Unformatted text preview: at busy times
operators handle calls continuously, with no more than seconds in between.
The work of call centre operators is notoriously stressful, being both extremely
repetitive and subject to demanding performance targets, and this is re¯ected in
high rates of employee turnover in the industry (Carter 1998; Reardon 1996).
Media coverage of call centres has been both copious and generally critical,
often suggesting that they are the sweatshops of the 21st century (Wazir 1999).
Second, language has a special signi®cance in call centre work. The
operator's job consists of little else but language-using ± talking to customers
on the phone and inputting/retrieving data using a computer ± and her/his
professional persona must be created entirely through speech. Typically, the
speech of call centre operators is subject to intensive regulation and constant
surveillance. Supervisors can covertly listen in on any call (known in the
industry as `silent listening'), while in some centres every call is recorded and
may become the subject of `counselling' (a worker and a supervisor or man...
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- Spring '08
- The Land, Call centre, Blackwell Publishers Ltd.