Customer Relationship Management in call centers: the uneasy process of re(form)ing the subject through the ‘people-by-numbers approach’
Alferoff, C. and Knights, D. (2008) Customer Relationship Management in call centers: the uneasy process of re(form)ing the subject through the ‘people-by-numbers approach’. Information and Organization, 18 (1). pp. 29-50. ISSN 1471-7727
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infoandorg.2007.10.002
Real-time technology has the capability of symbolising both customers and call center representatives (and the moment of interaction), purely by/as numbers, or forms. The pinnacle of this data processing is Customer Relationship Management (CRM), where the digitized data is assembled so as to reproduce a mimetic model of the customer. This could be seen as a metamyth (Adams & Ingersoll 1990) that, in its concealed appearance within corporate databases, seems to cuts loose from any critical inquiry. In this paper, we offer an embryonic form of such a critique through the analysis of a number of original call center case studies. It seeks to analyze the nature of abstraction at the heart of IT-based CRM practices, and the contradictions that such abstraction can foster.
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