Customer Service

The Brian Lehrer Show

Do Snobby Sales Clerks Make You Spend More?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Yes, says a new study, but mostly at high-end stores. What is it about rude people that makes us want to give them our money?

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Please Come Again: Customer Service Songs

Monday, May 13, 2013

Esopus magazine editor Tod Lippy talks about the songs he commissioned for the CD Esopus 19: Customer Service.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Building Authentic Customer Connections

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bob Garfield, co-host of On The Media and Doug Levy, founder and CEO of MEplusYOU, talk about their new book Can't Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results, on how companies need to respond to customers.


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The Brian Lehrer Show

State of Mayoral Race; New Pope; Relaxed TSA; Pi Day

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Candidates continue to emerge in the 2013 mayoral race. Azi Paybarah of Capital New York and WNYC's Anna Sale analyze the current field of hopefuls. Plus: Bob Garfield of On The Media explains why some businesses prosper by eschewing social media; the significance of the first Jesuit pope; the future of South Street Seaport; the TSA's new, relaxed stance on small knives; and your calls about Pi(e) Day.

Transportation Nation

Freaky Info-Spewing Avatars Coming To NYC Area Airports

Monday, May 21, 2012

(New York, NY - WNYC) The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is beefing up customer service at area airports — and getting some James Cameron-style help in the form of avatars.

The avatar is a life-sized flat screen in the shape of a woman who activates when a customer approaches. In a perky, smirky, sexy voice, she dispenses flight information and tips about airport services like the location of shuttle buses, rest rooms and taxis. She gives the same spiel to every customer.

Human version of an airport customer service rep on left, avatar on right. (Photo by Jim O'Grady / WNYC)

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye unveiled one of the computerized avatars at a press conference at LaGuardia Airport Monday morning. He said the machines are meant to supplement the airport's 350 flesh-and-blood customer representatives, who will soon be joined by 70 new hires.

A total of five avatars are scheduled for installation at LaGuardia, JFK and Liberty Newark airports in early July. Unlike most humans, they won't be interactive. But Foye said he hopes a future iteration of the talking machines will hold conversations with passengers.

That didn't stop the demonstration avatar from extolling her advantages over human employees: "I never take a break, don't charge overtime, hardly ever take sick leave and I don't need a background check." Later, she smiled suggestively and said, "I just about anything you want me to be."

(In the video above that's PA Chief Pat Foye, with white beard and glasses, in the background around the 35-second mark.)

The Authority also unveiled new airport apps and dozens of information kiosks and electronic device charging stations to help travelers.

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