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...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. [1]
    Abboud, N., Inuiguchi, M., Sakawa, M., and Uemura, Y. (1998). “Manpower allocation using genetic annealing,” European Jl. Operational Research, 111, 405–420.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Aksin, O. Z. and Harker, P. T. (1997). “Staffing an In-bound Call Center.” INSEAD working paper 97/15/ TM, Fontainebleau, France. Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Andrews, B. H. and Cunningham, S. M. (1995). “L.L. Bean Improves Call-Center Forecasting.” Interfaces 25(6), 1–13.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Andrews, B. and Parsons, H. (1993). “Establishing Telephone-Agent Staffing Levels through Economic Optimization.” Interfaces 23(2), 14–20.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Australian National Audit Office (1996). “Telephone Call Centres Better Practice Guide and Accompanying Handbook.” Web page version, accessed 30 July 1998, Canberra [available at http://www.anao.gov.au/bpgtelecentres/telebpg.html]. Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Bechtold, S. E., Brusco, M. J., and Showalter, M. J. (1991). “A Comparative Evaluation of Labor Tour Scheduling Methods,” Decision Sciences 22, 683–699.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Brigandi, A. J., Dargon, D. R., Sheehan, M. J., and Spencer, T., III (1994). “AT&T's Call Processing Simulator (CAPS) Operational Design for Inbound Call Centers.” Interfaces 24(1), 6–28. Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Brusco, M. J. and Jacobs, L. W. (1993). “A Simulated Annealing Approach to the Solution of Flexible Labour Scheduling Problems,” Jl. Operational Research Society 44, 1191–1200.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Brusco, M. J., Jacobs, L. W., Bongiorno, R. J., Lyons, D. V., and Tang, B. (1995). “Improving Personnel Scheduling at Airline Stations.” Operations Research 43, 741–751.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    Buffa, E. S., Cosgrove, M. J., and Luce, B. J. (1976). “An Integrated Work Shift Scheduling System.” Decision Sciences 7, 620–630.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Call Center News Service (CCNS) (1999). The CCNS Newsletter, 3(2), Dawson Publishing, Brooklyn, New York [available from Web site, http://www.CallCenterNews.com/].Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Cleveland, B. and Mayben, J. (1997). Call Center Management on Fast Forward: Succeeding In Today's Dynamic Inbound Environment. Call Center Press, Annapolis, Maryland.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Dantzig, G. B. (1954). “A Comment on Edie's Traffic Delays at Toll Booths.” Jl. Operations Research Society America 2, 239–241.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    David, J. E. (1997). “Outbound Call Pacing Method Which Statistically Matches the Number of Calls Dialed to the Number of Available Operators,” U.S. Patent No. 5,640,445, June 17, Washington, D.C. Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Dowsland, K. A. (1998). “Nurse Scheduling: Tabu Search and Strategic Oscillation,” European Jl. Operational Research, 106, 393–407.Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    Edie, L. C. (1954). “Traffic Delays at Toll Booths,” Jl. Operations Research Society America 2, 107–138.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Glover, F. and McMillan, C. (1986). “The general employee scheduling problem: An Integration of MS and AI,” Computers and Operations Research 13, 563–573.Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    Henderson, S. G. and Mason, A. J. (1998). “Rostering by Iterating Integer Programming and Simulation.” Proceedings of the 1998 Winter Simulation Conference, D. Watson and J. Medeiros, eds., IEEE Press, Piscataway, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    Klungle, R. and Maluchnik, J. (1997–1998). “Call Center Forecasting at AAA Michigan.” Jl. Business Forecasting 16(4), 8–12.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    Mabert, V. A. (1985). “Short Interval Forecasting of Emergency Phone Call (11) Work Loads.” Jl. Operations Management 5, 259–271.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    MacPherson, Jr., G. F. (1988). What Senior Managers Need to Know About Incoming Call Centers. SLN, Inc., Annapolis, Maryland.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    Mason, A. J., Ryan, D. M., and Panton, D. M. (1997). “Integrated Simulation, Heuristic and Optimisation Approaches to Staff Scheduling,” Operations Research 46, 161–175.Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    Mehrotra, V. (1997). “Ringing Up Big Business.” OR/MS Today 24(4), 18–24.Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    Perkins, D. S. and Anton, J. (1997). “Best Practices for Customer Service Call Centers — An Exclusive Statistical Study,” Telemarketing & Call Center Solutions 15(10), 80–88.Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Samuelson, D. A. (1989). “System for Regulating Arrivals of Customers to Servers,” U.S. Patent No. 4,858,120, August 15, Washington, D.C. Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    Samuelson, D. A. (1999). “Call Attempt Pacing for Outbound Telephone Dialing Systems,” Interfaces 29(5). Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Segal, M. (1974). “The Operator-Scheduling Problem: A Network-Flow Approach,” Operations Research, 22, 808–823.Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    Thompson, G. M. (1996). “A simulated Annealing Heuristic for Shift-Scheduling Using Non-Continuously Available Employees,” Computers and Operations Research 23, 275–288.Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    Thompson, G. M. (1997). “Assigning Telephone Operators to Shifts at New Brunswick Telephone Company.” Interfaces 27(4), 1–11.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    Tien, J. M. and Kamiyama, A. (1982). “On Manpower Scheduling Algorithms,” SIAM Review 24, 275–287.Google Scholar

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