In recent years, Israeli consumers have grown more demanding as they’ve become wealthier and more worldly-wise. Foreign travel is a national passion; this summer alone, one in 10 citizens will go abroad. Exposed to higher standards of service elsewhere, Israelis are returning home expecting the same. American firms have also begun arriving in large numbers. Chains such as KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut are setting a new standard of customer service, using strict employee training and constant monitoring to ensure the friendliness of frontline staff. Even the American habit of telling departing customers to “Have a nice day” has caught on all over Israel. “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, ‘Let’s be nicer,” says Itsik Cohen, director of a consulting firm. “Nothing happens without competition.”
Privatization(私有化), or the threat of it, is a motivation as well. Monopolies(垄断者)that until recently have been free to take their customers for granted now fear what Michael Perry, a marketing professor, calls “the revengeful(报复的)consumer”. When the government opened up competition with Bezaq, the phone company, its international branch lost 40% of its market share, even while offering competitive rates. Says Perry, “People wanted revenge for all the years of bad service.” The electric company, whose monopoly may be short-lived, has suddenly stopped requiring users to wait half a day for a repairman. Now, appointments are scheduled to the half-hour. The graceless El Al Airlines, which is already at auction(拍卖),has retrained its employees to emphasize service and is boasting about the results in an ad campaign with the slogan, “You can feel the change in the air.” For the first time, praise outnumbers complaints on customer survey sheets.
( T) 16. It may be inferred from the passage that customer service in Israel is now improving.
( T) 17. In the author’s view, higher s