Telemarketing to the Japanese
Although mail order has much promise, because of high postage costs, an increasing number of firms are looking into telemarketing. Telemarketing is growing at a 40 percent annual rate partly because of low cost telephone calls. Local telephone calls are one of the few things that are cheaper in Japan than in America.
But telemarketing is a new business in Japan, and there are problems with creating a successful operation. Although local calls are inexpensive, there are no bulk rates for long-distance calls for businesses. To work around this, telemarketing services have set up many local operations in different regions of the country.
There is the equivalent of toll-free numbers in Japan, but this is a recent innovation. In 1985 there were only 2,000 toll-free lines. By the end of the decade there were over 100,000 - a fifty-fold increase.