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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Advice for market researchers

For reasons I don't understand, although people selling stuff aren't supposed to call you when you've listed your phone under the Telephone Preference Service, people are still allowed to cold-call you if they're doing market research.

You and I both know that some cold-call sellers pretend that they're doing market research, while actually they're trying to see if you're a potential customer.

But that aside.

I don't want people to phone me, unless they've got a really good reason. because I might be eight foot up a tree, with both hands hanging on. Or I might be in the bathroom. Or whatever. And it really annoys me to drop what I'm doing, rush to the phone (it might be a daughter in trouble) only to hear "Have you had an accident recently?"

And it's just as bad to hear "We're doing market research, could you spare a few minutes?"
"Something off" is one possibility, with "something" replaced by your favourite obscenity. But that isn't going to deter them.

So here's what I do. First, I do their survey. But I give them answers that are as wrong as I can make them. The object here, is to invalidate their research. After the caller is done, I ask to talk to their supervisor. When I get the supervisor, I ask to talk to their manager. When I get their manager, I ask to talk to their director. I get as far up their management hierarchy as I can, and when I've reached as high as I can get, I explain. Here's what I tell them.

I'm on the Telephone Preference List. Yes, I know that you're still allowed to call me, but you're not actually compelled to call me, and there's a good reason why you wouldn't want to call me.

And I explain what I just did. And I explain that, now they have to decide whether to keep the data they just got from me, or discard it. But worse, I'm not the only TPS-listed person doing this, and it's only occasionally that we take the trouble to explani to the market researchers that we've done this. We're sabotaging your market research. Because we've expressed a preference not to be cold-called, and guess what you just did?

So, you see, it would be in your best interest to exclude people on the TPS list from your surveys, because that's the only way you can avoid your surveys from being ruined by our sabotage. And you do want that, don't you? Because your reputation rests on providing accurate data to your customers.

The last people I explained this to was Taylor Nelson Surveys. The manager I spoke to sounded shocked that anyone would feel that way. I guess she's never been cold-called.


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