Yesterday, I received a call from a lady called ‘Richa’ (phone number +9111-45092650) who claimed to represent ABM-Amro Bank. She just wanted me to confirm my (non-existent) request for an ABN-Amro Global Master Card. I’m in Airtel’s ‘Do Not Call’ list, and I usually don’t get cold-calls. On inquiring about how they got my number, I was told that they have a database with my name and number on it, and that’s all they know.
I spoke to the ‘Team Leader’ who assured me that he would put me on their ‘Do Not Call’ list, and this was just a mistake. He apologised.
A short while ago, I received a call from a ‘Megha’ (number: +9111-45092639)
offering me (yes, you guessed it!) an ABN-Amro Global Master Card. Why are they bothering me again? Her response: “So what, sir? People get 10 calls in a day. This is just two in two days”
According to yesterdays Financial Express, this and branded tie-ups seem to be means of providing “an instant solution for the present marketing shortfalls.”
Ah, such farsightedness. Think of all that money spent on brand building via TVC’s gone to waste with one stupid call. ABN-Amro did a few things wrong here:
- They coldcalled. By trying to get a few accounts, they probably pissed off a lot of people, and put off future customers.
- They generated bad word-of-mouth. Like, here.
- They coldcalled twice. I’m even more pissed off. More bad word-of-mouth.
This was probably a case of outsourcing sales, and that’s where a risk for any company lies – will the people you hire to contact prospective customers project your company in a manner that you’d like them to? Megha, who called second, was cocky. Is that the way someone would have behaved if I had declined the credit card while at a bank branch? Of course, one has now come to expect telecallers to be dumb and uncouth, but I don’t think it’s excusable.
The risk for the company is greater in services than in products: services are intangible and a bad impression results in uncertainty when one does decide to purchase. One cannot afford pre-purchase dissonance because then, heh, there will be no purchase.
I’m not sure of how successful coldcalling has been in India, but since they’re still at it, I assume it must be working for them.
Just for the record, I’d received another cold-call a couple of weeks ago. How did they get my number? The telecaller explained that he was dialing serial-wise – 98xxxxxxx1, then 98xxxxxxx2 and so on.
I’d also received an automated call from Hutch on my (Airtel) phone, offering me a post-paid connection…which I had spoken to Airtel about earlier in the day, so there’s a leak there somewhere.