TitleCustomer service through an interactional lens
NameFeldman, Heidi Kevoe (author), Mandelbaum, Jenny (chair), Robinson, Jeffrey (co-chair), Scott, Craig (internal member), Bolden, Galina (internal member), Heritage, John (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectCommunication, Information and Library Studies,
Call center agents,
Communication in organizations
DescriptionThis study uses conversation analysis to examine the organization of responses to Customers’ repair status inquiries in customer service calls to a camera repair shop. Using as data 193 recorded phone calls to a customer service center in a camera repair shop, the analysis describes practices participants use to jointly construct a multi componential response to repair status inquiries as a conditionally relevant response, and demonstrates how participants orient to this type of response as a normative organizational structure.
Findings of this study reveal that participants treat the action of inquiring about repair status as making relevant a response that contains two separate components, as a single response, where each component reports a different type of repair status. The first component of the response is a report of where the item that is in for repair is currently in the repair process, and the second is a report of the estimated repair completion time. Together, these two reports constitute the normative organizational response to a repair status inquiry. In addition, this study shows how response also constitutes an organizational structure that is produced in and through interaction. A second set of findings suggests that customers treat the organizational response to repair status inquiries for how it bears on another type of status, which is the delivery time, or when customers can expect to receive their equipment back from the organization. This second set of findings reveals how participants manage organizational knowledge and what assumptions customers make about what organizational members might know.
Within organizational communication, structuration theory (Giddens, 1984) focuses on the duality of the structure provided by the organization, such as rules and resources, and the agency of the actors that represents the autonomy of human agents to produce action. Giddens (1984) argued that as participants create their own normative, organizing structure through which they produce and reproduce conditions for achieving particular goals within a given encounter, their interaction is also influenced by the rules and resources provided by the organization. Thus, as members draw on organizational resources when they produce social actions, their actions simultaneously reproduce the organizational structure itself. By examining the details of actual interaction, this study moves from a theoretical framework to an examination of how members produce action, and documents how organizational structures are produced through talk. This study contributes to the growing body of research that examines how organizational processes and constructs are built through discourse in organizations (Putnam & Fairhurst, 2001). Findings about the organization of responses to status inquiries further conversation analytic research by describing previously undiscovered features of responding actions. The study also provides insight into how specific features of communication processes contribute to the provision of “customer service.”
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 185-193)
Noteby Heidi Kevoe Feldman
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work