Does Telemarketing Still Work?
Beyond that, companies need to think about getting permission to call. This sounds like an impossibility given the current attitude of consumers, but practically, it is not. It all depends on your name recognition, and whether consumers and current customers consider your calls annoying.
IDM: How can direct marketers effectively obtain permission to call their prospects and customers?
Hamilton: If you talk to the average person on the do-not-call list and ask why they signed up, you'll find that it wasn't because of all the [telemarketing] calls [they received]. Only the ones from companies that abused their right to call them.
If companies sent mail that, in effect, said, "We know you're on the do-not-call list, but would it be OK if we called you no more than two times a year to tell you about our new products," they would find that people would say OK. Even better, we could ask people when they prefer to be calledor not called. We have the technology to [program call times]. I would recommend direct mail for this [communication], but you can collect the signatures electronically.
IDM: What new approaches might companies consider taking to help their telemarketing efforts be considered of value to prospects and customers?
Hamilton: As an example, years ago, the largest banks limited the number of times their customers could be called for any offer to four to six times per year. This has given way to a philosophy that the more our customers are called, the more money we will make. It's a business strategy that will send your customers to your competitors. The only reason this hasn't happened yet is that most of the competitors have had the same strategy.
The ones who become more concerned with what their customers think will be cleaning up in this "brave, new world." In the short run, however, they will give up some profitability, so many will not take this high road to future success.