Telephone surveyors - how to get rid of them effectively and quickly

If you are like me and you cannot stand the rudeness of someone attempting to survey you over the phone, read on. I have found a - so far - foolproof way of seeing them off.

It is no use saying "I'm busy now" as the immediate response is "When would be a convenient time?"

I liked the Jerry Seinfeld technique: "How about you give me YOUR home number and let me know when you will be having dinner, and I'll call you then to discuss it, OK?"

What works every time because it gives them absolutely nowhere to go is a firm "I'm sorry, we don't do surveys". The "we" is essential, not "I". Shut all the doors so absolutely none of their scripted rebuttals work. It is polite, simple and rock solid.

And if for some reason they persist, hang up. You have no obligation to be polite to someone who is being paid to abuse the purpose of the telephone for their own financial gain.


Insider Info

I work as a "Market Researcher" as they call surveyors. I sympathise with the person on the other line not wanting to take the call. I would be in the same boat if I were on the other line.

The ONLY reason I do this is so I can pay rent.

Most telephony marketing laws only ban telemarketers. Companies wanting to perform surveys for companies performance, market research, or polls, are exempt from this law.

However most companies worth their snuff have an internal do not call list. Be polite. Say something along the lines of "I apologise, I don't wish to continue, but could you please put me on your internal do not call list?" The surveyor will gladly oblige, in fact most want you to be on this list. The thing is, they can only put people on if people demand to be on it.

Don't be rude for whatever reason. I personally will not put a rude person on the do not call list even if they demand it, if they manage to be polite to me and my struggling co-workers, they deserve to be bothered again. Just say you don't want to be called again, and that's that. Don't curse. Don't yell.

Many of the surveys done are from companies you already do business with. A company that I work with a lot will sometimes call customers who have been rude to a surveyor, if they continue their rude behaviour, they may even SEVER their ties with the customer.

These people on the line are often struggling to pay rent, and are often nice people just looking to scratch a living. They hate the industry as much as you do, and if by making them quit their job by contributing to their daily abuse makes you feel like you put a dent in the market research industry, you haven't done a thing. There'll be somebody to replace him/her in a day whose just as poor, calling you back. If you really hate surveyors, call your senator to get market research call legislation. Not much more effective, but it's more productive than telling a surveyor to piss off, which just gives some kid a bad day.

Alternatively, if you want to don't mind participating in the survey, you'd be helping a worker meet his/her quota which is often pushed down his/her throat. Certainly surveyors don't expect you to do their survey, but if you're a really good sameritan, it might make someone's day a little bit better.

telephone surveyors

Telephone surveyors have a job just like anyone else. What many people don't realize is that the questionnaires are to be read 'verbatim' which means they have to be said 'exactly' the way they're written even if they seem long and drawn out. For whatever reason, they are not even allowed to advise the person they are surveying that they can refuse to answer any questions that they feel uncomfortable with. They can, of course, but we're not allowed to tell them that. Even their introduction is scripted.

Most telephone surveyors would probably rather be doing anything other than telephone surveys but it keeps them working and, if they're honorable, that's better than being on welfare. Most people who give surveyors a hard time don't know that they wish that these folks would just say they don't want it - refuse firmly. It's extremely hard on us when a call comes up and we see that we were the ones who called and this person had seemed reluctant the first time. We can tell if someone really doesn't want to do the survey but makes an appointment just to get rid of us. Since all calls are recorded, our bosses can review them and if we tag them off (code the end result) wrong or skip a call because we realized the person didn't really want to participate, we can be terminated immediately. Letting the answering machine screen the calls doesn't help because we HAVE to code them as answering machines and their 'system' puts them back into the call gueue. Just pick up the phone, politely tell the person to take you off their list or tell them that you do not want to participate. We won't call again. Again, this is not the choice of the surveyor but the rules of the companies.

I commend you on your use of politeness to say 'no' to a survey. It is your right to refuse. And although you're not told that, it's your right, if you choose to do the survey, not to answer ANY question that you may feel uncomfortable with. Again, we wish all respondents would take this approach.

I wonder if maybe people could look at telephone surveyors as people who aren't on the dole, taking their hard-earned tax dollars and perhaps, if not participate in the surveys, at least make our lives a little easier by firmly stating that they do not wish to participate. And again, if they do, honestly answering the questions they do want to answer and honestly refusing to answer the ones that they don't.

On the plus side for surveys, I personally, even before I became a surveyor, would always take them because it's one way to get your opinion out there. I refused to answer questions about which political party I would vote for (the secret ballot is secret for a reason) and also about financial affairs. I never had a hard time from any surveyor about refusing to answer these questions. If you do, then you do have a rogue on your hands. I think an understanding of where surveyors are coming from will make the whole thing easier for all concerned.

But wait theres more

I would get many calls trying to sell me cellphone services etc. At first I got angry and then I realized what a wonderful opportunity to have fun.
I would respond by telling the folks that I get free phone service through my boss, who in turn gets if free from %Insert_local_telco%. Its was funny listening to all the reasons why 20 % off was better than free. Or some family plan was better. I na twisted way I miss them.. I guess the FCC manaes to get one thing right : The do not call directory.

Mind you head hunters who need remedial English reading skills still get through now and then. 3 or 4 repetitions of the job description must help their TOEFL reading skills a tad