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Abstract

Abstract

This study investigated listener-based assessment of the job performance of second language (L2) speakers employed as customer service agents in outsourced foreign-based call centers, focusing on agents’ job performance as a function of the comprehensibility, fluency, and accentedness of their speech. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, 116 native English-speaking listeners evaluated two-minute recordings of actual customer service conversations featuring 18 Filipino agents, assessing them for three global speech dimensions (comprehensibility, accentedness, and fluency) and three performance indicators, including agents’ confidence, competence, and listeners’ interest in future communication with agents (a measure capturing customer patronage). Comprehensibility and fluency consistently predicted how the listeners assessed the agents on all job performance scales, and accentedness was additionally associated with how strongly the listeners wished to communicate with the agents. Findings generally highlight the importance of fluent and comprehensible L2 speech in workplace settings.

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/content/journals/10.1075/jslp.21027.tsu
2022-04-25
2022-05-23
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: perception ; fluency ; foreign-based call center ; accentedness ; comprehensibility ; customer service
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