Flinkfelt et al Language in Society 2021 IR.pdf (349.51 kB)

How categorization impacts the design of requests: Asking for email addresses in call-centre interactions

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journal contribution
posted on 05.02.2021, 13:28 by Marie Flinkfeldt, Sophie Parslow, Elizabeth Stokoe
Marketing research shows that organizations tailor communication for particular customer ‘segments’, but little is known about the live design of interaction for different categories. To investigate this, we examined telephone calls to a holiday sales call-centre (for ‘seniors’) and a university admissions call-centre (for ‘young’ students). While topically different, calltakers in both datasets requested callers’ email addresses in order to progress service. Using conversation analysis, we examined how these requests were designed, where and how ‘age’ was made relevant, and how subsequent service provision was handled in a way that matched callers’ presumed age categories. Contrastive to the static notion of ‘segments’, we show how recipient design is bound up with categorial considerations while being responsive to the live unfolding of actual interaction. The paper demonstrates how a comparative collection-based approach can be used to analyse the relevance of social categories in situations where this is implicit or ambiguous.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Language in Society

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Language in Society and the definitive published version is available at

Acceptance date

04/02/2021

ISSN

0047-4045

eISSN

1469-8013

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Elizabeth Stokoe. Deposit date: 4 February 2021