I was wondering what to grouch about today when I received a call from some old acquaintances on my mobile phone. Today is my lucky day, I was told, because I had been selected from the numerous entrants in a competition to win a Nissan bakkie. Apparently I completed the application form sometime between March 2005 and January 2006 (the caller, a friendly guy named Confidence, informed me he reckons I filled in the entry form in April 2005) in Sandton City and for about 45 minutes of my time I could win this marvellous prize.
While I didn’t need to pay a single cent for this opportunity (it is a prize after all), Confidence was pretty sure I would want to know who the sponsors of this amazing prize are. Luckily for me, these generous sponsors are lined up to introduce themselves during the course of a short presentation. Just in case I thought this call was a scam, I was invited to visit the website of the amazing people who are about to make my dreams come true. The website address is http://www.marketmagix.co.za/. If you would like to get in on the action, here are their contact details (spammers welcome to mail details of their special offerings to these addresses):
(011) 312 1888
+27 11 482 4767
P.O.Box 2872, Halfwayhouse, Midrand, 1685.
The excellent service didn’t stop there. I was informed that if I win (you mean, if I go to this marketing scam) I will be asked to pose for a photo to be placed on the website so I would have to bring my partner with me (yeah, right!). Before leaving me to start writing this post, Confidence asked me to confirm the contact details he had for me. As with all the other spammers who called me in the last year with news of some competition I won, he had the same wrong spelling of my last name, my wife’s name and my age. He asked me for a fax or email address so I could receive news and any other crap they felt appropriate to share with me so I followed the advice I conveyed a little while ago and gave them the email address of a spammer who shares details about software I can buy at low low prices from him.
Judging from the MarketMagix website, these guys like to think of themselves as call centre operators and not the spammers I believe they are. Here is the pitch I imagine is intended to persuade you that this is not about phone spam, but rather profound empowerment:
Personal View of The Coming Call Centre Boom in South Africa.
By Niels Kjellerup, Editor & Publisher of The Call Centre Managers Forum. Dated 20th of February 2001.
Here’s a new born country – rich in minerals but richer in its wonderful people. Yes, after two visits to South Africa I have returned home to Australia with a great future vision for its Call Centre Industry. Johannesburg and Cape Town are fighting it out to become the Call Centre Industries home. Every week new Call Centres are set up. Banks, Insurance Companies, Government have all embraced the alternative distribution concept of Call Centres. CRM implementations are underway to Internet enable Call Centres. Several international/local Outsource Companies already in place. My best guesstimate is that SA has 12-1500 call centres employing probably 20-30,000 people. Very similar to Australia before deregulation in 1996.
I have a dream for South Africa – “ to become the preferred Call Centre Outsource Location for the European Time-zone “.
The key here is the large unemployed black work force – most speak a very understandable English , and though some linguistic training would be necessary – the natural friendliness and empathy of these people would make customer service training a breeze. Both the German and Dutch language is well covered.
The new technology is already in place – what is really lacking is the Telkom de-regulation and obviously for the Government to examine the feasibility of creating probably 50-100.000 new jobs in the customer service industry by copying what the Irish Development Board did to create the Call Centre boom in Ireland in the mid 90’s or for that matter a study of how Australia created 150.000 new jobs in the customer service Industry from 1997-2000.
All experience from other countries show that the SA Government must realise that by holding on to the Telkom monopoly, its stifling job creation for its own people and even worse by keeping the price of Bandwidth and International Call Rates outside competition stifling the uptake of eCommerce. Lack of competition in the Telecom-area is holding back development, no matter how its justified. Note that President Mbeki in his State of the Nation speech on 14/02/03 acknowledged the importance of the Call Centre Industry to South Africa.
Very noble. I have tears in my eyes. While President Mbeki did highlight the call centre industry in one of his “State of the Nation” speeches, I doubt very much he intended to create a massive platform for junk calls or phone spam! Anyway, until the next call to tell me I have won some or other prize I’d better collect some spam email addresses and faxes.