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Question About the Human Short-term Memory


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So I solicit services to car dealerships for a living. What I have noticed is that everyone's short-term memory seems to have a two-word limit. Three words seems one too many for most people.

My company is called C.A.R.S. Protection Plus. Every time it's repeated back to me, or when I overhear a gatekeeper repeat it to a decision maker, what I usually get is Protection Plus. After that, the next common one is usually C.A.R.S. Protection, followed by C.A.R.S. Plus, or even the occasional Car Plus. It's strange. Someone told me he'd once read that there is a psychological explanation for this, but he couldn't remember what it was.

Is anyone here into psychology? Do you know why three words is too much to remember?

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Are you contacting existing clients, or is this like a telemarketer thing? When I get an unsolicited call like this, and I know it is such, I almost instantly tune out and resist engaging.

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41 minutes ago, Zerimar Nyliram said:

So I solicit services to car dealerships for a living. What I have noticed is that everyone's short-term memory seems to have a two-word limit. Three words seems one too many for most people.

My company is called C.A.R.S. Protection Plus. Every time it's repeated back to me, or when I overhear a gatekeeper repeat it to a decision maker, what I usually get is Protection Plus. After that, the next common one is usually C.A.R.S. Protection, followed by C.A.R.S. Plus, or even the occasional Car Plus. It's strange. Someone told me he'd once read that there is a psychological explanation for this, but he couldn't remember what it was.

Is anyone here into psychology? Do you know why three words is too much to remember?

The human mind works in weird ways. You'll find that if you write something down, that you'll have a higher percentage chance of remembering it, then if you just listened and didn't take any notes. When we all attended school, you'll notice that you remember the stuff that you wrote down, more than the stuff that you didn't.

I had a teacher for my Algebra 1 classes that took the time for us to write down what he had written on the board, and I did really well in his class. The following year, my Algebra 2 teacher (a wrestling coach) wrote things on the board rather quickly and was erasing it before I could take all of the notes. I didn't do very well in his class.

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8 hours ago, Tank said:

Are you contacting existing clients, or is this like a telemarketer thing? When I get an unsolicited call like this, and I know it is such, I almost instantly tune out and resist engaging.

Like I said, I contact car dealerships, not consumers. I call both existing customers as well as potential new clients.

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There are multiple parts of the brain that are responsible for different lengths of memories.  Your short-term memory, also known as working memory, is in the prefrontal cortex.  Here, memories last only a few seconds.  From there the information is sorted based on what kind of information it is OR, usually, it is discarded.

What I am going to assume is happening is that customers that repeat back "Protection Plus" is triggering an episodic event...meaning the brain groups it with another group of related memories in the hippocampus.  When they are talking about the plan, that memory is being retrieved from the hippocampus and will still use the wrong term.

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No offense intended, but few people enjoy talking to telemarketers or cold-call sales people over the phone, even when its business to business. This is likely a case of divided attention, and you are getting the shorter share.  You are lucky they are even engaging you because they are not obligated to do so in the first place.  Me?  I hang up on telemarketers, once its clear who they are.  You don't know what these people are doing on the other end of the phone, and you may have interrupted them from doing their job, and they are multitasking, or aren't the ones who make the decision in the first place and have to consult the ones who do.  Also, keep in mind you are calling them out of the blue, and likely never heard of your company.  So, of course you are going to get questions or  be asked to repeat what you said from people who are barely engaged with an unsolicited call from a company they might never even heard of, in the first place.

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I get work emails addressed to Gerry constantly, despite the fact that my work email is jacobgerry@x.com, my signature is Jacob Gerry, and my name comes through in the email as Jacob Gerry. Sometimes, when I'm really lucky, I get called Jerry, both a misspelling AND a mispronunciation of my last name. When corrected, they like to laugh it off and act like it's my fault somehow.

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Here's a goodie: back when I worked for Guardian Protection Services (now Guardian Protection, because they probably got fed up with the two-word memory limit, too) I would routinely get wrong number calls from people who thought they were calling their local post office, which had one digit off. They'd go into a conversation and sometimes it would be obvious from the start, while other times it would become apparent a few minutes into the conversation that they were calling about post office related issues. "But isn't this the post office?" "No, this is Guardian Protection Services." You know, the name I said as soon as I answered the call?

Also, not memory related, but what ever happened to "You have the wrong number" being self-explanatory? People would ask, "Are you affiliated with them?" "Are you located at the same location?" "Do you have their contact info?" "Can you connect me?" You. Have. The. Wrong. Number. Also, do I look like Google to you?

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2 hours ago, Cerina said:

Can we also talk about how people can't seem to spell my name correctly when it's AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE or IN THE EMAIL or even IN THE EMAIL ADDRESS?!?!

Damn. Chill out, Xenia. Maybe they didn't win the school lottery and get into Derek Zoolander's School for Kids Who Don't Read So Good. Sheesh, Purina.

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2 hours ago, Darth Krawlie said:

I get work emails addressed to Gerry constantly, despite the fact that my work email is jacobgerry@x.com, my signature is Jacob Gerry, and my name comes through in the email as Jacob Gerry. Sometimes, when I'm really lucky, I get called Jerry, both a misspelling AND a mispronunciation of my last name. When corrected, they like to laugh it off and act like it's my fault somehow.

I get emails addressed to Brent. That are responses to my emails. All the flipping time. 

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3 hours ago, Darth Krawlie said:

I get work emails addressed to Gerry constantly, despite the fact that my work email is jacobgerry@x.com, my signature is Jacob Gerry, and my name comes through in the email as Jacob Gerry. Sometimes, when I'm really lucky, I get called Jerry, both a misspelling AND a mispronunciation of my last name. When corrected, they like to laugh it off and act like it's my fault somehow.

Well now I know what I’ll be calling you for the rest of the year.

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C.A.R.S. Protection Plus?

 

Yeah, when that is spoken aloud that particular string of phonemes registers to me as six words and math. Cee Aye Are Ess Protection Plus. It's not surprising to me many people don't automatically understand what the full name of this business is in a way that allows them to repeat it back with the necessary accuracy and precision! I don't think it's a problem with their short-term memory, per se, I don't think that's what's up. It's not like they're hearing the name properly and then failing to recall it a moment later or anything like that. I think they're not even getting the name right the first time it goes into their ears.

 

I do not recommend trying to get the name of your business changed so potential customers will actually understand what the name of the business is. I think that's probably an uphill climb.

 

(Why their wrong answers on this issue are only two words long is a complete mystery to me! Sorry!)

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1 hour ago, R.CAllen said:

C.A.R.S. Protection Plus?

 

 

Yeah, when that is spoken aloud that particular string of phonemes registers to me as six words and math. Cee Aye Are Ess Protection Plus. It's not surprising to me many people don't automatically understand what the full name of this business is in a way that allows them to repeat it back with the necessary accuracy and precision! I don't think it's a problem with their short-term memory, per se, I don't think that's what's up. It's not like they're hearing the name properly and then failing to recall it a moment later or anything like that. I think they're not even getting the name right the first time it goes into their ears.

 

I do not recommend trying to get the name of your business changed so potential customers will actually understand what the name of the business is. I think that's probably an uphill climb.

 

(Why their wrong answers on this issue are only two words long is a complete mystery to me! Sorry!)

It's pronounced "Cars," not letter-by-letter. That is how all of us introduce the company on every call.

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9 hours ago, Cerina said:

Can we also talk about how people can't seem to spell my name correctly when it's AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE or IN THE EMAIL or even IN THE EMAIL ADDRESS?!?!

I've got a few people who still type out Nichole when my email address is clearly Nicole. Like, just look up a little?

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