DSC Tech Library
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology and Best Practices plus software and products.
DSC is a leading provider of contact center technology and software solutions as well as predictive dialer phone systems for the modern call center. Customer contact center software includes CRM software and computer telephony integration solutions. These modern products help call center phone agents communicate effectively with your customers and prospects.
The following article presents product or service information relating to call centers and customer service help desks.
Using Simulation In Call Centers
Vivek Bapat Eddie B. Pruitte, Jr., Systems Modeling Corporation
Eddie B. Pruitte, Jr., Navy Federal Credit Union
A company's call center is its most visible strategic
weapon. It is a business battlefront where millions of
dollars of products and services are purchased, sold, and
traded. It is also a place where thousands of customers
are won and lost every second of every minute. As
leading companies become more creative in
disseminating information and providing value to their
customers over telephone lines, it is only natural that
they look to the call center as their beachhead into the
With the importance of call centers on the rise and as
reengineering activities within them growing rampant,
simulation technology is emerging as the best analysis
tool to manage change within an increasingly complex
environment (Profozich 1997).
This paper defines the value of simulation in callcenter
design, planning, and management by examining
key weaknesses and strengths of traditional approaches
and industry trends. It discusses how call centers can
maximize their investment in simulation.
1 WHY CALL CENTERS NEED SIMULATION?
1.1 A COMPLEX ENVIRONMENT
The trend within the call-center industry is one of
increasing complexity. The management and design of
the modern call center is becoming extremely complicated
due to rapid enhancements in technology, such as
the rampant growth and popularity of the Internet, a
myriad of demanding customer expectations, and
reengineering initiatives that include designing callrouting
and staffing strategies. Despite this, many
organizations still consider their call centers to be cost
centers, and are burdened by constant pressures to
reduce costs while still maintaining service-level objectives.
Yet there is a growing trend to take steps to move
call centers toward becoming profit centers thereby
generating significant revenues for their stakeholders.
A quick look inside a typical call center reveals
complex interaction between several "resources" and
"entities." Entities take the form of calls—or rather,
customers calling into the call center to receive service.
These calls, usually classified by call types, then navigate
through the call center according to call-control
tables or scripts designed to handle specific nuances
associated with each call type. While traversing through
the call center, calls occupy trunk lines, wait in one or
several queues, abandon queues, and are redirected
through interactive voice response (IVR) systems until
they reach their destination—the agent.
Since the agents have different call-handling skills, it
is the customer’s request that will determine whether the
agent handles the call or transfers it to another agent.
Once the call is handled, it then leaves the call
center. During all of these transactions, one critical
resource is consumed—time.
The objective of the call-center manager is twofold.
The first is to achieve a high service level; i.e., to get the
caller to an agent in the shortest amount of time,
(measured by waiting time, or in call-center lingo,
service level). The second is to provide the caller with
the appropriate information in the most efficient manner
(measured by call talk time and handle time). The net
objective is to minimize the time spent by the caller in
the call center, while providing the best possible service.
These primary measures and objectives usually reflect
the performance of a call center.
Balancing these objectives can be a challenging task
for call-center analysts. Furthermore, there exists a great
deal of sensitivity in the cause and effect of the
performance parameters involved. For example, a small
tweak in call routing may have a significant debilitating
change on customer service, and on the bottom line. A
minor reduction in trunk-line capacity may cause too
many busies and a potential for lost customers. Incorrect
staffing may cause long wait times, frustrated customers,
and exasperated agents. These circular relationships
must be defined and analyzed carefully in order to
achieve peak performance for the call center.
Systems Modeling Corporation
504 Beaver Street
Sewickley, Pennsylvania 15143, U.S.A.
Eddie B. Pruitte, Jr.
Navy Federal Credit Union
820 Follin Lane
Vienna, Virginia 22180, U.S.A.