Cold Calling – Why I Hate It And Why It’s Ruined My Life

I am currently working on a book based on my life experiences so far, the first chapter in my book (And up to now the only chapter I’ve written, I’m lazy) is all about the different call centre’s I have worked in over the past year. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m currently unemployed and that is due largely in part to the outbound sales job I had working for a company called Voice Marketing, selling gas and electric for E.ON Energy Solutions. One of the six biggest gas and electric suppliers in the United Kingdom.

What I’ve written in the first chapter of my book which I have entitled, “Ascension Of Madness” has to do mainly about the reasons I hated the company and the people that worked there. What I haven’t mentioned in the book is the reason why I hate cold calling, which is what any outbound telesales position entails.

Voice Marketing

The reason I took the job at Voice Marketing in the first place is because I wasn’t making enough money at Ibis Chesterfield Hotel, I wasn’t getting the hours, the manager had it in for me because I spoke my mind when I felt she was being unprofessional as a manager. I gave her short notice and got out of there as soon as I could, I originally took a job at a place called Zee Solutions, although I wasn’t told until I accepted the job that it’d be commission based pay only, door knocking aswell, going to rough areas around Rotherham and Sheffield and trying to convince people into signing up to charities helping people with learning disabilities. I lasted four days at that place, purely couldn’t afford not getting a secure income so I left.

Luckily or so I thought I was given a chance at Voice Marketing, instantly got on with the people in my training group, it all looked good so far, on an agency to begin with which meant weekly pay which I prefer. After the week of training we were put on the phones, buddying up with someone, we had no targets so there was no pressure. We began on a data set called “Core” data which the company got free from E.ON, it was pretty much pure cold calling, I wrote out my pitch, a pitch I can still remember to this day and eventually we got some sales and got more confident over the phone.

After being there for awhile though the novelty of phoning people up for 9 hours a day started to wear off, constantly being told “no” over the phone is something you get used to, you move on to the next one, while I was still enjoying it I had job offers from other places, places that I could have progressed in by now, but I turned them down because I already had a job, once the novelty wore off it was too late to fall back on these other job roles.

I know what it’s like to be called by cold callers, in the past I was always so rude to them, telling them to f off amongst other things, never thought about how it affected the guy on the other end of the phone, he’s just trying to get by in life, trying to make a living, now there I was in his shoes, calling people trying to convince them into signing up to E.ON, being told to “end my own life” on more than one occasion, I’m sure the person I had called felt pretty good about himself after he said that, comments like that, usually don’t bother me but when you constantly get told to f off, or kill yourself, it eventually does get to you. I’m trying to earn a living, the only reason I called him was because that number popped up on my screen. I’ve always had trouble leaving my professional life at work, I take it home with me, I come home, taking out my frustration on the people that actually matter, not because they’ve done anything, but because I’ve kept all this rage bottled up at work for 9 hours a day and no way to unleash it.

I’d finish work at 8pm, more often than not hitting my target, while that in it self does feel good you can’t help but remember the things some people have said to you. It’s not as if it’s a physically demanding job, I’ve had physically demanding jobs, I worked in a factory for five months, tore all the ligaments in my knee due to the machine I had to lean over every day, ended up being addicted to pain killers, taking at least 20 or so a day just to take the edge off the pain. After a few months working in sales, I’d give anything to have that factory job back, never before had I felt so much mental anguish in my life.

It got to me so much that eventually I would do anything to get a sale, I would mis-sell, mis-lead, mis-quote, anything to get a sale, I’m not proud of it, I don’t brag about it, I hated the person I had become, because not everyone deserves to be strangled, you do speak to some genuinely nice people over the phone, but you can’t help yourself but do anything and say anything to get them to sign up. Some times it was like I had no control over the things I said, I’d listen to others around me and they’d be doing the same thing, getting away with it. There was something in the papers a few months ago that four out of the six top companies were being investigated for mis-selling, those companies were EDF (Energy De France), nPower (National Power), Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Electric, the only two not named being E.ON and British Gas but I know for a fact the only reason E.ON and British Gas weren’t mentioned is because they didn’t get caught.

I know for a fact E.ON mis-sell and I have no doubts in my mind that British Gas do as well because some of the people I worked with that I have heard mis-selling also worked for another company previously, which sold gas and electric for British Gas. The only thing that stopped me from losing my mind completely at that job was some of the people I worked with, people that kept me going through the day and the fact I had an end date in mind.

Before I accepted the Voice telesales role, I already accepted a position working as a Kitchen/Night porter in the French Alps for a Ski Season, the pay was shocking but all of your food and accommodation was set, it was a role for six months, but that job didn’t start until the end of November so I had to do this until then. The person I had turned into by the time the end of November rolled around however, it’s not someone I ever want to be again. I was nothing but a cheeky son of a bitch at work and nothing but a bitter, angry person outside of work. I wasn’t fun to be around at that time and usually I am the person to be around, November eventually did roll around and off I was to France.

Unfortunately that was short lived because I slipped on some ice one night, fracturing my coccyx, I was unable to work and so I was sent home. I managed to get another call centre role this time in customer service but that ended for reasons I won’t go into at this moment in time, out of work again, after a few odd jobs here and there I found myself back at Voice. I’d forgotten all about the bad, remembered only the good, remembered the people I worked with, the pay I was getting and the sales I used to get. After the week of refresher training it quickly came back to me what this job turned me into, I vowed to my very core I wouldn’t do this to myself again, the people that kept me sane no longer worked there, it had become a much worse company to work for than it did 12 months ago and with no end date in sight I walked out of that job two weeks ago now and while I am in debt and unemployed, I believe I’m a better person than I would have been if I was still there. It was just a shame I turned down a position elsewhere this time round as well.

This all stemmed from being told to kill myself on more than one occasion, you seriously wouldn’t believe how many times it happens during a 9 hour period.

The best advice I could give about where to get your gas and electric from, do it online, not over the phone or street canvassers, online packages are cheaper 100% of the time and you won’t be mis-sold.

So do me a favour, doesn’t matter what country you live in, it applies anywhere, if you get cold called (I know it must get annoying if you get cold called a lot, 9 out of 10 times it’s your own fault for entering your details on some scummy competition/survey website.) don’t be rude or harsh, just politely decline, if it’s gas and electric, just tell them you are already with them, they won’t check, they’ll move on to the next call. They’re just trying to make a living, none of them enjoy what they’re doing, but they do it because they have nothing else. If they’re constantly mentally battered over the phone, it’ll turn them into the sort of person I had become.

I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

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Author: 'Ard Pete

Hey everyone, my names Pete, friends call me 'Ard Pete because... well, I'm well 'Ard. Currently in Chesterfield, England, currently working as an I.T. Technical Lead for BT Business and Public Sector; it sounds more glamourous than it is but I'm a dab hand with Microsoft products. I enjoy television, mainly any Star Trek, all of Stargate, Lost, anything Joss Whedon has produced, 24 and House. Favourite music includes; Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz, Eminem, Chris Cornell, Ludovico Einaudi, Goo Goo Dolls, Muse, 30 Seconds To Mars basically a wide variety of anything that's real, I hate dance, trance and anything like that, I don't consider that to be music. Not much of a sports guy, I like Professional Wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, I can watch Football but only when I'm forced to watch it. Favourite author is Terry Pratchett, favourite film is Armageddon, favourite comedian is Lee Evans, favourite idiot is Karl Pilkington, favourite game is GTAIII, if there's anything else you wish to know, don't hesitate to ask. I'll more than likely not be busy.

7 thoughts on “Cold Calling – Why I Hate It And Why It’s Ruined My Life”

  1. From your blog, I think you just confirmed that one big mistake people make about telemarketing is the sales bit. Where I work, the people I hear doing the calling don’t really try to sell anything. They just gather info.

    Although, I have to disagree with saying getting things online is ‘better’. You may have had a bad experience with cold calling but you’d be surprised at how paranoid I’ve become when you get viruses/spyware just from accidentally clicking a spammed link on Facebook.

    I’d rather have a call I can politely decline (or immediately report if it starts turning to harassment). At least those calls don’t leave anything nasty that might end up destroying my phone.

  2. I’m working at voice right now… it’s my first week and I hate it so much…Trouble is, I want to hand my notice in right now, but I think I might have to pay for my own training and they’ve not specified the amount…

    It’s helped reading your article, at least I know it’s not just me…and I know I need to leave ASAP!

    1. I’m not surprised you hate it, if you leave, they’ll just not pay you, or they’ll dock you two weeks pay which is what they did to me when I left the second time.

      1. I know its in the past, but was wondering, when you left Voice did you just walk out or hand in your notice? Only asking this as I have recently left Voice and am expecting them to screw me over somehow :/

        Thanks.

  3. Trust me, I can understand where you’re coming from. I’ve worked in sales for nearly 3 years now and one particular job was, on reflection, unbearable. I too was abused by long standing senior employees because I spoke my mind and was more intelligent than them, which scared them. I was victimized daily for 8 months and I became this darker shadow of the person I was. I became consumed by anger and hate. For months my dream was to just end my life so I wouldn’t have to continue the hell, to the point where I even prayed to God before I went to bed that I wouldn’t wake up again the follwing day. I walked out of that job quite simply, because the people I suffered from left first and I swore to myself that they would leave before I gave in to them. Now I am in a much better job with people who treat me like a human being and I can take things at my own pace. I have a really friendly and understanding senior management who is supportive and appreciates who I am and listens to my opinions rather than stepping on them. It’s more relaxed and I don’t want to kill myself all the time.

  4. I do understand where you are coming from. However, some of the cold callers that ring me are downright rude. I would never tell anyone to go and kill themselves and it would take a lot for me to tell someone to f off. However, there have been times when I get calls from the same company over and over again. You politely ask them to remove your name from the list as you are not interested in the product they are offering, they say they will and two days later they ring you back.

    One time a guy rang and I explained to him that I had asked several times for my number to be removed as I worked nights (in a crappy job trying to earn my living) and he has woken me up. His response was “Oh well, what do you want me to do about it?” Yeah, he got told to F off and every other person that rang from that company in the future got told to P off.

    I have heard telesales people joke about how they deliberately annoy people who are rude to them. I assume they don’t realise that they are making a rod for their own back or that of their colleagues.

    Perhaps the understanding needs to go two ways. Telesales staff need to understand that no means no. They need to understand that when you have worked a 12 hour night shift, you are not really appreciative of someone ringing you 3 hours into your sleep to “Offer you a great deal on your energy supply” or whatever it is they are offering.

    As for it “probably being your own fault” That gets me angry. The number of calls my Dad gets because he has innocently filled in a form or given to a charity etc. is unbelievable. He has been ripped off to the tune of a few thousand pounds through telesales people. Mis-selling so that you reach your targets is supposed to be ok? My Dad had worked all his life, is now 75, he gets ripped off by unscrupulous people and it’s his fault?

    Yeah I worked in telesales for a few months too but I quit and took a job cleaning toilets because I refused to pressure people into buying something that they really did not want.

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