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Staffing multi-skill call centers via search methods and a performance approximation

Staffing multi-skill call centers via search methods and a performance approximation
Staffing multi-skill call centers via search methods and a performance approximation
A multi-skill staffing problem in a call center where the agent skill sets are exogenous and the call routing policy has well-specified features of overflow between different agent types is addressed. Constraints are imposed on the service level for each call class, defined here as the steady-state fraction of calls served within a given time threshold, excluded. An approximation of these service levels is developed that allows an arbitrary overflow mechanism and customer abandonment. A two-stage heuristic that finds good solutions to mathematical programs with such constraints is developed. The first stage uses search methods supported by the approximation. Because service level approximation errors may be substantial, the solution is adjusted in a second stage in which performance is estimated by simulation. Realistic problems of varying size and routing policy are solved. The proposed approach is shown to be competitive with (and often better than) previously available methods.
multi-skill call center, staffing, overflow routing, service-level approximation, birth-and-death process, neighborhood search, simulation, heuristic
0740-817X
483-497
Avramidis, Athanassios N.
d6c4b6b6-c0cf-4ed1-bbe1-a539937e4001
Chan, Wyean
a586189c-9ade-4243-bb4a-0749c3950b82
L'Ecuyer, Pierre
bc8bc3bc-1eff-407b-9c57-917d045a138d
Avramidis, Athanassios N.
d6c4b6b6-c0cf-4ed1-bbe1-a539937e4001
Chan, Wyean
a586189c-9ade-4243-bb4a-0749c3950b82
L'Ecuyer, Pierre
bc8bc3bc-1eff-407b-9c57-917d045a138d

Avramidis, Athanassios N., Chan, Wyean and L'Ecuyer, Pierre (2009) Staffing multi-skill call centers via search methods and a performance approximation. IIE Transactions, 41 (6), 483-497. (doi:10.1080/07408170802322986).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A multi-skill staffing problem in a call center where the agent skill sets are exogenous and the call routing policy has well-specified features of overflow between different agent types is addressed. Constraints are imposed on the service level for each call class, defined here as the steady-state fraction of calls served within a given time threshold, excluded. An approximation of these service levels is developed that allows an arbitrary overflow mechanism and customer abandonment. A two-stage heuristic that finds good solutions to mathematical programs with such constraints is developed. The first stage uses search methods supported by the approximation. Because service level approximation errors may be substantial, the solution is adjusted in a second stage in which performance is estimated by simulation. Realistic problems of varying size and routing policy are solved. The proposed approach is shown to be competitive with (and often better than) previously available methods.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 26 March 2009
Published date: June 2009
Keywords: multi-skill call center, staffing, overflow routing, service-level approximation, birth-and-death process, neighborhood search, simulation, heuristic
Organisations: Operational Research

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 48882
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/48882
ISSN: 0740-817X
PURE UUID: 42f2edd8-4ecf-4c6e-8721-d66d6a18dae3
ORCID for Athanassios N. Avramidis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9310-8894

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Oct 2007
Last modified: 24 Sep 2019 00:43

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Contributors

Author: Wyean Chan
Author: Pierre L'Ecuyer

University divisions

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