I had the experience of being on the other side of political calls recently when I volunteered to make phone calls for Organizing for America. There was no fundraising when I called but simply, calling from a list supplied to me to ask some simple questions and see if the women voters on my list were (1) supporting our current President for the election and (2) if they were, would they be interested in registering voters or volunteering like me? Also, if they were not supporting him, what could I answer for them to help them make up their minds and especially if they were undecided. I had a script, some FAQs, some information, and then the list of phone numbers with some notes to make as I went down the list.
Before this experience, I was the one who would dodge phone calls from numbers I did not recognize, and the person who really got crabby at people calling for research or conducting polls. I would say, “please take me off your list and stop calling.” Now, after being on the other end of those calls – well, not market research but just political calls, I have a whole new view point on how to treat those poor saps on the other end even if they are not from your political party nor support your candidate. I kinda have, what you would call, new rules:
New Rule #1: Answer! There is a reason why they keep calling over and over and over again. Here is how it worked when I did it. I had a list and if no one answered at a particular number, I marked the box that said NOT HOME. That means to the next guy or gal who gets the list, “try and try again til you get them at home.” So, if you are in a position where you can answer, do it. If you keep dodging, they will keep calling.
New Rule #2: Be nice! Don’t hang up the minute they say “hello or Is ___ available?” If you are busy or not able to talk simply state nicely, “I am really not able to talk right now- can you call me later” or … “I appreciate your call but I really do not want to be on this call list – can you put me on the do not call list please?” Trust me, they will. We had a box to check that read “Wants to NOT be called again”. And it is okay to say this but please be nice. Being rude to someone who is a volunteer or just doing their jobs to feed their own families can bring bad karma. Trust me.
New Rule #3: Talk to me! If a live person (rather than a computerized robotic recording) is talking with you, the least you can do is talk with them for a few seconds. They are again, volunteers or in the case of telemarketing, doing their jobs. Listen, respond, and then after the call ends you can ask them to remove you if you don’t want unwanted calls. If it is very late, ask them to not call your house after ___pm or before ___am, trust me, they are writing down what you say! And it will be honored. We had a lot of options of what to write for individuals who responded a certain way.
New Rule #4: Keep it short and polite! If a live person calls you from the political party or candidate you do not support, you can say so but there is no reason to use foul language, attack the poor volunteer on the line or say negative things. While it is fun to talk with people about political issues (for me anyway), this is not someone you know and engaging may not be the way to go. There are ways to discuss issues without being rude, mean or foul just because someone from the opposition party is calling you. Be polite, tell the truth, and tell them why. Then, end it and tell them to please remove your number because you have made your decision. That is it. But, remember the guy or gal who is talking with you is a volunteer or this is their job and they may not like it but they do it anyway because they believe in their side of the issues – you are NOT going to change their minds. They are the volunteer and you’re sitting on your couch.
New Rule #5: Bottom line is do unto others as you’d want done unto you! Imagine yourself on the other end of the line when you answer and before you respond or say anything, think to yourself, what if I were on the other end of the line? How would I want people to treat me and how would I want people to talk with me? If you do this, you will undoubtedly be at least kind and graceful no matter what your substantive answer.
When I made the calls to women voters in my city, it was fun – I was lucky and my experiences were rather positive. Most of the women I got on the line or at home were very kind women who agreed with me and I only got two hang ups – one while I was mid-sentence (karma is a bitch lady) and one before I even said Is ____ available? That is fine but I marked that lady as a NOT HOME which means she will keep getting calls back until she is nice. In any case, I was one of “those” people as my husband reminded me until I experienced the phone calling myself. Now, I need to get a job in a restaurant so I can appreciate when I get bad service and want to tip nothing.
40 more days til E-day. You will get a lot of calls still – be NICE and remember to treat others and talk with them as you would want to be treated. Politics and elections are not going away and they may not change either AND get this: Congress exempted political calls and political robo calls from the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY. Yep- that is right, Congress left it out so their volunteers can call you (ha) so, please be nice because that volunteer could be your neighbor, your daughter or son’s classmate’s mother or father, or someone you would seek business from in the future. And if they are calling you, they know your name. Being nice to someone despite your frustrations with the process itself will get you some great karma. And if you want the process changed or the laws changed, we all know how a Bill becomes a law – YOU!