Today I got a call from Dell.  Or a call from a minion laboring away in a call pit, hired by Dell.  I am not happy about my call from Dell. I bought a new laptop from Dell approximately 18 months ago. I’m using my laptop and trying to get my work done.  My laptop works fine, it is long-since paid for, and therefore, for the moment, I have no desire to talk to Dell.

The call came in as unidentified, and normally, because of that, I simply wouldn’t answer it.  It’s my policy to let anonymous calls go. But it was the 5th such call in 5 days from the same number, and I’m sick of listening to the phone ring day after day after day, so I picked it up.

“Hello?” I said.

“Hello!” piped a somewhat hoarse and suspiciously too-cheerful voice.

“Who is this?” I asked.

“Hello hello!” chirped the cheerful and no doubt woefully underpaid representative.

“Who is this?” I repeated.

“A happy new year to you, Mrs. Baker!”

“Who’s calling?”

“Mrs. Baker,” (annoying repetition of my name – NO – this does not make you seem friendly and familiar to me!!) “you bought a laptop from us?”

“Who.  Is.  This.”

“Mrs. Baker,” (really? a third repetition of my name?) “This is Dell! You bought a computer from us?!”

“Yes I did, and I don’t want anything else now,” I said, and I hung up.

I already weathered an onslaught of unwanted calls, emails, and paper mails from Dell when I first bought their machine: “How is your laptop working? Was your customer service satisfactory? Would you recommend Dell to a friend? Do you want an external hard drive, training sessions, carry case, wireless mouse?”

Since when did some marketing pinhead decide that it was a great idea to make unsolicited calls to purchasers of products to ask “Howdja like our product that you bought? Tell us why you like it? Do you want to buy another? Or some peripherals? Or an extended-extended warranty? Or anything – something – please- anything? C’mon, order something else and send us more money!”

How could this possibly be thought a good exercise of the “Twelve Touches to make a sale” rule? I don’t want your twelve touches, especially after I’ve purchased from you!  What I want is to do my work during my work hours, talk with my husband at the end of the day without interruption, eat my dinner when it’s hot, and receive surprise calls only from friends and loved ones (and of course anyone telling me I’ve won a million dollars).

“Bing” delivers his (her?) eloquent response to this aggravating practice in Toyota, I Love You. Goodbye – CNN Money.  Give it a read.  It’s hilarious, and oh so true.

Moral of the story – when marketing gurus offer advice, think of it as a basic recipe that needs seasoning to taste.  Often, a big grain of salt is needed.  Think before you follow the instructions to the letter.  If it will leave a bad taste in your prospective customer’s mouth, don’t do it.

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