Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Last Time I Worked In Telemarketing

I worked in telemarketing for a few years.

From the beginning of the job until the day I quit, I kept track of my own statistics, just because it was something I liked doing. Number of calls, number of reached customers, number of sales.

A few weeks before I quit, they submitted me for retraining because my sales numbers were going down. Except they only looked at 3 months of data; anything older than that got trashed.

I pulled up all my data. Three years of data.
  1. I was making more calls per shift than my quota. And not by a small margin.
  2. In the time I had been there, the number of customers reached had gone down steadily, consistently.
  3. My ratio of reached-customers to sales-made was consistent across the entire period. For every (forget the exact number, but something like) five customers I spoke to, I made a sale.
I had the raw data. I gave them the raw numbers, asked them to draw any conclusion other than the one I was from the data. The problem wasn't the marketers, the problem was that fewer people were answering the phone.

Management denied my claims as false, accused me of faking the data. If they couldn't be bothered to keep track of more than 3 months, how likely was it that I had 3 years of real data?

I took the retraining. I sat through every class in the front row with a notebook and pen in front of me, and it stayed empty the entire time. I passed every quiz with a perfect score, I had the answer to every question asked.

By the end of the retraining, they asked how helpful I thought it was. I tore out the blank sheet of paper, "all my notes" and gave it to them.

I worked one week after the retraining ended. I had someone sit over my shoulder for the whole week.

They were aghast at how quickly I could navigate the customer profile, how quickly I could determine if someone was eligible for a call. The other callers took ~30 seconds to determine whether or not to call; I could do it in less than 10.

They were agog how quickly I could dial the phone. I can still do ten-key right side up and upside down pretty well.

They hated how I rewrote all their scripts. I made them flow better, made them easier to say, easier to understand, less excessively verbose. I took two or three paragraphs (seriously, for a fucking voicemail) and boiled it down to a couple of sentences, under a minute.

And in that week, I didn't speak to a single customer. The person supervising me literally told me "You're doing everything right, you just don't have luck."

They cut my hours.

Everybody outside management agreed it wasn't my fault I was missing my sales quota, but management insisted on blaming me anyway.

Three years of data...

Finally, one day, I pulled in to the parking lot, sat in my car, and cried. Then I called in to the office, and told them I was done. I walked in the customer entrance, left my key card at the front desk, and walked out.


These days, I work in the tech industry, where my skills in data management and analytics have helped make my team more efficient. And nobody accuses me of fudging the data.