Tag Archives: RSVP

On My Mind: Cold-Calling and RSVP’s

I have a couple things nagging at my brain as I enjoy lunch at my desk this afternoon. Here goes!

Cold-Calling

I think telemarketers have one of the toughest jobs in existence today. Let’s face it: nobody really wants to talk with a telemarketer now, do they? Especially the ones that call in the evening, precisely at dinner time, seeking to sell that home security system or that spanking new life insurance policy. Years ago, around 1989 or thereabouts, I took a second job as a telemarketer for the Houston Ballet. Our job in the Ballet call center was to sell season tickets for the next ballet season to attendees of recent Ballet performances. They provided their contact details on information cards completed at the performance, which at least implied permission to contact them. I came close to closing one sale, with the call center supervisor looking over my shoulder and whispering his encouragement, but in the end the customer had dinner on the table and it was getting cold – no sale. That was one of the most grueling nights of my working career; I went home and did not return.

Surely you want to talk with this guy!

Surely you want to talk with this guy!

My role in commercial insurance sales today also involves telemarketing. I’m not working from a call center, but from my desk. The objective is to contact executives at prospective client companies and secure a meeting during which I can introduce my firm’s insurance and risk management capabilities in hopes of one day winning them as a client. Having recently converted from a buyer of these services to one who is now selling them, I remember what it was like to get those sales calls. Like many of the people I try to reach today, I would often let my voice mail system answer calls from numbers I did not recognize or from caller ID’s I simply didn’t want to talk to. Truth be told, my first client was won after a cold-call telephone conversation, so while I don’t necessarily enjoy the process, I do it because it’s necessary. I just wish more people would answer their phone; we are really quite good at what we do!

RSVP’s

Photo credit: www.seshrm.org

We’ve lost some elements of good etiquette in our modern society. I’ve noticed the last few times I’ve sent invitations to an event that a large percentage of the invitees don’t bother to RSVP even though one is requested. Why is that so difficult? Somebody thinks enough of you to invite you to an event and you don’t even have the courtesy to turn them down? Worse, when they follow up to see if you are coming you don’t reply? What’s up with that? Come on, people, show some respect. When you receive an invitation to a party, a dinner, a business function, a shower, a wedding, a child’s birthday party or whatever – please have the decency and respect to offer the host or hostess a prompt RSVP. End of rant.

With that, it’s time to get back to the phones. Enjoy your Tuesday!

RSVP Photo credit: seshrm.org

What Happened to Common Courtesy?

Have you ever considered sending a bill to a party invitee who RSVP’d they will attend, but failed to show or notify you that their plans have changed? Nothing big, but a bill to reimburse the costs you incurred for their price of admission, refreshments, or whatever. Although it happens often in my experience, I’ve never considered sending a bill. This mother in London sees things differently – read the news story about the $24 bill she sent to the parents of a 5-year old boy who no-showed her son’s birthday party.

I’ve long lamented the erosion of common courtesy and respect in today’s society. Send an invitation to a special event with a RSVP request and wait. And wait. Many of the invitees won’t bother to respond. I recently co-sponsored an evening social event for local business professionals. Over half of the people who RSVP’d they would come never showed up. Some were busy. Some made other plans. Some just didn’t bother to show. But this isn’t about me. Let’s get back to the story in London.

Check out the the comments below KLTV’s Facebook post. They’re astounding! The majority of comments are from people who apparently believe it is perfectly acceptable to accept a party invitation and then simply not show up! I’m sure that many of these people are the same people who don’t RSVP to invitations and appear at the event anyway while they RSVP to attend other events that they simply choose to blow off.

This situation brings to light a very interesting legal question. If a person accepts a party invitation and decides to do something else without notifying the host of the change in plans but the host incurred costs based on the representation by the guest that he would actually attend the event, has a breach of contract taken place? In many states, verbal agreements can be legally binding. Was there a legal agreement, and if so, did a breach occur for which restitution is owed? OK, maybe that’s a bit too deep. But on the other hand, I feel the party mom’s pain and I’m glad she’s making a big deal of it.

To be honest, part of me feels just a bit foolish for letting this get under my skin. I guess I’m thankful that I’m not the only one who has tired of such boorish behavior on the part of people who choose to ignore invitations and disregard their commitments. While I don’t advocate taking these folks to court, I do have an idea: Why not agree to demonstrate respect and common courtesy to our fellow man? Not just where parties are concerned, but in all aspects of life. If we’ll do that, life on this planet we call Earth might be just a little more pleasant.

End of rant.

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