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Term Project – Call Center Operations. SOM 686, Fall 2006 Darren Mitchell Hayden Gilbert Serge Suprun. Agenda. Overview Call Center Statistics (October), Definitions & Forecast Process View of the Call Center Call Center Competencies, Architecture, Three Key Measures & Little’s Law

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Term Project – Call Center Operations


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term project call center operations

Term Project – Call Center Operations

SOM 686, Fall 2006

Darren Mitchell

Hayden Gilbert

Serge Suprun

agenda
Agenda
  • Overview
  • Call Center Statistics (October), Definitions & Forecast
  • Process View of the Call Center
  • Call Center Competencies, Architecture, Three Key Measures & Little’s Law
  • Call Center Flow, Delays, Queues & Process Attributes
  • Flow Rate-related Measures of Call Center Capacity
  • Flow Time-related Measures of Customer Delay
  • Inventory-related Measures of Customer Queues
  • Performance Improvements & Managing Capacity
overview
Overview
  • Time Warner Cable Los Angeles
    • Bought Adelphia
    • Exchanged properties with Comcast
    • Now provides cable, internet & telephone services to over 2 million customers.
  • Time Warner Advanced support is local
    • Teamed up with outsourced partner to provide basic support for all three products.
  • Basic support includes: billing, basic repair, changes to the accounts & general questions.
  • Outsourced partner provides basic support from 3 call center locations: USA, Canada & Argentina.
overview4
Overview
  • Call Center in Argentina supports English & Spanish-speaking customers.
  • There are 36 agents employed in the center
    • 12 are Spanish only
    • 24 are bilingual
  • On average, the call center handles 40,000 calls per month.
  • However, over last 2 months handled calls were 36.5% over forecast.
  • Service level suffered over past 2 months too
    • In October, only 32.4% of calls were answered within appropriate time limit.
call center statistics october and definitions
Call Center Statistics (October) and Definitions
  • NCO – number of calls offered
  • ABA – number of calls abandoned; ABA% - percentage of calls abandoned
  • SVL – service level
  • ASA – average speed of answer
  • Hand – average handle time
forecast
Forecast
  • Past 2 months, Argentina used naïve forecast:
    • (Based on the last year historical data)
    • Forecast didn’t take into the account recent product changes & integration projects
    • As a result  October call volume was 32.4% over forecast.
  • We are suggesting to use Moving average forecast.

Ex:

  • MA103 = (A10+ A9+ A8)/3, using last months data is (54,494+56,221+50,221)/3=53,636
  • Therefore, F11=53,636. November forecast should be for 53,636 calls. This would allow Argentina to staff appropriately.
process view of the call center
Process View of the Call Center

Process

Inputs

Outputs

  • Inputs/Outputs – customers calling for service/customers completed the call
  • Flow Units – customers
  • Network of Activities and Buffers – answering customers’ calls
  • Resources – customer service agents (CSA), phone automated system (PAS), etc.
  • Information Structure – account management system, reference materials, etc.
call center competencies and architecture
Call Center Competencies and Architecture
  • 4 Dimensions for measuring the competence of the call center:
    • Process Cost
    • Process Flow Time
    • Process Flexibility
    • Process Quality.
  • Argentina call center focuses on the low cost.
    • Call center provides high-quality Spanish support.
  • Argentina call center process architecture is defined by the types of resources (CSA, PAS, etc).
    • Call center falls somewhere along the spectrum between two extremes (flow shop and job shop).
    • Flow shop fits better, as call center uses specialized resources that perform limited tasks & produce large volumes with high precision and speed.
three key call center measures
Three Key Call Center Measures
  • Flow Time = Time Customer spends:
    • In automated phone system
    • Waiting in the queue for an agent
    • Talking to an agent.

Ex: October Average PAS time is 46, Queue average waiting time is 32 & handle time is 462 seconds.

T=540 seconds

  • Flow Rate = Number of customers that flow through a specific point in the call center process per unit of time.
  • Inventory = Total number of customers present within call center boundaries.

Ex: Argentina call center is 24/7 & call patterns are very different.

Therefore, to simplify calculations we will use I=27 customers

little s law
Little’s Law
  • Throughput = Average number of customers that flow through the call center per unit of time.
  • Little’s Law - Average inventory (=) Throughput (x) Average flow time.
    • I = R x T

Ex:

We identified:

T = 540 seconds (9 min)

I = 27 customers.

Therefore, R = I/T

R = 27/9

R = 3 customers/minute

call center flow delays and queues
Call Center Flow, Delays and Queues

Capacity

Rp = c/Tp

Arrival Rate

Throughput

Customer

Customer

Ri

R = Min (Ri, Rp)

Number:

Time:

In:

Ii + Ip = I

Ti + Tp = T

Queue + Service =Process

call center process attributes
Call Center Process Attributes
  • Inflow Rate Ri = Average rate of customer arrivals per unit time.
    • In the Argentinean call center, Ri = 5 customers/minute

Processing Time Tp = Average time required by agent to process the customer.

    • Tp = 462 (agent) + 46 (PAS) = 508 seconds
  • c = Number of agents in the resource pool
    • c = 36 agents in Argentina
  • Process capacity (Rp)= Total processing rate at which customers are processed by agents in the resource pool.
    • Rp = c/Tp orRp = 36/8.47 = 4.25 customers/minute
  • Buffer capacity (K) = Maximum number of customers that can wait in queue.
    • K = 120 (there are 10 lines that can hold 12 each at any given time)
flow rate related measures of call center capacity
Flow Rate-related Measures of Call Center Capacity
  • Throughput rate (R) = Average rate at which customers flow through the call center process
    • R = min (Ri, Rp)
    • In our case, Rp is smaller, so R = Rp = 4.25
  • Capacity utilization (ρ) = Average fraction of the resource pool capacity that is occupied in processing customers
    • ρ = R/Rp
    • In our case, R = Rp and ρ = 1
      • Our resource pool is constantly busy processing customers.
  • Safety capacity (Rs) = Excess processing capacity available to handle the customers inflows.
    • Rs = Rp – Ri
    • In our case, Rs = 4.25 – 5 = -0.75
      • All the available capacity is busy processing arrivals.
flow time related measures of customer delay
Flow Time-related Measures of Customer Delay
  • Average waiting time (Ti) = Time that a customer spends in queue.
    • Ti =32 seconds.
  • Average theoretical time = Average processing time of a customer.
    • Tp =462 seconds + 46 seconds (automated system) = 508 seconds
  • Average flow time in the process (T) = Average time that a customer spends waiting in queue & being served
    • T = Ti + Tp or T
    • 508 + 32 = 540 seconds or 9 minutes
  • Flow time efficiency = Proportion of time that a customer spends being served rather than waiting in queue
    • Tp / T = .94
inventory related measures of customer queues
Inventory-related Measures of Customer Queues
  • Average queue length = Average number of customers waiting for service
    • Ii = R x Ti
    • Ii = 4.25 x 0.53 = 2.25 customers waiting for service
  • Average number of customers in service = Average in-process inventory
    • Ip = R x Tp
    • Ip = 4.25 x 8.47 = 35.99 customers in service
  • Average total number of customers in the process
    • I = Ii + Ip
    • I = 2.25 + 35.99 = 38.24 customers in the process
call center flow delays and queues16
Call Center Flow, Delays and Queues

Capacity

Rp = c/Tp

Arrival Rate

Throughput

Customer

Customer

5 customers/min

4.25 customers/min

Number:

Time:

In:

2.25 + 35.99 = 38.24

508 + 32 = 540 seconds

Queue + Service = Process

performance improvements
Performance Improvements

The following levers improved process performance:

  • Decrease variability in customer interarrival & processing times.
  • Decrease capacity utilization (or increase safety capacity) either by
    • Decreasing the arrival rate or increasing the unit processing rate
    • Increasing the number of servers
  • Synchronize the available capacity with demand.
managing capacity
Managing Capacity
  • Capacity utilization (ρ = Ri/Rp ) can be reduced by increasing average processing rate (Rp)
  • In order to increase processing rate (Rp = c/Tp) we recommended decreasing average processing time (Tp)
  • To achieve a decrease in processing time:
    • Identified that billing & escalated calls took longer to handle in this call center vs. similar centers.
    • Thus recommended & implemented 2 separate hour training segments
      • Billing prorates explanation
      • How to handle escalated calls
call center statistics november
Call Center Statistics (November)
  • Processing time decreased to 410 seconds
    • Tp = 410+46 = 456 seconds or 7.6 minutes
  • Process capacity Rp = c/Tp or Rp = 36/456 = 4.74 customers/minute
  • Result: Capacity Utilization ρ = Ri/Rp or 5/4.74 = 1.06