'Can I Put You On Hold?'15:05
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Operators speak with customers at BP America's Houston call center in July 2010. (BP America/Flickr)
Operators speak with customers at BP America's Houston call center in July 2010. (BP America/Flickr)

Americans make 43 billion customer service calls a year and despite outsourcing, it’s a growing industry in the U.S. Businesses are realizing they need to get customer service right and they are turning to scientists working in artificial intelligence and psychology to devise better systems, both human and automated.

Emily Yellin looked into the multi-billion-dollar customer service industry for her engaging book, "Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us: Customer Service and What It Reveals About Our World and Our Lives." She also finds real people at the other end of the line who often deal with surreal corporate policies.

This conversation originally aired 9/24/10.

Guest:

This segment aired on August 11, 2011.

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