Examining Multiactivity Using Multi-camera Recordings: The Use of Text Chat in a Call Center

  • Karine Lan Hing TingEmail author
Conference paper


Call center work cannot be reducible to talking on the phone. Parallel to their talk, call center agents manage computer/screen activity and collaboration with co-workers present on the floor. The situated work activity that is achieved is an artful management of several forms of interaction occurring simultaneously. Among these parallel activities is the use of text chat. This keyboard writing of short messages is a quick and easy way to share information and coordinate action. More importantly, being a ‘silent’ communicative medium and modality, it allows coordination with colleagues to occur at the same time as the phone call. Focusing on text chat allows a questioning of the place and use of computer technologies in call center work. However, in order to fully understand how this artifact supports collaborative work, it is important to examine the multiactivity the agent is engaged in. The analyses of the whole situation of work presented in this chapter are based on multi-camera video extracts, giving access to the phone conversation, the screen activity and content, verbal communication and gestures with co-workers around.


Call Center Customer Relationship Management Short Message Phone Conversation Artful Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Index of abbreviations and transcript symbols


Call center agent




Prospective Customer

(( ))

Description of non-verbal actions

* #

Delimitates agent’s actions description


Continuing gesture or action

Rising inflection


Moderate rising inflection


Continuing intonation


Stopping fall in tone


Extension of sound or syllable


Pauses or silences in seconds


Latching or rapid successive actions




Audible out breath


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LASMICUniversité de Nice-Sophia AntipolisNiceFrance

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