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Customer relationship management in call centers: the uneasy process of re(form)ing the subject through the ‘people-by-numbers’ approach

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Information and Organization
Issue number1
Volume18
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)29-50
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

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 digitised 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.