Integrated customer service: Reinventing a workscape

Jack Whalen, Marilyn Whalen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It is shortly after eight a.m. on Monday morning, and Nan has just settled into her cubicle at a large call center operated by INK Corporation – a Fortune 500 company – that is dedicated to customer service and support. Work at her center is divided into three different organizations that are responsible for customer support. One organization handles requests for technical service on machines purchased or leased from the company; another deals with ordering supplies for those machines; and the third, Nan's organization, is responsible for customer account administration – questions about invoices, contracts, and so on. Together they employ close to 4,000 people, located in four North American sites. Soon after Nan puts on her headset, a call is routed to her station. She hears a soft beep in her ear that announces the incoming call and selects “answer” on her call management screen. This call illustrates many issues with customer service – issues that have been troubling Nan's company. From INK's perspective, it was a call that should have been made to their equipment service function, not to Nan's account administration unit. The three support organizations in INK not only have their own 800 numbers, but separate customer databases and information systems, technology infrastructures, work processes, and management. Nan has no access to the equipment service organization's database and cannot place a service call for this customer or deal with any issues regarding the faulty machine. As a consequence, the call must be handed off.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking Work Visible
Subtitle of host publicationEthnographically Grounded Case Studies of Work Practice
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780511921360
ISBN (Print)9780521190725
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


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