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Abstract

Technological changes and innovations have created the means by which organizations can centralize the selling function into a call-center environment. While there are numerous benefits to this centralization, the fact that potential customers are drawn to a call center via telephone or Web-based communication media from a wide geographic area heightens the need for sales representatives to perform adaptive-selling behaviors. In this study we found evidence to confirm this belief, suggesting that a premium is placed on sales representatives who can accurately assess each situation using limited information (e.g., through tone of voice) and then to correctly adapt their behavior to fit the situation. The results also offer implications for Web-based call centers that link sales representatives with potential customers through text-based communication. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Direct Marketing Educational Foundation, Inc.