Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris

Call centers

  • Thomas A. GrossmanJr.
  • Sherry L. Oh
  • Thomas R. Rohleder
  • Douglas A. Samuelson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_95

A call center can be defined as “any group whose principal business activity is talking on the telephone to customers or prospects” (Mehrotra, 1997). In 1994, American call centers employed 6.5 million people in 350,000 businesses, a dramatic increase from more than 500,000 people in 1,650 businesses in 1980 (Brigandi et al., 1994). More recent estimates, from non-archival sources, are that some 69,500 call centers in the U.S. generated $23 billion in services revenues in 1998, compared with $15.4 billion two years earlier. These sources caution, however, that definitions of what constitutes a call center vary, and consequently the numbers vary as well. Outbound telemarketing generated $482.2 billion in sales in 1998. Growth in the call services market averaged about 20% per year for the past five years and is expected to continue at a similar rate (CCNS, 1999). The application of OR/MS is increasing in parallel with their growth, and opportunities for research and practice are...

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. GrossmanJr.
    • 1
  • Sherry L. Oh
    • 1
  • Thomas R. Rohleder
    • 1
  • Douglas A. Samuelson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Info Logix, Inc.AnnandaleUSA