Mary’s first job after college – just a temporary gig- was to be a telephone solicitor for a Mortuary and Cemetery.
She thought she was hired because she was smart, attractive and a college graduate. Then she met her fellow telephone solicitors.
The training took 20 minutes. Brunhilde, the trainer, gave everybody a binder, and instructed candidates not to open the binder.
Brunhilde, the sales manager said something about completing a quota of phone calls every 30 minutes. The goal was to reach out and speak to people and tell them about the wonderful mortuary and cemetery deals the company offered. If anyone expressed an interest, the call was directed to her, the Big Guns across the desk. If anyone had a question or “Stop order” (AKA stop calling me) all you would have to do is look at the tabs in the binder, find a similar topic, open and read the comment to the potential customer. There was an answer for each comment or question.
Example: We can’t afford it. Binder: Try The Layaway Plan
Mary lasted three days doing phone calls – fielding questions, complaints, inquiries, hang ups and not making one single sale. A learning disaster.
What she did learn was how to deal with telephone solicitors.
FlashForward and Mary’s effort to cancel her online New York Times subscription.
She went to her online account and clicked “Cancel” which immediately took her to another window – where she was prompted, nay coerced, to call the New York Times or start “A chat.”
There was no way out
She called the 800-number and spoke to Tiffany – as succuinctly as possible she said she wanted to cancel her account.
Tiffany wanted more. She pressed why was Mary canceling. To close the conversation, Mary said she was moving. (Wrong answer, Binkie!)
Tiffany said to hold the line. Mary realized Tiffany was going for the Big Guns – the Brunhilde. Seconds later, a gravelly, female voice greeted Mary and reconfirmed the fact that Mary wanted to cancel her account.
The woman asked her “why” she was canceling. Mary replied it was “personal.” The deep throated woman pressed again, and asked why.
Mary replied, “I do believe I just told you it was personal. I want to cancel my account today.”
Again, the pushy-pushy broad tried. UPS was knocking at the doo, Mary said she had to go.
And, pushy old Big Guns would not give up. She tenaciously growled she had one another question. Big Guns launched into “Do you realize you are giving up the best journalism et cetera et cetera et cetera blah blah blah?”
Mary said, “Yes, please cancel the account.”
“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”
― Maya Angelou