I worked as a telemarketer for about four weeks (maybe less) last summer. I took the job because I figured that I could take a little bit of heat, because it paid fairly well for a summer college-kid job, because the office was really close to my house, because they said I could wear jeans to work, and because if I liked it I could’ve continued at a different office when I went back to school.
I hated it. There wasn’t just a little bit of heat; people would personally insult me, curse at me, and just generally act like jackasses. I’ve been told to “drop dead” and worse. The suckiest thing was when people would insult my intelligence based solely upon my job. Due to company policy, I couldn’t respond to them the way that I wanted to (which would be a gentle correction of their misconceptions).
I never had anyone mess with my head, save for a pair of 13 year-old males who thought it would be funny to quote random lines from “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” into the phone instead of answering the question “is ______ there?” They thought they were hilarious. I thought they were dumb.
At the company I worked for, there was a tremendous pressure to perform. Due to a stupid form that I had to sign, I can’t give out specifics, lest I get in trouble. I can say, however, that I was formally disciplined for not completing a sale to a man who didn’t understand English, and therefore had no idea what I was saying. He was just saying “Yes” and “Okay” to everything, even the questions that didn’t merit that kind of response. They thought I should have taken the sale; I thought it was dishonest. This was a major factor in my deciding to quit.
The worst thing, though, were the freakin’ Telezappers, which the computer didn’t seem to filter out. I was wearing a crappy headset, and had the volume turned up to ten. That high-pitched beep frickin’ hurt.
As to whether people actually buy things, and how often they do so–it isn’t all that often. I got maybe 7 or 8 sales in three weeks on the floor. Some people could get 1 out of 10 or 20 people to buy–those were the people who really pushed the product. We were supposed to get one sale per hour–that never happened.
Interesting side note, though–I got called by the company that I worked for the other day. (Actually, they called my mom, but whatever). They hung up when I said, “I’m not interested. Thank you for your time. If I have any questions about this call, I’ll be sure to call the toll free number at 1-800-555-1212.” Except I used the actual number. Hopefully, I made some poor TSR laugh.