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Cover for Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us

Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us

Customer Service and What It Reveals about Our World and Our Lives

Emily Yellin


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Whether it's the interminable hold times, the multitude of buttons to press, or the automated voices before reaching someone with a measurable pulse--who hasn't felt exasperated at the abuse, neglect, and wasted time when all we want is help, and maybe a little human kindness? Your Call Is (not that) Important to Us is journalist Emily Yellin's highly entertaining and far-reaching exploration of the multibillion-dollar customer service industry and its surprising inner-workings. Since customer service has a role in just about every industry on earth, Yellin travels the country and the world, meeting a wide range of customer service reps, corporate decision makers, industry watchers, and Internet-based consumer activists. She shows the myriad forces that converge to create these aggravating experiences and the people inside and outside the globalized corporate world crusading to make customer service better for us all. Because of the fast-moving nature of the industry, the paperback will be revised and updated throughout, including a fresh Introduction.

For the first time, Yellin gets at the heart of the human stories behind the often inhuman face of call-center customer ?service--and why customer service doesn't have to be this bad.

Praise For Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us: Customer Service and What It Reveals about Our World and Our Lives

"If you've ever been frustrated by automated customer service lines, rude telephone service representatives or agents who can't speak intelligible English, this book is for you. Yellin dives into the often dysfunctional world of customer service, interviewing exasperated consumers, displeased CEOs and infuriated customer service reps. Readers will likely look at the industry differently and with more empathy." -- Publishers Weekly

"For small business owners, Yellin's prodigiously researched book is a useful cautionary tale." -- Fortune Small Business Magazine

"Ms. Yellin, a Memphis-based journalist, mixes polls and studies with excerpts from published reports and her own insightful reporting from call centers and related businesses in the U.S. and overseas... [she] is an illuminating guide whose conclusions are sound" -- Wall Street Journal

"After death, taxes and inclement weather, it's one of life's most inescapable downers: the customer-service call. Getting help can be an automated hell, an eternity of Muzak, code punching and security questions. Which is why the title of Emily Yellin's customer-friendly romp through this unfriendly world rings so true: 'Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us.'" -- Newsweek

"According to the author, [customer service is] a barometer of how we communicate and how we treat each other not only nationally but globally and across all sorts of barriers." -- Memphis Flyer

"Yellin divulges the woes of mistreated consumers, striking a chord not only with adults who have fantasized about destroying stubborn fax machines and voice recognition systems, but also those who take their revenge on companies by posting injustices on the Web. Yellin doesn't just dwell on complaints, however. She also looks at our nature to complain, what we complain about and how we do so. She adeptly covers the history of technology and its role in consumerism and customer service." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)

Free Press, 9781416546900, 320pp.

Publication Date: August 17, 2010