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Co-creating customer experience through call centre interaction: Interactional achievement and professional face

Jagodzinski, P and Archer, Dawn (2018) Co-creating customer experience through call centre interaction: Interactional achievement and professional face. Journal of Politeness Research, 14 (2). pp. 257-277. ISSN 1612-5681 (In Press)

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Abstract

Many customer service institutions draw on the (argued over) notion of “customer experience”. Gentile et al. (2007) suggest that, at an optimum, the notion assumes a thinking and feeling customer who co-creates their customer experience together with the service providing institution. This co-creation is believed to comprise interactional involvement, personalization and the holistic treatment of the customer’s needs. Given the latter, we might expect service providers, such as call centres, to view language as a vital means of creating an experience with the customer. The extant linguistic call centre research, including our own, points to the fact that call centre institutions view language as fundamental to their functioning. However, heavy language regulation tends to be the most important – if not the only – means of achieving outstanding customer experience (Cameron 2000; Jagodziński 2013; Archer and Jagodzińsk 2015). There is a clear mismatch, then, between the tenets of customer experience and the way language is conceptualized, interactionally managed and regulated. Throughout this paper, we argue that the co-creation of customer experience must be accompanied by its linguistic co-construction, which can only be achieved by giving frontline employees more interactional freedom than they tend to have in practice.

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