Trending: NASA says much-anticipated meteor outburst could be a bust for the West Coast

Audible, the audiobook company owned by Amazon, is launching a new option for its customers to talk with a live customer service agent via Amazon Alexa devices.

The hands-free service is one of the first of its kind on Alexa devices, and because of that, it’s likely to be closely watched by other companies as a new avenue for customer service. Audible customers in the U.S. will be able to say, “Alexa, Call Audible,” to talk with a customer service agent about books or resolve technical issues, among other requests.

It’s the latest integration between Audible and Alexa. Audible users can also listen to their purchased, human-narrated audiobooks via Alexa devices.

Separately, Amazon Kindle users can have Alexa read their Kindle books in her digital voice, and while the experience isn’t as full-fledged (or as real) as with traditional human-narrated audiobooks, it raises long-term questions about the extent to which virtual agents will replace human narrators. So it could be considered a small victory for humankind that agents available via the new Audible customer service option are not robots, as one points out in the video below.

While audiobooks might not seem like a product that requires intensive customer service, Audible says the agents will be able to make book recommendations in addition to addressing technical problems, resolving account or payment issues, or answering questions about the Audible app. The company says the service will be available 24/7 to Audible customers starting today.

Audible, based in Newark, N.J., was acquired by Amazon in 2008.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Desktop AnalystThe School for Field Studies
Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.