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'Your Call Is (Not That) Important To Us'

Frustrating customer service stories are commonplace. You're likely to encounter bad saxophone music and countless "press one for" instructions before actually reaching a live human being... And even then, only if you're lucky.

For her book Your Call Is (Not That) Important To Us, Emily Yellin looked into the history and future of customer service. She spoke with people at every link of the customer service chain.

Yellin sought out "Amtrak Julie," the woman who is the voice behind Amtrak's recording. She sat in a call center in Memphis and listened in on calls to FedEx coming in from all over the world. She spent time with the Mormon housewives in Salt Lake City who answer calls from Jet Blue customers. She even met with the creators of a yearly customer rage study.

Fortunately, Yellin thinks it's possible things will improve. She concludes that thanks to the Internet and global competition, companies are going to have to take their customers' needs more seriously.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.