Talking with strangers on the phone

In 2014, I went from working at a small Chinese restaurant as a cook’s assistant in to a Telephone Surveyor at a large company. They had 80 employees or so at one location and more locations in different places.

The wage was slightly more and I was happy to get out of a tough manual labor job.

This new job, you had to call strangers on the phone and read them a survey script and record their answers via typing into a program. It was often for political analysis companies, or sometimes governments (for example health, lotteries, food consumption.)

The first few days of work were just training. Teaching us how to use the software and practicing on each other.

I still have, the introduction “Hi, I’m David calling from Issues & Answers and I’m not selling you anything, just like to get your opinion” burned into my brain.

The first time we were actually calling strangers, it was for some political poll in Texas. We were all calling and calling, but no one really answered. The leads weren’t so good.

The first time someone actually answered, I froze: they were saying “hello, hello…? Hello…?” And hung-up. I couldn’t manage to start speaking, there was a frog in my throat.

It went on like this for a while, but slowly I improved, and then eventually I got really confident on the phone.

blah… I don’t feel like finishing this article!


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