May I, Please?

CLIP

Who are you?

This issue has been bothering me for a long time, but I didn’t make a decision and I postponed it because I felt uneasy about it. I hoped things would get better. They didn’t, of course.

Then yesterday I stumbled across an article via Slashdot that made me think, especially when I followed the links to RevK’s blogsite. I was still undecided, but this morning I received yet another of these nuisance calls and so I decided that it is time to canvas some opinions and move towards a decision.

Here is the problem: People are hiding their identity as a subterfuge when they want to sell me stuff I don’t want. They con me into answering the phone when otherwise I wouldn’t have done so. They don’t show their numbers on my cellphone.

It is not an easy decision though. I cannot just ignore the call. I actually pay Vodacom for CLIP (Caller Line Identification). I have children who may need to contact me urgently, even if I am overseas. Therefore, when I am in a meeting, or I don’t want to be disturbed for a while, I don’t normally switch off my phone but I look at the caller’s number and if it can wait I let it go to voicemail, to return the call later when I can give the caller my full attention.

But what do I do when I cannot see the number? Can it wait? Is it maybe an important call? Could this be that long-awaited contract award? Or my child in need? In fact the basic question is: Am I obligated to answer the call if I don’t know who is calling?

Question: Would you open your front door to somebody when they ring your doorbell but refuse to identify themselves? Are you obliged to open the front door to your home just because the person rings the bell but isn’t willing to show you who or what they are?

It gets more complex than that. What about the incredibly arrogant attitude of the all-too-powerfull Banks in South Africa? When you call them they ask you a million questions, all under the guise of making sure you are who you say you are. But when they phone you … they don’t show their numbers! How do you know they are who they say they are? The other day I tried to ask the operator to identify himself and I was told it is not necessary!

Which brings me to the purpose of this post: What is the best thing to do? What do YOU do? How do we solve this problem?

Here is a link to the most hilarious way of handling it (approx 2.5Mb) Cute! 😉

This is what I am doing, and I would appreciate your feedback:

  1. When I cannot see a number, I will try to answer but I will always fully identify the caller (and the purpose of the call) and perform step 2, before proceeding to converse.
  2. I will obtain the contact details (e-mail or fax number) of the supervisor of the caller.
  3. When the conversation is over, I will send a letter to the company via the supervisor, kindly requesting that they fix their call centre to show their number in future to identify themselves properly.

Is this a good thing to do? Please comment and let me know.


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