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

3.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Bring up the subject of customer service phone calls and the blood pressure of everyone within earshot rises exponentially. Otherwise calm, rational, and intelligent people go into extended rants about an industry that seems to grow more inhuman and unhelpful with every phone call we make. And Americans make more than 43 billion customer service calls each year. Whether it ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Free Press (first published March 10th 2009)
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Nicholas Ferrante
Dec 02, 2010 Nicholas Ferrante rated it it was ok
Much like most business books, this could've easily been a feature story in a magazine. I was hoping this book would dig into the alienating aspects of big business and how it drives both people on the end of the customer service transaction towards incivility (the end consumer calling in with a problem, and the over-worked, under-paid, complete lack of autonomy customer service rep cog at the other end of the phone). This was only briefly touched upon in reference to a handful of physiological ...more
May 12, 2009 Skip rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Emily Yellin has written a very easy-to-understand overview (from a layman's standpoint) of telephone customer service (the best and worst practitioners). Meticulously researched, on several continents, from FedEx call centers in the United States to outbound call centers in Argentina and Egypt, she digs deep into the whole process and development of this customer call service industry. She finds the answers to questions about why when we call a number in our own city we might find ourselves bei ...more
Oct 28, 2009 ST added it
A must read for anyone who has ever wasted more than an hour holding on an 800 customer "service" number. This book is as important and revealing as The Hidden Persuaders.
Oscar Romero
Jan 17, 2016 Oscar Romero rated it it was amazing
Shelves: customer-service
Thank you sure did an amazing job not only gathering this quite interesting data--but the way you write it, it is phenomenal and so engaging...I love it!

Customer service, even though it has been around since forever, seems to be the most misunderstood topic nowadays--and the proof is in the fact that we still get horrible customer service still. The biggest problem I see, is that whomever is giving it--doesn't even realize it is their fault! Thank you for writing this amazing book-
The Joy of Booking
Jul 22, 2011 The Joy of Booking rated it really liked it
The title of this book made me giggle out loud when I saw it - who hasn't felt that this is secretly what the recorded voice means when you're on hold? Emily Yellin has done a great job of finding out why companies have lost touch with how to interact with customers and what effects that has on their bottom line. She has also learned a lot about what makes normal people turn into screaming banshees when they have to call customer service. Both approaches are interesting, but what I liked best ab ...more
Jan 25, 2010 Betty rated it liked it
This book is very interesting. It sheds light on a topic that I have been thinking about for a long time. Obviously I'm not the only person. It was really lovely to read about the history of call centers, and the progression of history that has led us to how we think about and interact with customer service representatives.

What I enjoyed was that it really is impartial. The author actually just reported the facts of what people are saying about this subject without waxing poetical about how gre
Mar 29, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok
This book is just dull. While there are some entertaining discussions about companies who clearly are terrible at customer service, the author spends most of her time visiting several companies to see how each addresses its customer service needs. The problem with this, of course, is that only companies that are known for having good customer service are willing to allow a writer in to observe their operations. This is what makes the book so dull. There is very little insight to be gained from ...more
Kater Cheek
Oct 11, 2009 Kater Cheek rated it liked it
Let's be honest: customer service is not an intrinsically interesting subject for most people. So the fact that I liked this book and enjoyed reading it to the end is a testament to Emily Yellin's skill as a writer. Look for her.

The book talks about the customer service industry, mostly about call centers. It talks about it from the customer service rep's point of view, and sometimes from the customer's point of view, but always with an eye towards how to improve business.

One of the companies sh
Jun 15, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
To read a good review, press one.
To read a bad review, press two.
To accidentally disconnect this call, so that it takes you another twenty minutes to get back to this point in the menu, press three.
To launch a small nuclear device at our corporate headquarters, press four.

I was hoping for more personal customer service horror stories from this book. It was still interesting and informative, though limited strictly to information about customer service by phone. (Perhaps the author is saving poor
Apr 03, 2009 Charli rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fic
This is a subject I'm quite interested in, both personally and professionally. Outsourcing customer service is a major concern in America. It was intriguing to find out that there are a number of people doing customer service from their homes, as opposed to cubicle farms. There are some good customer service practices to follow and a real human element to the call center employees, but you have to wade through an awful lot to get there. I found myself skimming most of the background information ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 2009
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It started off being exactly what I realized (as I was reading)that I wanted it to be--personal stories of things that happen in customer service and why they happen the way they do. It just really slow in the middle, and I had to force myself to finish it. I watched Outsourced, a comedy about a guy who has to help set up a call center in India, in the middle of reading this book, so maybe that's why it got more interesting for me at the end--I h ...more
Jul 02, 2010 Brian rated it liked it
Read this if you're in the mood for hearing some amusing rants about customer service via call centre and internet, from both outside and inside the industry. Much of the research and anecdotes in the book lead to common sense conclusions you'd already expect, but it's comforting to have them articulated and confirmed. Yes, there really are people out there who do believe in better service!

I think my favourite chapter was the exploration of Interactive Voice Response systems. I loved reading som
Aug 24, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Interesting look at customer service, with a look at some of the problems and questions involved. The book's fascinating becuase it gives you a look at the issue from both the customer's and the business' perpective, and it deals with "hot button" issues like outsourcing and automated answering systems without being too baised toward either side of the debate. The book's short on solutions to the problems that it brings up, but it's a good introduction to a part of big business that we're often ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
this is an invaluable book and tool for anyone who works in the customer service industry, including me! this not only articulates what i experience at work but it also expresses what i experience as a customer when i call into a company, helpless and looking for some answers regarding a recent purchase. This book covers the origin of customer service all the way up till today's concept of it-both the good and bad. i also found the international customer service rep vignettes featured in chapter ...more
Mike Ehlers
May 13, 2010 Mike Ehlers rated it liked it
I used to work on the phones in customer service. Naturally, I had to pick this up when I saw it on the library shelf. I was expecting more of a focus on the customer service rep experience, but it turned out to be more of an overview on the current state of the industry. May not be of interest to someone who hasn't worked in the field. At times reads like an extended news feature. And it ended rather abruptly. An ok read, but I probably wouldn't recommend it.
Mar 20, 2010 Sue rated it liked it
I've always been intrigued by how things work, and this book opened the door to today's customer service...and lack thereof. Today there are lots more overseas call centers than just India, and the author covers that change in detail. She also does a nice focus on how a couple customer service icons (Fed Ex and Zappos) put outstanding service in the forefront. Downside: too long and too much detail on the overseas centers.
May 28, 2012 Kandi rated it liked it
I don't think I got any insight about "our world and our lives" but there were some interesting interviews with overseas call center employees. As a former call center employee, I can say that no new ground was really covered. I would recommend to those who have not worked that sort of job and are interested in the mechanics and background of outsourcing.
Jan 08, 2011 Mia added it
Shelves: nonfiction, read-2010
A decent enough history and overview of telephone andonline customer service, though the book was a bit too hand-wavy and lightweight around some of the deeper questions around the topic's more controversial issues: ethical questions about hiring prison workers to achieve "offshore" pay rates, for instance. I did learn a few things though.
Emily wanted me to make sure to note to anyone checking the list that the paperback version is more up to date and her recommendation is to read this vs. the hard cover as it is more timely.
Gina Herald
Apr 19, 2011 Gina Herald rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the depth Emily Yellin went to in the story. As a customer service trainer and supporter I found it very interesting. Insightful too as far as call centers and all that goes.
Jan 14, 2010 Indlibrarystaff rated it liked it
Shelves: julie
Everything you ever wanted to know about phone trees, but were afraid to ask. A great read on a common experience that makes and breaks us all: customer service.
Oct 15, 2009 Julian rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is about an entirely different type of customer service than the kind I do at work. I'm so glad my job isn't like that.
Feb 18, 2011 Scott rated it did not like it
Book starts out good, but after the third chapter it falls off and is not worth finishing.
Heather the Hillbilly Banjo Queen
I really liked the first half of this book and then I had to give it back.
Sep 16, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing
If you work in a call center read this book.
Stefanie marked it as to-read
Jan 17, 2016
Pug Cake
Pug Cake marked it as to-read
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