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High Priority!
April 2003


Rich Tehrani The Faces Of Outbound Teleservices

By Rich Tehrani
Group Editor-In-Chief, Technology Marketing Corporation


Since my fairly impassioned High Priority! column in the February issue of this magazine ('The FTC Is About To Eliminate 3 To 5 Million Jobs'Let's Stop Them!'), my e-mail inbox has been racking up e-mail messages faster than I can open them. I've received mail from people against the federal government's changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), people who think the changes cannot be implemented soon enough, and every opinion in between. In future issues, I hope to print as many of them as possible, across the entire spectrum of opinions.

Perhaps the most moving letters I've received, however, have been from outbound teleservices agents themselves. These individuals, who will without a doubt be affected the most by the FTC's legislation, are fully aware of the stakes, as their letters attest. They also have something to say, and while this magazine plans to cover the opinions of those who cheer the new TSR and all its changes, we also wish to highlight the opinions of the agents who will very likely lose livelihoods due to the Rule.

We received many, and below we highlight some of the most eloquent. We thank all those individuals who felt strongly enough to send us their stories, and hope to highlight more of them in the future.

Sincerely,

Rich Tehrani
Group Publisher,
Group Editor-in-Chief
rtehrani@tmcnet.com

Fred Kingsbury, InfoCisionDear Rich:

I began working at InfoCision as a part-time Communicator in 1991 while employed full-time as a purchasing manager for a local hospital. As a healthcare professional, I was expected to maintain a high level of personal integrity in dealing with suppliers and hospital personnel. From dealing with outside suppliers, I had learned to develop a perception about the ethical standards of business organizations. When my position in healthcare was eliminated in 1995, I returned to InfoCision, initially as a temporary move, while engaged in a professional job search. 

From the beginning, I was impressed with the high ethical standards of InfoCision. In an industry that continually has to present a strong public image, InfoCision proves itself to be an organization with high standards. The company is committed to developing quality employees to achieve high standards while being sensitive to personal and family issues. 

Additionally, the clients that InfoCision represents are well respected in their fields. As a Communicator, I found myself sharing the commitment to the mission of these organizations and began to feel a real sense of accomplishment in helping them to raise funds. From my conversations with donors, I renewed an interest in law and politics that I had as a college student during the 1960's. As a result, I enrolled in a master's degree program in political science at a local state university. My work at InfoCision has helped me to be successful in school, and the schoolwork has helped me to deliver informed presentations to donors. My education and professional experience helped me to earn a recent promotion to a supervisory position with InfoCision.

I never considered the call center industry to be a good fit. Fortunately, InfoCision was able to provide me with employment at a time when I needed it the most! The rest came from being appreciated as an employee.

Fred Kingsbury
InfoCision


Dear Rich:
I am a 26-year-old working my way through college as a telemarketer in Western Nebraska. I am also totally blind and supporting myself from this job. I make my own house payments and pay all my own bills. I only need help to read them, not to pay them. Being a telemarketer isn't the most gratifying job, but what is gratifying to me is that I am supporting myself. The town I live in has a population of 8,000; so jobs are not very plentiful. I couldn't even get hired at a fast food place flipping burgers because they think I am too much of a risk at burning myself. If the federal do-not-call registry goes into effect, then I would probably have to leech off the government. I could get disability, food stamps and government housing. 

Imagine if there were a do-not-send junk mail registry? If there were a junk mail registry, imagine how much the government would lose in the mail system. That would more than likely never happen, because the mail system would lose way too much money. People say, 'You can just throw junk mail away.' I agree with that, but you can just hang up on me, too. Think of all the businesses and jobs that would be lost and all the people that would be forced to go on unemployment. That would cost a whole lot and spike the unemployment rate as well. I thought the economy was bad already, but do we want to make it worse? I can leech off the system if I have to.

If the registry does go into effect, then I will be forced to leech off the system. I would like to thank the American taxpayer in advance. If they don't want telemarketing calls, I would just like to thank them for my future paychecks from disability for my food and for my housing. 

Chad
The Romney Group


Felix G. Dial, Teleperformance, USADear Rich:

When I first started in the telemarketing industry, I was just starting school. The flexibility in shifts and good pay allowed me to attend school while still working and getting enough hours to pay my bills. 

There are many things that I enjoy about my job, but I would have to say that the item I enjoy most is overseeing the quality of work our company is providing. Working in the quality assurance department enables me to ensure that only the best quality of work is produced by our company on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Our goal as a company is to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients and it feels good knowing that my department plays a role in achieving that goal.

There are a variety of skills I have acquired from working in this industry from computer skills (Word, Excel, Power Point, as well as a very good working knowledge of our voice and data systems), communication skills (speaking to large groups of people, conducting presentations and training classes), accounting/payroll to working with a wide range of people and job functions.

This has been my career for the past nine and a half years. I started in this industry at a young age and did not quite know what I wanted to do in the future. But I am very grateful that I found an opportunity in this industry and for all that I have gained from it. It has helped me learn many of the skills that I have today along with helping me better the skills that I previously had. I hope to keep moving forward in this industry and help other individuals learn the same type of skills I have. 

This industry has given me the chance to make good money and provide a good healthy environment for my three children, which is my number one goal. Being a single father and raising three kids while only working one job feels good, it gives me the chance to work a hard day and yet be able to spend quality time with my kids. Along with providing for my kids, as I mentioned before, it has taught me a lot of skills that helped me advance to the position that I am currently in. I started in this company as a Telemarketing Sales Representative and have moved my way up to the Director of Quality Assurance.

Felix G. Dial
Teleperformance USA


David Wright, FutureCallDear Rich:

My name is David Wright and I have been employed with FutureCall for four years as an outbound telemarketer. I have been privileged to work with many different companies and projects as an outbound telemarketer. Because of FutureCall, my life has changed financially, mentally, physically and emotionally. I look forward to coming to work every day and doing an exceptional job and meeting new co-workers. Employment with FutureCall allows me to support a family of two and still have a life outside of work. Who could ask for more than that? 

David Wright
FutureCall


Dear Rich:
For me an outbound call center was a solution to a family crisis in my life. I had been a stay-at-home mom for 14 years when my husband had a heart attack at age 39. Life was just perfect for my family of four, when the medical crisis arose 10 years ago. I knew I had to help alleviate the financial burden from my husband. What started out as a need to help my family has turned into a real bonus for my family's total lifestyle. Also it is rather fulfilling to contribute to the family needs in a major way. This job has helped put two grateful teenagers through major colleges with major accomplishments. It has helped provide laptop computers, cars, vacations, cheerleading expenses and, soon, graduate school. What started as a temporary 'fix' to a crisis has turned into fulfilling our dreams for our children; not to mention a lot of money added to the economy. 

Signed, 
Mother of a Future Ivy League Philosophy Professor and Americall Employee

Debbie Kaminski
Americall


Michelle Patterson, InfoCisionDear Rich:

I come from a small town where the job market is almost non-existent. It consists of a few plants that I don't have the physical stamina for; restaurants that offer minimum wage, no benefits and few hours; and small privately owned business that rarely hire. 

InfoCision offered me a better way of life. Not only did it offer better wages, but health insurance and paid holidays and vacation. InfoCision also has a friendly environment. The people you work with become more like family than co-workers. I guess you could say before InfoCision, I was barely making it through the day. It was a struggle to keep my utilities on, and my cabinets rarely had food. People often refer to telemarketers as the lowest forms on earth, yet it was that job that pulled me up out of the gutter.

I realize people see me as annoying, evil and heartless because of what I do for a living. I find their perception of me ironic because every day I talk to so many people who touch my heart in so many ways. I shed tears for the people who tell me they are suffering from illness or a loss of life in their family. I continue to pray for the many people who request that I remember them in their time of trouble. My heart goes out to the elderly who are so lonely they look forward to calls from a stranger. Sadly, I truly understand how frustrating it is for a family to work so hard just to barely keep their heads above water. 

People I call often see me as a faceless annoyance, out to intrude on their busy lives. Again, ironic, because when I call people I don't see them as faceless at all, but as a reflection of me at some point in my life. 

Michelle Patterson 
InfoCision


Karen Collins, Teleperformance, USADear Rich:

I am a 41-year-old single mother of two boys with a high school education. I have had other jobs throughout my life where I was required to work long hours, weekends and evening hours. I was always away from my boys. They were being raised by a babysitter. I was unable to spend any quality time with my children. My children's education and mental stability was suffering greatly. When I started this job a little over two years ago, our lives changed immensely'I have flexible hours, I do not have to work weekends unless I want to and I am receiving a decent wage so I can support my family. I have more time to spend with my boys. Their grades in school have improved dramatically. I have even been able to let them take part in sports such as basketball, soccer and baseball, which they love so much and which I was unable to let them do because my previous work schedule would not allow me to get them to practices or games. I am now able to contribute so much more to my family, community and church since I started doing telemarketing then I have ever been able to do before I started this job.

I love the flexible hours, I love the people I work for and with and I enjoy talking with people from all across the U.S. I am pretty good at my job, so I enjoy getting up and going to work, and I go home feeling good about my performance each day!

I have acquired quite a few skills because of this job. My selling skills for one have improved 100 percent. I can use a computer and type much better then I ever could before. I communicate much better and I am definitely more professional, which has helped me out considerately in dealing with people outside of my job.

Whether I stay with telemarketing or do something different in the future, I know that the things and skills I have learned like great selling skills, public relations, customer service skills and working well with public would be an asset to any future career or job I should choose to go into or apply for.

Karen Collins
Teleperformance USA

[ Return To The April 2003 Table Of Contents ]



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