Monday, May 29, 2006

Telemarketing Vignettes.

I have been doing telemarketing for my company for exactly a week now. And it has been a fun experience so far. My previous post gave an idea of what I am supposed to do. Getting down to how I am actually doing it…
So I call up the companies, get to an operator or receptionist usually, and say my name and company name as sweetly as possible trying to get to the contact person mentioned in the database. I have been quite lucky till now (except for the first day…) and have mostly managed to get to the bosses.
But leads… hmmm… not really got many. I have called over 100 companies and managed, say, around 15-20 solid leads. That is almost 11-12%. Strictly OK for a beginner.
But there have been INCIDENTS. Some of them really left me laughing. Let me share some here.
The funniest to me was my call to ‘Steel Works Metal Works’ as was given in the database. I called and got through to the Director, only to find that it was not a manufacturing company, but a MAGAZINE. And know the funny part? The director started pestering me to put an advertisement for our company in the mag, saying that it has good circulation. He took down my number, name and company details and told to request my manager to consider putting an ad. A classic case of how the hunter became the hunted. The very thing I was doing since last Monday got applied to me…
I was mainly calling in the Pune territory, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Nasik and Sholapur. This is Marathi heartland. I understand Marathi (I was born in Mumbai… :)) but definitely cant converse in it. It was quite an experience to hear these people replying to me as ‘ho’ (instead of haan) and reciting contact phone numbers in Hindi.
Consider this call. The person at the other end was giving me a mob number to contact the boss. The number –30508500. the way he told me: -- ‘tees pachaas aath PANDAV(!!) jeero jeero’. Got it?!! Well… so Pandav is 5 and Ravan is 10 and Kaurav is 100… good use of mythology!
Then there were the taxing ones. I am not given any deep details of the product of my company. So when this person asked me the pricing, I was quite clueless. I told him that I will ask my marketing manager to get back to him. His response? ‘Why? Are YOU not in the marketing department?’ ha!! I told him that yes I am, but my ‘area of work ;-)’ is only leads generation. His next few questions were purely technical about softwares and customization. Whew!! Felt like engineering final viva that one!!
But then again, there were the others who were extremely polite and gave all the required details without many questions. It is very refreshing to see people in high posts so considerate.
I will be leaving Bangalore for Ernakulam on 3rd June. Till 2nd, this telemarketing will continue. I hope the next 4 days are as fun and satisfying like the last week…


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

One More...

This is another in the series of my posts on my current project work. Ok, so my guide was out of town the first 2 weeks I was here. Then? Couldn't they have told me to come later? At least I would've gone home and met my family... lots of time and money wasted. Now, when most of my classmates are almost through with their project, I am starting out... the work... is ok. I have to call up all these companies and talk to them, trying to get leads for my company. As my guide puts it, I am like a real telemarketing executive. I also have a target of 20 leads per day, but that has not been enforced yet as I am just a trainee and also just starting out.
I am worried that my college my specify impossible things like questionnaire ( I dont need one but my college is insisting), 20% strike rate ( again, rather difficult as most are either not willing to talk, wrong numbers or not needing CAD). My college project guide has switched off her mobile, putting in me in greater trouble as I am moving forward without her confirmation...
The first day was average. Initially I was quite clueless and bungled the first 2 calls. But then I improved, and am better today.
But now, I have to call companies like Tata Motors, Audi, Crompton Greaves, Kirloskar, etc. I am tensed. I mean, these are big firms!! Currently, there is a meeting going on, hence I have got a chance to blog. Probably after lunch, I will get down to work again.
My aloo paratha has come... and 2 gulab jamuns also... c ya soon!!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Airtel Woes...

Utkarsh's post on his airtel connection gave me an idea for this post. Airtel was too good in Kerala until recently. The airtel friendz scheme which I opted for was having very good features including national sms at 15p and 11pm to 7 am half rates on local calls. There was also an endless amount of free sms available for people like me who msg 24*7.
But nowadays the things are changing. The e recharge schemes which used to give cool offers like free A2A calls and free sms have become a rarity. The worst part is, you have to recharge in such a way that your new scheme should add up to your existing balance of free calls and msgs. But my luck turned very bad this time. Not a single scheme came around my recharge time. And now I am left free absolutely no free calls and msgs since I couldnt recharge on time. I have only incoming msgs enabled now and, as utkarsh said, lots of worthless msgs are coming in.
Win a Mahindra Scorpio, download ringtone for free (of course, call charges are Rs. 6 per min!!) and such others.
Also, due to new service tax, the talk time per recharge is very low now. It is disappointing to say the least. My friends who took an airtel connection in the lure of A2As and free msgs are a dissatisfied lot.
I am on roaming now so it is ok I have no freebies. But when I return to college each of my msgs will get charged (I send lots in a single evening!). Means I will recharge soon. Is that the idea?
Morst of the providers are doing really well in Kerala. Logically, it should mean that the leader, Airtel, comes out with better schemes to keep its customer base intact. But the opposite is being seen.
I wonder whether airtel will understand the customer requirements and come up with better ideas soon...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Gimme Some Work....

5 days into my project and i am utterly and totally bored. someone please give me some work!! i dont know why my projects always go like this. (remember my first post.........). problem is that this company doesnt usually entertain student projects. i got the project here only due to an acquaintance working here. and so, they have no clue what to give me to do.....
of course, i have the topics but no one to report to. it is irritating to say the least... today since morning i have been playing harry potter quizzes online. i would've taken leave and gone shopping on commercial street (walking distance from here i think.......) instead!!
I am becoming extremely irritable nowadays and find myself snapping at all my classmates with me in hostel now. yesterday 2 of them came to say hi to me as i dont see them at all nowadays. i leave at 7:30 and come back at 7:30. and then i just go to sleep after watching news. waste of stay in bangalore.
what to do... the experience, as i said in my previous post is fine. but what about the work i have really come here to do....?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thats the way...............

January has given way to May.... and i am blogging after a long long time. life has been hectic. 1st semester exams got over, 2nd semester started, reached half way through and now i am in Bangalore, doing project work. this project is from may 8th to june 2nd, and i hope everyting goes fine as this is my first solo project (engg. projects were always group works).
but more than the project, it is the life that is more interesting. the freedom, the responsibility, the sense of being in an office, everything is really new. today is my 4th day in bangalore and my 3rd working day. i am doing a data mining exercise for my company and will do a a spot of telemarketing for them in the next week.
as i can speak the usual sentences in kannada well, it is easy to manage in hotels or with rickshaw drivers. but in bus stops, everything is an utter mess. you need to know bus numbers, and since i do not know to read kannada, it is a must. the people standing aroung in the bus stops rarely take pity on me ( a poor thing from a village in kerala, new to the city!!) and so i basically am on my own.
i am somewhat familiar with the bus numbers now and the stops and directions. my company people are extremely friendly. everyone from my guides to the programmers in the company treat me too well. though a trainee, i am getting the feeling of being an employee and a colleague to the others. and the ambience is an entirely new experience. being with young people just in the world of office and computers, interacting witht them, seeing how business gets done, it is really giving me a lot.
yesterday i got a bad scare. it suddenly began raining pretty heavily. i hadnt carried my umbrella, and so had to walk in the pouring rain. i had missed the bus i had taken on monday, so i got worried thinking when would be the next bus. after being home by 6:30 ususally, waiting in the pouring rain at 6 in the bus stop was really frightening. thankfully i made it ok as i got a bus and reached hostel by 7:30. but i was drenched and shivering and could only manage to change and go to bed......... heck! i havent called my project guide yet...
the data mining is rather monotonous, but ok, something... telemarketing should be more interesting. keeping account daily, managing by yourself all alone, yes, nothing compares to the learning that these 3 weeks will give me!!