Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Cold Call Game

If we all took a little bit of our own time to waste the time of those who cold call us, cold calling would cease to be a cost effective sales/marketing technique.

You've probably all heard this before, and it seems like a hassle, so why not make it fun?

We're going to play a game.

This is the cold call game. If I tag you, you will do the following:
  1. Pick a game plan from the list. If you have a better idea, that's cool too...
  2. Wait for a telemarketing call.
  3. When you are called, follow the rules of your chosen plan.
  4. Make the call last as long as possible.
  5. (optional) blog about the fun you had.
  6. Report back so we can chronicle our efforts here.
  7. Tag someone else.
Here's an initial list of game plans. Each plan will hopefully allow you to tastefully and politely waste the time of the person who has cold called you. More importantly, you should have fun bewildering the poor caller. Send me suggestions for the list.

The list

  • Put them on hold. Excuse yourself. Pick an insane song. My preference is the theme from the magic roundabout. Put the phone down beside a (laptop/mp3 player/some other music-playing device). Press play. Occasionally pick the phone back up, then invent a reason to put them back on hold.
  • Be stupid. Ask as many questions as you possibly can. If they're selling fitted kitchens, ask how you fit a kitchen, and where you would fit it. After a while you might ask what they meant be "kitchen". Pretending you're new to the country can help. Always be polite, and sound interested in what the caller is selling you.
  • Be a flirt. You seem interested in the product, but it's obvious you just want their cellphone number.
  • Questions only. You must only respond to the caller in question form. Be inventive.
  • Quiz Show. I'll tell you if I own my own home, IF you can correctly answer two of the following five questions.
  • I'm so lonely. Listen to the pitch, but make sure that by the time they've finished, they've heard your entire life story, or one that you just made up.
  • Superman. Somehow they have called a phone box. You excuse yourself for a few seconds. The superman theme tune plays in the background. You pick up the phone sounding much more masculine, and try to find out how you can save them.
  • Bad echo. There's a bad echo on the line. Repeat everything you say in echo style. Start making the echo say things slightly differently. If you have a friend handy, get them to be the echo. If there voice is different from you, even better. This one is ripped from Tom Mabe.
  • Multiple personalities. Keep the caller talking. Swap places with a friend mid-call. If your friend is of a different gender, even better. When the caller asks if you switched, be very hurt.
  • Bad Cough. You're really sick. Every time the caller starts explaining something, fake a coughing fit. Ask them to repeat what they just said.
  • Can't get that tune out of my head. While the caller is talking, start singing, loudly. If asked, deny it.
  • Just Curious. Stop them and ask them bizarre questions about the call centre. You're just really interested. Do they have a dress code. Try to get a discussion going.
  • Paranoia. The following line seems to cause chaos in call centres: "Would it be ok with you if I were to record this call?".
  • Life is fun. Be happy. Really happy. Too happy. Tell the caller how glorious today is. Ask them how their day has been and console them.
  • You want pizza? You sell takeaway food. You don't speak great English. You're a stereotype and you should be ashamed of yourself.
  • It's been too long. The caller is DEFINITELY your long-lost friend, despite their protests to the contrary.
  • How could you say that? The caller just said something really offensive (you misheard of course). Act accordingly.
  • That's not why I called. (thanks Vince!) You called them of course, despite what they might tell you. You thought you had just dialled a 1-900 number. You want phone sex. Why is the caller trying to sell you something?
  • Say What? (thanks Vince!) You're really hard of hearing, and misinterpret what they say. A lot. "YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT???"
  • Sell them something. (thanks Martin!) Your mission is to sell something to the caller. You have an old piece of furniture. It's in good shape, but you want to get rid of it. It's the deal of the century. Make them realize that.
That's plenty to get us started. Have fun people!

DISCLAIMER: I'm not accepting responsibility for you doing stupid s**t that gets you into trouble. Keep it clean and safe people.