Marketing consumer products over the phone is called telemarketing. A recent study indicated that products and services sold via telemarketing amount to hundreds of billions of dollar each year. Political bodies, charity organizations, and various other organizations to raise funds and invite donations also use telemarketing. Public opinion polls are also conducted with the help of telemarketing.
Telemarketing involves the use of persons trained in conversational skills and automatic dialer software and equipments. Telephonic surveys usually make use of a script that derives only a small range of responses. A telemarketing firm maintains a list of prospective customers. The list is prepared based on information such as the customer’s past purchasing trends and credit limits. The telephone numbers are collected from various sources such entries made into competition or application forms and previous requests made for certain information. Phone numbers are generally taken from other companies, telephone directories, or any other public lists.
Telemarketing has developed a certain degree of antipathy among the masses. People are often telephoned at the wrong time and place. Telemarketing companies have been criticized for making unsolicited calls and using high-pressure sales techniques. This has led to the implementation of strict regulatory and legislative controls. The Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and various other state agencies control telemarketing. The U. S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 also puts restrictions on it. The Direct Marketing Association and a number of state agencies maintain do-not-call lists to save people from unwanted telemarketing calls. Persons who do not wish to receive calls from marketing firms can enlist themselves in those do-not-call lists. Marketing companies that do not honor do-not-call lists invite heavy penalties. The U. S. Federal Trade Commission has published a national do-not-call list, in spite of protests from marketing firms.
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