Apparently all those doom-and-gloom predictions about the state of the telemarketing industry post-National No Call were based on faulty intelligence.
In the months before the national do-not-call list went into effect, Stuart Discount laid off more than 150 of his workers at his telemarketing company. Now, however, the company is back to full strength.
“We’ve done a good job of rehiring,” said Discount, president of Tele-Response Center, which employs more than 500 people at its Philadelphia headquarters and two call centers in West Virginia.
The telemarketing industry appears to have similarly weathered the creation of the list, which more than 63 million Americans have signed up for. A year after it went into effect, fears of massive layoffs and failures among telemarketing companies haven’t been borne out.
Discount said his company has adjusted to the do-not-call list by shifting toward fund-raising for nonprofit groups and business-to-business sales pitches. Tele-Response has found enough new work since its 2003 layoffs that it is back to its former staffing levels, he said.
Imagine that. Changing one’s business model in response to changing market conditions. They should teach that kind of stuff in school.
The exploding of one myth regarding no-call laws hasn’t prevented the creation of new ones, however:
Some companies have fared better than others, said Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., one of eight representatives who voted against the legislation in 2003.
In first opposing the legislation, Terry said, he worried about the big players and massive job cuts, considering that Omaha is home to about 40 telemarketing businesses that employ some 39,000 people. In the months since the legislation, Terry said he has heard from people who worked in smaller businesses who have been laid off because of do-not-call.
Terry said he could not remember a company that has been directly hurt. But the legislation applies even to pizza shops and other neighborhood businesses that may simply want to announce their presence with the help of a few calls, he said.
“What you’re doing is destroying the small-business section of the industry,” he said.
When all else fails, invoke the small businessperson. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be more cost effective (and less likely to piss off potential customers) for a pizza parlor to print out menus and flyers to stick in people’s mailboxes? You can’t put a coupon in a phone call, you know.