There is a huge difference between telemarketers and market researchers. I have worked as a telephone interviewer conducting market research studies for the last eight years at a small company in central North Carolina. Every night I make anywhere from 50 to 200 calls to people to ask their opinions on a variety of topics ranging from how well their stove works to what kind of fruit drink they would prefer in the morning. There are actually good reasons for these studies. I ask people, ‘Haven’t you ever gone into a store and not found what you wanted because it just wasn’t there? Have you ever wished you could tell the manufacturer that you wanted it to be there? If they don’t know what you want, it’s quite likely you won’t find it. This is your opportunity to let a company know just what it is you want them to sell and how you want them to sell it.’ Manufacturers pay companies like mine a great deal for consumer information. It’s rare, but some studies will actually pay you compensation for a complete survey, usually anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on the study, or enter you into a drawing for cash or a prize (and the drawing is only among the people who actually complete the study which is usually a small number) but they have to get through the introduction before they mention the money. Unfortunately, the money doesn’t trickle down to the interviewers who (here, anyway) make two to three dollars over minimum wage.
As you might expect, I experience a lot of hang-ups. People assume I’m a telemarketer and slam the phone down, frequently with some quite specific suggestions I won’t go into. What they don’t realize is there ARE certain ways you CAN get a market researcher to stop calling you but hanging up isn’t one of them. Here’s how you do it:
First; these principles apply to market researchers, not telemarketers. A good market researcher will tell you right off the bat that they are conducting research and that they will not ask you for money. If they don’t, you can interrupt and ask. Unlike telemarketers, market researchers are not prohibited by the National Do Not Call Registry, (http://www.ftc.gov/donotcall) , the national database of numbers whose owners have registered with the service and are protected from being called by telemarketers. As described on the site, the NDNCR includes several exceptions, one of which is market research (as well as general consumer research, fund raising for police, firemen, etc. and election polling). Again, the reason is market researchers NEVER ask you for money, only opinions, so they ARE permitted to call you. HOWEVER, a legitimate market researcher, which you can prove by asking for their phone number, which they will always give, will not call you back if you ask them not to. Note, that is if you ask (or tell) them not to, not if you just hang up. Telemarketers, not market researchers, can be reported to the National Do Not Call registry website (http://www.ftc.gov/donotcall ).
This is how the rules appear on the website: ( https://telemarketing.donotcall.gov/faq/faqbusiness.aspx#who )
The National Do Not Call Registry applies to any plan, program, or campaign to sell goods or services through interstate phone calls. This includes telemarketers who solicit consumers, often on behalf of third party sellers. It also includes sellers who provide, offer to provide, or arrange to provide goods or services to consumers in exchange for payment.
The National Do Not Call Registry does not limit calls by political organizations, charities, or telephone surveyors (which includes market researchers).
For dealing with actual telemarketers, there are also more immediate methods described in detail at the following locations:
More articles are available through Yahoo Associated Content:
WHY YOU GET CALLED BACK
Hanging up on someone without answering is not a refusal. No one has said not to call back. We don’t know if we even had the right person or if that person was even an adult who can request not to be called back. Also, hangups are always called back just to discourage the practice.
Saying ‘I’m not interested,’ is not a refusal. You will always be called back. The official rationale is, ‘if they’re not interested now, maybe they’d be more interested some other time, when they’re not so busy,’ but the truth is, no-one cares whether you’re interested or not. Your interest, or or lack of it, won’t affect the survey outcome. You can be completely unable to care less and still answer questions. No-one has told us not to call back.
Another frequent evasion is ‘I don’t have time,’ ‘I’m too busy,’ ‘I just don’t have the time right now,’ or ‘I’m just stepping out the door.’ That’s fine, we’ll be happy to call you again when you have more time. It’s not a refusal. No-one has said ‘Don’t call back.’ Now, I know what you meant was, ‘don’t call me back,’ but you never said it and I can’t kick a number out of the often limited sample because of something I suspected you might mean. I can get fired for that. (Besides, people are often telling the truth when they say they’re too busy and are quite often willing to take the survey another time, like a weekend.) Unless you specifically say words to the effect of ‘Don’t call me again, (or) don’t call this number again,’ etc. you will almost certainly get called back. We often call back up to 20 times, if we don’t get a specific instruction not to. ‘Take my name off the list,’ also works usually, if there is an actual list. Most times there aren’t, the numbers are just being randomly generated for the study, although my company treats that request as a general ‘don’t call back.’ You should actually say ‘Take my name off all your calling lists and do not call this number again.’
Many people assume we choose to call them, not realizing we don’t. For most surveys, the dialing is done by a dialing machine, not the interviewer. We only start talking when the dialer connect us to someone. We never know or have any control over what number is going to come up.
People are also annoyed because they get one or more long blank messages on their answering machine. This is because for most studies, the area code for the sector we’re studying is put into the dialer, then the machine dials every number combination it can come up with. Many of the numbers are non-functional so nothing happens until someone actually picks up and answers a phone, then they are connected to the interviewer. This may take two or three seconds, sometimes longer. If an answering machine responds, then the interviewer will always hang up when they hear the message. BUT, if the message is so short that it’s over before the interviewer picks up the phone, then we hear nothing and have to wait for a beep to know what we’re talking to before we can hang up. When I got a new machine a few years ago, I left a very brief message, ‘This is George, please leave a message,’ (never leave your last name), and I started getting a lot of blank messages, two or three a day. So after I figured it out, I changed to a longer message, ‘You’ve reached George at xxx-xxx-xxxx, I’m not home now, please leave a message,’ and I haven’t gotten a blank message since. Lengthening your answering machine message should stop these calls from happening. Many of the standard answering machine messages are too short. One examples is ”We are not at home now, please leave a message.’ I only hear “…a message.”(BEEP), and because I have to go through two screens to cut the call, I end up leaving a blank message on their machine. Anything shorter and I don’t hear anything at all. When you get a message where you hear people in the background but no one speaks to you, that’s what’s going on.
One final reason not to hang up before the person has finished reading their introduction which is usually less than 30 seconds long, is that the industry assumes that if you haven’t heard the whole intro then you didn’t hear the reason for the study or the compensation being offered and don’t know fully what we’re either asking or offering. As I mentioned, whenever studies pay money, it’s usually the last thing mentioned. Even if you refuse and then hang up while the interviewer is still talking, there may have been more to our request than you heard, which may change your mind, so we will again usually call back until you’ve heard it all. In that situation, your attitude counts for a lot. We’re only human and when someone is nice and they’ve heard most of the message before saying ‘no’ and hanging up, most of us will give them a break and put them down as a refusal, not to be called back. BUT, if someone is particularly rude, it doesn’t encourage us to be nice in return and we will call back if they didn’t hear the entire message. Politeness really helps. Try to remember you’re talking to another human being who’s just trying to do his or her job.
WAYS TO AVOID BEING CALLED BACK
As mentioned above, a genuine researcher will not call you back if you ask them not to, although we do have a ‘refused’ file of numbers for each study of people who quit before reaching the end, or hung up unexpectedly in the middle of the survey, etc. These are numbers we generally don’t call back, because most of them are a waste of time, but in certain circumstances, for example when a certain number of responses are needed to make the study statistically valid, we may, as a last resort, call those numbers back to see if we can persuade them to finish. Usually I get two or three completes out of a list of up to a couple of hundred numbers, sometimes more, depending on how long or annoying the questionnaire is, or how far into it they were before they quit.
There are, however, specific strategies you can employ to disqualify your number from the survey, so that you are automatically removed from the number pool and cannot be re-called. For practically every study, there are some requirements a respondent must meet in order to qualify as an appropriate subject. These include, depending on the study: Age (nearly always), sex (sometimes), employment (to avoid conflicts of interest) (usually), location, etc. One of the easiest ways not to get called back is to not meet one or more of these requirements. If they ask, ‘Do you, or anyone else in your household, work for any of the following… just say ‘Yes!’ Pick one off the list first because the next question will be, ‘Which one?” If you don’t have one ready, a savvy interviewer might press you to the point of saying ‘I’m not sure,’ and they might say, ‘In that case, it shouldn’t affect the survey,’ and continue. So remember one of the things they ask if you work for, then say that you do work for them. They will never call you again, it’s just not worth the time.
Also, you will usually be asked into which age group you fall into, under 18, 18-29, 30-39, and so forth. If the last group is 65 and over, in most but not all cases, if you say that group, you will be disqualified. Some exceptions are retirement insurance/retirement planning and some medical studies. Almost without exception, if you say you’re under 18, you won’t qualify, but you will then be asked if there’s anyone in the household, then or later, 18 or over. If you say ‘yes,’ they will call back to reach that person. The correct answer is ‘No, I am an emancipated minor, age 17, and there is no-one living in the house that is 18 or or over.’ There is no category for emancipated minors so you will never be called back.
Sometimes the surveys ask for a specific name. These calls are not random or they wouldn’t have the name, which usually given to us by the manufacturer, dealer, etc. At some point in time, you bought something or signed your name to something like a maintenance plan, and you went into the company’s database. Companies sometimes sell these names to other groups. Sometimes these studies are name-specific, that is to say that name is the only person we can talk to (if they’re not there, we will call back another time to reach them). Often they’re not and we can talk to any adult in the household, no matter who we asked for. The best thing to say first is, ‘That person is deceased.’ If it’s truly name-specific, that will be all you need to say. If it’s not and they then ask if they can speak to you or someone else, then you can say ‘I live alone’ or follow one of the first two strategies (get disqualified by age or occupation), or simply say, “No-one in this house will talk with you, I have your number, please do not call this number again. ‘ Remember you must say the final phrase. I’m not supposed to do this, but I sympathize with people who’ve been called back many times because they keep saying they’re not interested or too busy, and occasionally, if they let me, I’ll tell them what to say. I’m often thanked for this but amazingly, sometimes people still won’t listen A few years ago I called a woman who complained about having been called back when she kept telling us she wasn’t interested, so I told her, “Ma’am, you need to actually tell us not to call back.’ She said, ‘But I have, I keep telling you I’m not interested.’ So I replied, “Yes ma’am, but that’s not a refusal, you need to say the words. She again said, “You gotta be kidding,” and I said “You need to articulate the words: ‘Don’t call back.”‘ She said, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me, I have to actually say it?’ I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I need to hear the words.’ She said again, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding.’ and hung up. I had to put her number back in the call back list, because she had never told me not to, and I can’t act on what I think she may have meant. You must say the words; ‘Don’t call this number again.’ (Or words specifically to that effect)
Another common response is “I know you’re going to try and sell me something!” Even when I promise them I’m not selling anything and sometimes tell them they can sue me and my company if I’m lying, people still won’t believe me and usually they hang up. Which means their number goes back into the pool of numbers to be called again. Telemarketers always try to sell you something. Market researchers will never try to sell you anything.
I know this is a drag and you just want to get off the phone as quickly as possible and yes, you will have to remain on the line long enough to hear how to get out of the study, but isn’t it worth 30 seconds or less for peace and quiet from then on? Remember:: Hangups always get called back!
Thank you and Have A Nice Day.