Have you heard the good news about telemarketing? | DMA

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Have you heard the good news about telemarketing?

Probably not. That’s because the media tends to focus on the few rogue companies that operate outside the law or not within best practice (bad news travels fast).

So, are there any positive stories about telemarketing and contact centres? Yes. Definitely.

1. An economic powerhouse

Contact Babel’s research shows that one million people are employed in contact centres – that’s 3.5% of the entire UK workforce. Some of these firms are in ex-mining towns, where unemployment was high and contact centres and have completely rejuvenated the community.

Because part-time hours are especially feasible in telemarketing, there are many families that benefit from a second income.

2. We all do it

The figure of one million people in contact centres may not include the many thousands (possibly millions) of people that are employed ‘in-house’. Internal sales teams or customer service departments all add to the total figure, but are difficult to account for.

Is it unrealistic to suggest that people employed full-time on the telephone could hit two million? Moreover, at some point this week you may try to persuade someone whilst using a telephone - that’s also telemarketing.

3. A valuable skill

Learning how to be persuasive, engaging and build rapport on the telephone is a valuable life skill. It can only be mastered through practical experience and training.

The telemarketing industry freely gives that experience and training (with dedicated NVQs), and it’s a skill people use in other parts of their career. Plus, as contact centres evolve into multi-channel hubs, the industry is adding digital skills to its training portfolio.

4. Telemarketing cares

As reported by the Daily Mirror, Mrs Robbins, 84, answered the phone to Simon Shepherd. He wanted to talk to her about solar panels. She seemed breathless. In fact, she was having a stroke. Simon dialled 999 and saved her life.

Yes, these are exceptional circumstances, but it underlines the value of human interaction. The DMA Contact Centre & Telemarketing Council recognised this unique relationship and launched a care for the vulnerable initiative – the first of its kind in marketing.

5. A growth industry

Figures released in November 2012 show that while the number of enterprises in the UK has stagnated in the last four years, the number of contact centres with SIC Code 82.2 has increased 11.35%*.

The Annual Business Survey also shows that contact centres are healthy. Their turnover has increased 11.58%, compared to an enterprise average of only 4.85%.

There are many calls that people welcome (energy companies offering the best tariff for existing customers, mobile phone firms offering free upgrades, etc.). Telemarketing is an industry that is meeting challenges head on, showing tremendous growth and taking the initiative on customer care. It’s an industry that can be proud.

*Source: Annual Business Survey 2011, Office for National Statistics

By DMA guest blogger Sureya Landini, Vice-Chair of the Contact Centres & Telemarketing Council

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