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High Priority!
June 2003


Rich Tehrani Readers React To TSR Coverage

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


Since the publication of our various columns, articles and letters regarding our position on the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), we have received a truly overwhelming amount of responses to our stance, and the responses have run the gamut from entirely negative to 'yes, but'' and through to the 100 percent supportive. Some letters have contained mostly venting on one opinion or the other (pro or con), but the many more interesting letters have provided suggestions, tips and mixed thoughts on balancing the right to free speech and freedom from undue government regulation with the right not be called at home the moment we put our first forkful of dinner in our mouths at the family dinner table.

We have taken many of these suggestions to heart and added them to our list of considerations as we form an 'action plan' for ourselves and on behalf of the industry as a whole. Below, I'd like to share a sample of the types of responses we have received (and continue to receive). You've heard our opinions on the subject, these letters can offer you a general picture of what other readers of Customer [email protected] Solutions' think. I continue to encourage you to express your opinions about the topic and our coverage of it.

Sincerely,

Rich Tehrani
Group Publisher,
Group Editor-in-Chief
[email protected]


Dear Mr. Tehrani,

Although I am a subscriber to your magazine and I manage an inbound help desk, I believe you are off-base when you describe the new FTC regulations as obtrusive and counter-productive. They may be to you and some of your readers, but they certainly are not to me! When outbound contact centers repeatedly call people on a 'cold-call basis' without any regard to the timing of these calls it is intolerable, upsetting and unwanted.

I pay monthly for telephone service and that telephone number is assigned to me for my benefit, not the outbound call industry. I can call someone; I can request information or even order items over the phone. However, when the outbound call industry invades my privacy to offer me a 'deal I cannot live without,' I personally think (and obviously from all the do-not-call lists around the country many people agree) that the practice of making these outbound calls must be restricted to only those who request information. If the seller 'has all these deals,' then they should choose to advertise in publications that a person needing their deal reads, or they can even (heaven forbid) contact the vendor directly. You would think that with all the specific advertisements in your magazine that TMC would understand this philosophy as much or more so than others would.

Now you want ME to pay to be on a do-not-call list'you are being absurd! You think that the people on these do-not-call lists did so in error and did not understand what they were wanting! Ridiculous! The only thing I think about [the Telemarketing Sales Rule] I have read is how really bizarre the fine is only $11,000 per call. If I had my way, I would make it $110,000 per call! If that damages the industry, I do not believe anyone but some of your constituents would be upset.

- Larry D. Thorn


Mr. Tehrani:

While I can respect your stance on the [Federal] Do Not Call list, I take exception to your extremely alarmist way of describing its potential results. I am glad to hear that responses have been about 50/50 opposed and in-favor.

Please limit your predictions of a collapsing world economy and focus on developing your good ideas for improving the way the list operates. These concrete details make for a constructive dialog while the "chicken little" attitude is a big turn-off.

Sincerely,

Michael Palmquist
Avaya


Mr. Tehrani:

I would probably agree with your position on government-funded TSR if not for the reality of being bombarded by obnoxious telesales reps for years. Nothing that a private citizen does has any effect on these people. Not only are the calls intrusive, untimely and repetitive, but sometimes they are downright offensive, especially when someone tries to cut off the conversation quickly (and courteously). The argument can be made that there are always a few bad apples, and they should be reported. Unfortunately, this is no longer true. There are so many irritating things that go on that reporting abuses does no good. There is nobody with the time or funding to pursue the issue anyway.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to stop these abuses is through a government-funded 'do-not-call' list. After talking with people who live in Pennsylvania where their program is a reality, it is clear that it benefits many more people than it hurts. Rather than crying about the jobs lost, it is time for the industry to find a new means of contacting people who want to be contacted. If the industry had done a better job of policing itself, then this legislation wouldn't be necessary.

- Russ Drumheller


Rich:

Thanks for being aggressive relative to the FTC and how it impacts our industry. I really don't think the government understands what kind of impact they will have on call centers and local economies.

With efforts like yours they will learn quickly.

Anthony Marlowe, President
TOTAL Marketing One


Hi Rich:

I get your magazine and I've been involved in Direct Sales all of my life, but honestly, your letter has no swaying effect on me at all.

As much as I dislike government regulations, I am more unhappy with all the abuse that the telemarketing industry has poured out at me over the years and as far as I'm concerned, it is getting worse, not better.

The worst new phenomenon is the robot dialer. I like to receive inbound calls from customers and from people I don't know. I don't even mind getting calls from telemarketers when they're polite, knowledgeable and if they are responsive.

In spite of your efforts to educate these outbound people, you (your industry) have made numbers a priority over the quality and training of the telemarketer.

I don't want to talk to robots and I don't want to talk to idiots and there are just too many in the telesales field.

I consider it a rare blessing to receive a call from an intelligent, knowledgeable, salesperson. The problem is'it just doesn't happen very often.

So instead of pouring out your heart to the President, why don't you get more people like you to pour out their hearts to your own industry?

Sorry, I'm all for the government getting involved. At least they are listening to people.

Sincerely,
Joe Alagna


Rich:

Let's hope [President Bush] gets the word and can stave off this possible hindrance to our economic recovery.

Regards,
C. Don Gant
V.P. Business Development
Iwatsu America Inc.


Rich:

Congratulations on the terrific letter to President Bush. As a long time member of the telemarketing industry, past president of the ATA, past chairman of the TMC and contributor to one of the very first issues of Telemarketing' magazine, I wanted to say thanks. We need more people to stand up and fight this unnecessary intrusion of Big Government. I believe yours is the first I've seen to cover all of the important points that the Bush Administration has missed.

Jon Hamilton
JHA Telemanagement, Inc.

[ Return To The June 2003 Table Of Contents ]


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