Daze of My Life: Now everybody knows
Daze of My Life
Now everybody knows
Though I wish, in my wildest dreams, that I was making my living as a syndicated columnist, I am not. I am making my living, my day job as it were, selling display advertising. As such, I spend most of my days and occasionally late afternoons/early evenings and weekends, calling clients--and prospects--on the phone. As much as I possibly can, I am polite, respectful and apologetic, especially for intruding on their time or mispronouncing their name.
When an initial contact is made, with an actual person, never ever do I call that person by his or her first name. Only after a reasonable interval of time has passed or until our relationship is more established would I think it appropriate to address any individual who I don't know so personally: (A) I feel it's rude and (B) I haven't earned the right. And now the point of this column: I only wish telemarketers, be they for profit of not for profit, were so inclined or should I presume, so trained.
Now I don't profess to have a corner on the market, so to speak, but I have made a few phone calls in my nine-plus years at the Connection. Moreover, as a fairly responsible, credit-worthy, homeowner, I have likewise received a few phone calls at home, not all during dinner or early morning on the weekends, which is another problem--timing, but not what has precipitated this rant. No, what has precipitated this rant is courtesy, or should I say, the lack thereof.
Since when does anybody think, that when an initial contact is made over the phone, addressing the person you just met by his or her given name is proper? You may have been given your name, but the person you just met sure hasn't. More likely, he's been given both your first and last name but chose, for reasons known only to him and his supervisor, to call you by your first name. Though you have never met, never had any correspondence, nor ever received a referral from a friend or family member, this telemarketer has presumed, if I can generalize, a familiarity, which absolutely does not exist.
When I hear my first name so spoken by someone I have never met (or worse, hear my last name mangled by some telemarketer from overseas, with few apologies, I may add), I am immediately put off and put on the defensive by their poor judgment and bad manners, and their less than average language skills. And in turn, I become fairly intolerant and impatient with anything else they have to say. How's that for a successful sales call? Rather than creating an opportunity where favorable circumstances might exist, calling me by my first name has had the exact opposite effect. Was that the intended result? This faux friendliness by the caller doesn't create anything except animosity and contempt.
I don't want to talk to anybody I don't know who doesn't know that addressing someone they don't know by their first name is a no no. It's not asking much, but it's what I'm asking; in fact, it's what I'm telling those of you who call people like me for a living. If you don't know me, don't act like you do or you never will and my answer to your to your question will always be, "No!"
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.