Cold callers prove little value to SMEs

Cold callers waste every UK businesses 'thousands every year', according to research. 

Cold callers waste every UK businesses ‘thousands every year’, according to research. 

According to law consultancy, the time equivalent of two staff posts are tied up in   the average company just dealing with endless phone calls to which the answer is generally ‘no’.    

The worst offenders are recruitment and insurance companies, often from organisations whose sales staff are paid by commission, and will often call time and again until they make a sale, the study finds.

On top of that, scam callers are becoming a growing nuisance to companies as well. spokesperson Mark Hall says, ‘It’s one of the great distractions for anybody trying to run a business. You find yourself under siege from unwanted sales calls every day.

‘While some businesses develop a thick skin and learn to live with the annoyance, others find that   staff are tied up for long periods separating legitimate sales calls and customer enquiries from    unwanted cold callers and potential scammers.’    

Hall adds that at a company of around 100 employees, that could add up to the time equivalent of two people working full time just answering the phones to unwanted callers.

‘That’s about £50,000 per year wasted at absolutely no benefit to anybody,’ he says.

The research of 650 businesses finds that the worst offenders for this practice are recruitment companies, insurance sales, card processing, pay-per-click and search engine optimisation, and utilities.

Some 89 per cent say they would never buy from a cold caller.   

This figure rises to 91 per cent for cold callers from pay-per-click and search engine optimisation    companies.

Around 94 per cent say they would be put of buying from a company for life if they persisted in cold calling them after been asked to stop.    

Hall says that among the ‘legitimate’ companies involved with cold calling, there are also a fair share of scammers claiming variously to be following up bank or card fraud, such as the ‘Microsoft help desk’, and selling non-existent services.

Hall adds, ‘Most companies would rather deal with tried-and-tested companies that they know, which is why the vast majority of cold calls are unsuccessful.’ 

The sharp increase of foreign-based scam calls means that many companies now have a policy of putting the phone down on cold callers, meaning that everybody’s time and money is wasted.’ recommends blocking the numbers of the worst offenders, and registering with the Telephone Preference Service so that honest companies know you are not accepting unsolicited sales calls. 

‘As harsh as it seems, the best recourse is to approach a regular cold-calling company directly and make it clear that you will never purchase their services, and back it up with a threat of legal recourse if they continue.’   

Further reading on sales 

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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