Who\u2019s got a bad customer service experience story?\u00a0 If we were all in a giant room, I\u2019m sure everyone\u2019s hands would go up at that question.\u00a0 In fact, we could probably regale each other with numerous stories of rude, stupid and just plain bad customer service behavior.\u00a0 So, why has customer service on the phone become such an ordeal for everyone? That\u2019s what Emily Yellin, the author of Your Call is (Not That) Important to Us, wanted to know.\u00a0 Her intention was to research what was going on at call centers so that she could \u201cdemystify the current maze of aggravation\u201d for herself and the rest of us. As it turns out, the corporations and the call centers are not conspiring against us.\u00a0 In fact, they are just as frustrated with the current state of customer service as we are.\u00a0 And this is what makes Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us such an interesting read. A little background on the book I received a review copy recently, but the book was actually published in 2009.\u00a0 The review copy was for an updated 2010 paperback version. Customer service call centers can be found all over the world, and rather than speaking broadly about customer call centers, Emily focuses on two emerging locations, Latin America and Africa.\u00a0 This was interesting to me--I had no idea that call centers were expanding to these two areas. Another interesting update to the paperback edition is a new chapter on Twitter.\u00a0 Social media has been a thorn in some companies\u2019 sides \u2013 just ask Comcast! The company has had to spend millions doing the damage control after a few unhappy customers created videos, web sites and general complaints that went viral with social media.\u00a0 Since then, they\u2019ve hired Frank Eliason, who enlisted employees to monitor mentions of Comcast's name and address them online.\u00a0\u00a0 They created @ComcastCares, and soon customers learned that they actually got better service if they Tweeted their problem than if they called.\u00a0 This is an interesting trend. Your Call will make you smile with satisfaction Yellin really knows how to weave a story.\u00a0 I enjoyed the beginning chapters where she puts our relationship with the telephone in context with a little historical perspective.\u00a0 That, of course, starts with Alexander Graham Bell, the early days of AT&T and what was called \u201cthe operator problem.\u201d You see, the first call center operators were boys.\u00a0 The problem was that these boys were yelling, screaming and swearing at the customers! To solve the problem, call centers transitioned to using women as operators.\u00a0 As this shows, customer service hasn\u2019t gotten worse \u2013 there have been issues from the start.\u00a0 It\u2019s how we deal and interact with technology and each other that makes the difference. After this history, Yellin shares wonderful examples of bad customer service and the insane tactics that customers use to be heard.\u00a0 I found myself smiling with sweet revenge and wishing I had been so creative with my dissatisfaction. One of my favorite chapters was \u201cTo Send Us Your Firstborn, Please Press or Say \u201cOne.\u201d\u00a0This chapter is filled with hilarious examples of automated attendants.\u00a0 There\u2019s IKEA\u2019s Anna, which is an automated chat system.\u00a0 It was entertaining to read about \u2013 but even more entertaining to head over to the Web site and talk to Anna myself.\u00a0 (See image of my chat on left.) Then there is the story of \u201cAmtrak Julie,\u201d Amtrak\u2019s \u00a0automated phone system that\u2019s gotten rave reviews from customers and the ultimate compliment by being featured on "Saturday Night Live." \u00a0Here is asnippet of the SNL skit featuring Jon Hader (Napoleon Dynamite) and Amtrack Julie on a date: Hader: Um\u2026what do you think Julie?\u00a0 A latte or a cappuccino, or something? Julie: Did you say latte? Or Cappuccino? Hader: Uh..well, I said both.\u00a0 Do you want a latte or cappuccino? Julie: My mistake.\u00a0 Cappuccino would be great. Julie (interjecting): Before we go any further, let me get some information. Hader: Sure. Julie: Please say your age\u2026\u2026I think you said 19.\u00a0 Did I get that right? Hader: No. Twenty-nine. Julie:\u00a0 I think you said nine.\u00a0 Did I get that right? This was a fun and educational chapter about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing and using automated attendants. What I liked about the book Your Call is both entertaining and educational. Each chapter takes you through aspects of call center customer service, explains the background and context, outlines good stories and bad experiences, and then leaves you to make your own decision based on what you\u2019ve read. I really liked Yellin\u2019s tone as well.\u00a0 She wrote as a journalist, not as an evaluator.\u00a0 This was especially effective because the book is so full of customer complaints that if she had taken a point of view, the reader would become more focused on her opinion than on the circumstances and the lesson. (Emily Yellin is @eyellin on Twitter ; and her Web site is Emily Yellin.) My only peeve about this book is that it contains yet another reference to Zappos.\u00a0 This is not a slight on Zappos or the author. Being included as a great customer service example in yet another business book deserves kudos. But it would be nice to see another company as an example for a change.\u00a0 Isn\u2019t there any other contemporary company doing it right? Read this before you call customer service We're all somebody\u2019s customer, and one benefit\u00a0Your Call provides us as consumers is a little insight into what happens behind the scenes at a call center.\u00a0 On the surface, it should be easy.\u00a0 And if Zappos has figured it out, what\u2019s stopping the rest of them? Read this book and get some ideas about how customer service can be improved.