The 5.32pm Financial Agent

At 5.32pm, I received a call from an recognised number: 6681 6716. I had thought that the caller could be a courier confirming delivery with me or a financial agent calling to wage verbal assault on my poor soul.

I decided to give the caller a chance and ended up getting the latter.

On the other end of the line was “Olivia” who did not give me a chance to say anything before rattling off a scripted exchange. Olivia made sure to mention her name before firing off a line about introducing me to some kind of an accident plan which costed less than a dollar a day or something. Either my memory is failing me, or I was so frazzled by her words that I could not absorb anything.

If Olivia wanted to flood me with her verbal spewage, then she had clearly achieved her goal. Hurray, Olivia! I could barely mention my friend who’s a financial advisor before she cut me off.

“I understand that you have a friend. But could you let us arrange a session with our financial advisor?” She said something about calling on behalf of a group of financial advisors. That did nothing to bolster my confidence.

“Oh no, I don’t need it”. Maybe I do, but now is not the time. Olivia will not get my business. At this point, I can’t be too sure what she said. Olivia cut me off again and repeated her words.

Olivia sounded aggressive. She sounded overly pushy. Olivia did not portray any slightest form of confidence nor politeness; I detected none of that. Her tone reeked of a salesperson making cold pitches and checking contacts off a list. She did not even mention my name, if she even had me as a contact from one. Her mannerisms felt scripted. Her delivery was torn straight out of a textbook. It didn’t help that she called me at 5.32pm–almost as if she was waiting to strike immediately after I ended work.

You know what? I have an evening meeting later and had in fact, not ended work. Did Olivia know that? Of course not. Did she respect my time though? Surely not.

Worst, her call sounded robotic even. What did the financial industry do to Olivia? Who is this stranger? Olivia, are you okay? Is Olivia even a person? If there was a flowchart of prospects and their responses, Olivia would surely be following it to a tee. Calling prospects at after 5.30pm or 6pm would surely be one step. I am pretty certain that the day would come when robocallers will make sales pitches. They will be able to harvest keywords, understand contexts, and end the call before the human counterpart does so.

Some day, robocallers for the financial industry will take root in Singapore. Suffice to say, Olivia is the first person in a long, long while that made me hang an active call. Today’s not the day, Olivia. Not today. Nevertheless, may you be well and happy always, you algorithmic line of code.

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