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

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

Emily Yellin

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1416546901

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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people stop to write their checks and fill out forms before standing in line to speak to the teller. Since Zurich is a city in which many people walk or travel by the extremely efficient public tram system, most people carry a briefcase or backpack. In a few photos, customers who have to put what they are carrying down to fill out checks and forms are standing at the counter with their bags on the floor, wedged between themselves and the counter, or awkwardly placed between their feet so they

the telephone girl in case the automatic girlless phone should be adopted.” The article estimated there were more than 5 million telephones in the United States at that time, and that more than 45,000 “girl” operators responded to more than 25 million “hellos” each day: Her familiar voice is heard wherever the telephone wire leads. From the isolated prairie homestead to the hurry and bustle of Wall Street is a long step, but the voice of the ubiquitous telephone girl is heard all along the

discovered that people respond differently to computers they perceive as female and male. And he observed people being polite to computers in the same ways they would be to humans. Nass, who is also a professional magician, concluded that people are more at ease with a computer that appears to have some human-like qualities. Nass’s influence has informed the work of many designers of computer-human customer service interactions as they work to find the right balance between making a computer’s

were able and available to deploy service to American companies.” The fact that Argentina has one of the highest percentages of university-educated people in Latin America also helped. In addition to answering calls, the Argentinean branch of TeleTech also develops most of the software for the company worldwide. With the company’s business thriving in Argentina, everyone in that Buenos Aires conference room displayed a fierce determination not to let a downturn happen again. Sucari says that is

corporations. Other Latin American countries are already providing outsourcing services to Indian outsourcers. Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, and Infosys have opened offices in Latin American countries, as well as in the Philippines, parts of China, Africa, eastern Europe, and even a few in the United States. Not all of those operations are call centers, but many are. And in August 2008, eTelecare, a Philippines-based outsourcing company, opened a 500-employee call center in Managua to provide

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