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Automated customer service?

More and more we are met by machines when we try to contact customer service. We call the bank,(the credit card, the newspaper, the phone company) and we go through a long automated menu to get us help. When we go to the airport, we can check in on a kiosk.

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In fact, kiosks and other self-service machines are taking the place of people in more places.  While some people prefer automation, others want to deal with people. As this article from the Chicago Tribune points, kiosks are big  business:

Do-it-yourself customer service creeps further into everyday life via kiosks, smart-phone applications and the Internet. Consumers are using touch screens everywhere from supermarket delis to hospital check-in stations. There are even machines that give vision exams and scan feet to produce custom insoles.

Kiosk transactions are expected to surpass $775 billion this year, up from $607 billion in 2008, according to IHL Group, which tracks the self-service industry. It could hit $1.6 trillion by 2013.

Some people will continue to prefer dealing with live customer service representatives, but as times get tougher, you can expect companies to continue to use machines instead of people.


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