Susanne Johnson FSB Chairman for Blackpool and Wyre
News of a record fine for a cold-calling company offering supposedly free solar panels this week is both welcome and a likely to be a concern to some businesses.
We have all at one time or another been subjected to phone calls from agencies or organisations offering us the world, to save us a fortune or sell us the 21st Century equivalent of Jack’s magic beans from the famed fairytale.
I know some people who now apply the two-second rule when answering the telephone. That is to say that if the other end of the phone is silent for more than two seconds when you answer, you are very likely awaiting the next available operator in a multi-landline outgoing system, and should not feel guilty about hanging up.
Making an example of one of these nuisance operators is a good way of firing a warning shot to others operating similar schemes.
The frustrating thing is that it tars genuine businesses who have legitimate customer lists with the same brush.
Perhaps a wider communications strategy is the way forward for businesses wanting to broaden their customer base.
Social media is a great way of small businesses being able to compete with the bigger players, a real leveller of the playing field, though we do sometimes need some help in knowing how to harness its true potential.
It seems an age too since we moved away from hard copy mailing communications to emailing.
It was free and quicker ... I say was, it still is of course, but emails are so easily deleted that many agencies are now exploring other means, even reverting to mailing customers.
We are less likely to not open a letter than we are to delete an email, unless it is blatantly unsolicited mail, which then puts the onus back on creative marketing!