Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2007

Publication Source

Manufacturing & Service Operations Management

Volume

9

Issue

1

Start Page

33

Last Page

50

DOI

10.1287/msom.1060.0119

Abstract

Companies may choose to outsource parts, but not all, of their call-center operations. In some cases, they classify customers as high or low value, serving the former with their in-house operations and routing the latter to an outsourcer. Typically, they impose service-level constraints on the time each type of customer waits on hold.

This paper considers four schemes for routing low-value calls between the client company and the outsourcer. These schemes vary in the complexity of their routing algorithms, as well as the sophistication of the telephone and information technology infrastructure they require of the two operations. For three of these schemes, this paper provides a direct characterization of system performance. For the fourth, most complex, scheme the paper provides performance bounds for the important special case in which the service requirements of high- and low-value callers are the same. These results allow the systematic comparison of the performance of the various routing schemes. The results suggest that, for clients with large outsourcing requirements, the simpler schemes that require little client-outsourcer coordination can perform very well.

Keywords

call routing, outsourcing, priority routing, call-center staffing, bursty call arrival

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.