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A closer look at telemarketing in Vietnam

Saturday, December 05, 2020, 10:56 GMT+7
A closer look at telemarketing in Vietnam
Vu Thi Huong Giang records herself on the TikTok app while talking with a customer over the phone. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

People who work in telemarketing are fully aware of how annoying their calls are for customers.  

Vietnam’s telemarking workforce appears to be split between those simply trying to earn extra cash and those who working to ensure those the call aren’t disturbed.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper talked with three female telemarketers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to get the inside scoop on life as a telemarketer.

A newbie’s obsession

Tran My Dung, 25, compared her telemarketing job with fishing, both of which, she said, require patience.

After graduating from university, Dung started work as a telemarketer for an insurance company before taking the same job at a real estate firm in Ho Chi Minh City.

New to telemarketing, Dung has experienced her fair share of rude rejections, yet still she persists.

Inspired to improve her telemarketing skills, Dung is slowly learning the tricks of the trade from her colleagues.

One such trick is sticking to specific times when potential customers seem more willing to listen. These time frames include 9:00-11:00 am, 2:00-4:00 pm, and 6:00-8:00 pm.

On average, Dung calls between 150 and 200 customers a day. She considers it a success if ten percent of respondents hear out her proposal and just one of them accepts her invitation for an in-person meeting.  

According to Dung, she’s become so obsessed with her job that she’s even had dreams about calling customers. She’s also caught herself speaking to her parents in the same polite and technical way she speaks with customers over the phone.

A new approach

Despite holding a bachelor’s degree in tourism management, Vu Thi Huong Giang, 23, chose insurance telemarketing as her first job after graduation.

Giang’s job is to secure sales appointments by calling customers in a data list collected by her Hanoi-based company’s marketing team.

For Giang, the job is an opportunity to practice her soft skills, including maintain patience after hundreds of hang ups each day.

Giang runs a TikTok account with over 650,000 followers where she uploads videos of her conversations with customers. She’s become so popular that her followers now call her the “telemarketing hot girl.”

Her video content incudes all sorts of telemarking situations, when customers do not answer her call, when customers pick up the phone but refuse to engage in a conversation, and when customers tease her.

These TikTok videos are like an open door into the world of telemarketers. They have also allowed her to reach a broader customer base of customers who have left their contact information in the comment section of her videos.

Although not all those viewers who left their contacts in the comments were seriously interested in buying insurance products from Giang’s company, she’s delighted by their response.

“I started creating TikTok videos for fun, but more and more people recognize me after watching my telemarketing videos,” Giang said.

She shared that the videos have also helped her to evaluate what she’s done right and wrong in various telemarking situations.  

“My TikTok videos help me to rethink situations and receive feedback from viewers on how I can improve my skills,” Giang said, adding that many of her commenters have been extremely supportive.

“I feel relieved when someone says my videos make them want to pay more attention to the telemarketing phone calls they receive.”

Hard work pays off

According to Giang, a telemarketing job is incomparable to the stability a normal office job provides, but those who are successful have the opportunity to earn extremely high incomes.

Hoang Thanh, a 26-year-old telemarketer, shared that she only earned between VND3-8 million (US$130-347) a month during her first year as a real estate telemarketer because she was unable to make any deals. Her company pays high commissions, but low base salaries, she said.

Thanh had to borrow money from friends and take monthly advances from the company to cover her living expenses.

Many of her colleagues only last two or three months at the job, she said.

In addition to making phone calls to customers, Thanh also regularly posts on her social media accounts about the real estate projects that her company offers for sale.

During her one year and nine months in telemarketing, Thanh has made daily phone calls number into the hundreds.

After such a period of perseverance, along with extreme stress, Thanh eventually managed to sell five apartments in Ho Chi Minh City at the same time. With a commission rate of 1-2.5 percent for each project, Thanh has been able to pay off all her debts.

“It’s like a clogged pipe finally being cleared,” Thanh said.

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