Today, as happens nearly every day, I received an unwanted call to my mobile device. This despite listing my number on the National Do Not Call Registry (I included the link, though I don't know why since it obviously doesn't work). No one likes telemarketers, robocalls, or phone scams, yet they persist. The companies engaging in such intrusive practices care not one bit about The Ethics Award or you or me, and I doubt that the workers making the calls have much choice in jobs or they'd quit.
Such companies remain in business because (1) they make money and (2) the governing system pushes the burden of stopping the nonsense onto consumers. The FCC does not begin to have the resources to stop fraudulent phone scammers so their answer was to make us do it. But we have to wonder is it not in the public interest, and the business interest of communication companies, to stop the telemarketing madness? Cannot AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile create technology that detects repetitive calls originating from a single source and block calls from that source? Of course they can, and my guess is that the first communications company that does so will increase its market share.
While they're at it, perhaps the phone companies can work with the phone makers to create a faster way to block unwanted callers. It seems like an easy little button to include. But then, to really be ethical, they'd also have to admit that my smartphone is mine and, therefore, I should be able to include whichever browser or GPS program I prefer and delete the one they want me to use if I choose (and all of it should work as the pre-launch hype suggests).
Perhaps the phone and device companies could just remember that we (their customers) pay their bills. We are at their mercy I fear; chained to products and services that really are necessary. Perhaps we should beg for mercy, and that they make our lives easier. Or at least, somehow, remove annoyances (which they do) without creating new ones like telemarketing, app clutter, and devices that become obsolete after two or three years.
Winning Ethics Questions
- How do you find out if your organization does something that upsets your customers?
- What steps are you taking to learn if there's a relatively simple adjustment that will delight your customers?
- If you make a product, does its utility meet your customers' expectations?