Title: Staffing and routing in a two-tier call centre

Authors: Sameer Hasija, Edieal J. Pinker, Robert A. Shumsky

Addresses: Simon School, University of Rochester, Rochester NY 14627, USA. ' Simon School, University of Rochester, Rochester NY 14627, USA. ' Simon School, University of Rochester, Rochester NY 14627, USA

Abstract: This paper studies service systems with gatekeepers who diagnose a customer problem and then either refer the customer to an expert or attempt treatment. We determine the staffing levels and referral rates that minimise the sum of staffing, customer waiting, and mistreatment costs. We also compare the optimal gatekeeper system (a two-tier system) with a system staffed with only experts (a direct-access system). When waiting costs are high, a direct-access system is preferred unless the gatekeepers have a high skill level. We also show that an easily computed referral rate from a deterministic system closely approximates the optimal referral rate.

Keywords: staffing levels; call routing; queueing systems; two-tier call centres; gatekeeper systems; referral rates; waiting costs; capacity planning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJOR.2005.007431

International Journal of Operational Research, 2005 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.8 - 29

Published online: 20 Jul 2005 *

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