late 60’s or early 70’s.

No matter how clear or succinct I was with why I was calling, he insisted my call was related to politics. He proceeded to bash Barack Obama and the democratic party for about 30 minutes. He was extremely racist and although offensive, it was very entertaining to hear. Dude was super passionate.

After he ranted for what seemed like an hour, I asked him, “If you’re so passionate about the president and politics why don’t you vote?”

His response was priceless. He sat for about 10 seconds in silence and responded “Bars and liquor stores are closed on election day, and I wouldn’t vote for any of these dirty fuckers without being drunk as fuck.”

Touche’ sir. Well said.” –CMonte420

14. “Why are you guys pathologically unable to hang up on me?”

“Because we’d get yelled at by our supervisors for not rebutting and trying to make the sale. Bullshit, eh?” –formertelemarketer

15. “What’s the rudest response you have had? Did you take it personally?”

“Once you’ve had EVERY rude response in the world, it’s hard to pick one. When you first start (i was 16), you do take it personally. It’s really hard to listen to somebody you don’t even know rip on you for what seems like no reason.

After it happens about 50 times, you become numb to it. I can literally be kicked back reading a book and delivering a prepared script over the phone to a prospect. Once you learn every single aspect of the approach and technique it becomes robotic.” –CMonte420

16. “Is it weird to violently masturbate in the stalls of a Taco Bell while crying because you feel like the five 7-layer burritos you just ate are gonna make you fat?”

“Yes.” –formertelemarketer