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Automated Calls � No Wonder People Want to Escape
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Automated Calls � No Wonder People Want to Escape

July 31, 2008
By Eve Sullivan
TMCnet Editor

They call about refinancing your home, upgrading your cable services, opening a new bank account and that always pesky car warranty.
In today’s world, when the average consumer is exposed to about 3,000 ads daily, it’s no wonder they want to escape being targeted in their own home. The public has been venting their frustration about automated calls for some time, yet many claim the calls are an expression of free speech and a bona fide form of communication.

Some, such as Chris Kolker, founder of GOP Calls and a veteran of the call industry, claim that although customers complain about automated calls, they reject other forms of customer contact.
“There’s a lot of negative hype surrounding automated calls, but the other side of the story is often neglected,” Kolker said. “People get frustrated with automated calls, but also dislike bombardment of direct mail, TV commercials and radio ads.”
There are many benefits to using automated calls vs. other media outlets, including quick turnaround, micro-targeting, interactive communication, and a captive audience. Cost is a major factor that encourages “robo” call use.
It costs about 88 percent less to call 15,000 voters using GOP Calls’ services, than to send 15,000 direct mail pieces. Impression rate is another factor supporting automated calls. GOP Calls typically reaches 85 percent of consumers, whereas most direct mail vendors experience a 66 percent impression rate.
There are legitimate and even urgent causes demanding this form of media. But while there may be justified reasons to use automated calls, there are organizations that abuse this media form, such as a “push-poll,” used to influence a voter’s views under the pretense of a legitimate poll.
“Consumers are protected from most automated phone solicitation through the national
do-not-call registry,” Kolker says. Exempt organizations include those involved in political, charitable, and survey work. For about $25 yearly, consumers can further filter calls through Privacy Manager which requires “unknown” callers to identify themselves.
Eve Sullivan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Eve’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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