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A Hybrid Approach to Minimize the Cost of Staffing a Call Center

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Intellectual Contribution by Robert Saltzman

Contribution Title

A Hybrid Approach to Minimize the Cost of Staffing a Call Center

Publication

International Journal of Operations and Quantitative Management

Co-author

Year

2005

Description

This article describes a hybrid approach to staffing agents at an inbound call center. Because they face a non-stationary call arrival pattern, managers find it difficult to neatly match agent supply to caller demand, resulting in some periods being overstaffed and some understaffed. To find an attractive staffing plan, the costs of labor, customer abandonment and waiting time are explicitly represented here, and the total cost of waiting and service is minimized. The minimization is performed by an Excel-based routine that is a hybrid of several tools: Excel's Solver finds a good initial staffing plan; a call center simulation model evaluates the performance and cost of a given staffing plan; and a Visual Basic tabu search heuristic improves upon the initial staffing plan. In one case, applying the hybrid approach reduced total daily costs of the call center's existing staffing plan by nearly 18%.

Complete Citation

Saltzman, R. M., "A Hybrid Approach to Minimize the Cost of Staffing a Call Center," International Journal of Operations and Quantitative Management, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 1-14, March 2005.

Website

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