Many customer service institutions draw on the (argued over) notion of “customer experience”. Gentile et al. (2007) suggest that, at an optimum, the notion assumes a thinking and feeling customer who co-creates their customer experience together with the service providing institution. This co-creation is believed to comprise interactional involvement, personalization and the holistic treatment of the customer’s needs. Given the latter, we might expect service providers, such as call centres, to view language as a vital means of creating an experience with the customer. The extant linguistic call centre research, including our own, points to the fact that call centre institutions view language as fundamental to their functioning. However, heavy language regulation tends to be the most important - if not the only - means of achieving outstanding customer experience (Cameron 2000; Jagodziński 2013; Archer and Jagodziński 2015). There is a clear mismatch, then, between the tenets of customer experience and the way language is conceptualized, interactionally managed and regulated. Throughout this paper, we argue that the co-creation of customer experience must be accompanied by its linguistic co-construction, which can only be achieved by giving frontline employees more interactional freedom than they tend to have in practice.
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The Journal of Politeness Research broadens and sharpens the understanding of the nature of politeness by providing a much-needed forum for synergies to develop between researchers approaching politeness from different disciplinary angles. The journal also strengthens and widens the existing cross-cultural and intercultural body of politeness research by encouraging new contributions from lesser-studied cultures and languages.