Does cold calling still work?

Are we all now immune to the cold call? It’s been a phenomena for much of our lives, and as the younger generation grows up with more and more of these irritations, it seems that they will tolerate less and hang up sooner. People appear to be less likely to fall for scams, or accept unsolicited legitimate business over the phone, even if they do need new windows or insurance – and yet the cold calls continue.

Manners maketh man

Modern etiquette has changed radically in our lifetimes. Society has changed very fast, but technology has changed much faster, and it seems that society hasn’t yet decided on rules for dealing with this nuisance. Concerned businesses are producing codes of conduct and etiquette guidelines for making cold calls. The forms for effectively and politely dealing with them on the receiving end are yet to be agreed on, however, with rudeness commonly celebrated online, and methods from simply hanging up to letting a small child waste the caller’s time advocated.

Real or not Real?

Perhaps it is more helpful to distinguish between spam calls and those that, while unasked for, are possibly of use to some and can therefore be classed as legitimate cold calls. Market research, for instance, is a vital part of the economy, and is actually excluded from TPS rules because of the important work it does. It’s still a pain if you don’t have time or energy to deal with it, but it’s worth having a chat to the person on the line, who can to some extent go ‘off script’. If you let legitimate market research centres know you can’t take these calls they will add you to a ‘do not call’ list, although sometimes the calls are interesting and a good chance to get opinions off your chest.

Not At Home to Cold Callers

More and more of us are simply finding ways to avoid cold calls, preferring not to have our days interrupted. The popularity of the Telephone Preference Service demonstrates to this, and call blockers are becoming more and more popular as call centres ignore the TPS or unscrupulous operators move outside of the UK to avoid legalities. Newer ways of blocking calls, such as community blocking have sprung up, with groups such as helping people to work together to block nuisance calls, rather than each household having to block each number.

In the end it must be concluded that cold calls must work to some extent since so many organisations use them so aggressively. In much the same way that the ‘Spanish prisoner scam’ worked 500 years ago, it only takes a few people to accept a call, go through the script and part with their money in order for it to be worth the time and money of the business (or scammers) behind the calls. As calls become more invasive and personalised it looks as if we’ll have to keep upping our own game, working together to eradicate spam calls while allowing legitimate ones through.


Image attributed to:


You must be logged in to post a comment