The Cold Truth About Cold Calls, And How To Avoid Them

Cold Calls

We all know that nuisance calls are, as the name suggests, a nuisance. But recent research shows that they are also a costly interruption for the those running a small business from home.

The UK’s 2.65 million home entrepreneurs are plagued by nuisance calls. On average, small business owners working from home receive five nuisance calls per week, lasting one and a half minutes. On top of this, they estimate that it takes over four minutes to regain focus on a task interrupted by a nuisance call. This ultimately means that up to 550,368 days of productivity are lost from the UK economy every year.

In a recent survey of home entrepreneurs by Panasonic, respondents said that nuisance calls had the biggest negative impact on productivity (64%) and focus (75%), making it harder for those running their business from home. Respondents reported feeling angry (77%), frustrated (76%) and harassed (71%) by the unwanted interruptions, with a whopping 83% reporting being bothered by nuisance calls.

Since setting up our electrical contracting business two years’ ago, we probably receive on average around 2-3 calls per day from cold call’s – anything from PPI claims companies, loft insulation sales or people advising me how I could claim for a ‘recent car accident’.

Although we had asked our phone provider to block such calls, they still come through which not only makes the main phone line unavailable to customers or clients, but disturbs concentration which could potentially be damaging especially if you are number crunching or typing up important test sheets.

We pride ourselves on running a professional business and responding promptly to customers and clients so the interruption of pointless sales calls could jeopardise a good reputation that we have worked tirelessly to create. It leaves you feeling frustrated and a little resentful of these companies which in effect, is damaging to their name.

According to research by Ofcom, the worst offenders for nuisance calls are those selling PPI claims, accounting for 13% of all nuisance calls, with insurance (9%) and solar panels (8%) coming in second and third. But worst of all, 32% of UK consumers were unsure where to get advice on preventing nuisance calls.

“Nuisance calls are fast becoming a major problem for business owners that work from home. Even those that register with the Telephone Preference Service are often plagued with annoying calls – from unscrupulous callers masquerading as computer help desk staff to automated messages about loft insulation. Many home owners simply put the phone down on these callers” says Rory MccGwire, founder of small business support organisation, The Start Up Donut.

“However, business owners often have to waste valuable time ascertaining whether the caller is genuine or not – just in case it turns out to be a potential customer. It’s a complete waste of time and a very unwelcome interruption.”

“Despite the authorities’ best efforts, nuisance calls are not going away, and our research shows that they are having a costly impact on the UK’s home entrepreneurs,” said Helen Dixon, DECT Product Marketing Manager at Panasonic. “The Government’s Telephone Preference Service will go some way to helping avoid nuisance calls, but the biggest thing UK small business owners can do to protect themselves, is purchase the right technology. A home phone with a built in nuisance call blocking feature will help them avoid interruptions and stay focused and productive.”

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Chrissie Gardiner is the business owner and director of North East electrical contractors firm, AC Electrical Specialists.