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
4 CASE STUDY
In recent years, Navy Federal Credit Union has become
the world's largest credit union, offering an extensive
array of exceptional products geared to meet the specific
needs of its members. The credit union currently has
more than 1.6 million members and over $10 billion in
assets. For more than 60 years, Navy Federal has been
tailoring a customized assortment of services to the
lifestyles of the men and women of the U.S. Navy and
Marine Corps and members of their families.
Navy Federal Credit Unionís worldwide network of
over 80 member service centers includes 25 overseas
locations. Their services are supplemented by more than
320,000 ATMs around the world, telephone access (tollfree
telephone numbers, including Touch-Tone Teller,
an automated telephone transaction system), and the
mail. This means that Navy Federal is with their
members wherever they goó24 hours a day.
The initial impetus for acquiring simulation technology
was in response to a request by management for
additional toll-free lines of a certain call center. As a
result of significant blockage at the call center being
analyzed, management recommended the addition of
several lines in an effort to reduce call blockage
With simulation, analysts were able to prove that the
addition of telephone lines without additional agent
resources would merely increase queue time and toll
charges. Conservative estimates indicated that the
weekly increased toll charges resulting from the change
would pay for the technology in a matter of a few weeks.
Eddie Pruitte, call-center analyst at Navy Federal
Credit Union was the primary user and driving force
behind employing simulation as an analysis tool at Navy
Eddie recalls, "Recently a project manager was
assigned the task of improving the call-handling process
of one of our automated systems. Although the call
blockage was not enormous, it was steadily increasing.
The managerís first response was to purchase additional
IVR equipment. With simulation, the existing
application was modeled with its current configuration
and number of ports.
The results of the simulation revealed that not only
were there enough ports to handle additional call
volume, but the current volumes did not justify any
blockage at all; evidently calls were being blocked for
another reason. The project manager has reduced his
request for additional IVR ports from 96 to 24. This
equates to only one additional box instead of two
(assuming 48 port units). With the cost of a unit ranging
from $72k to $85k, if the recommendations for a
reduced purchase are implemented, the cost savings will
be quite evident.
Another of the credit unionís call centers outsources
calls after hours. The manager requested a study
to determine how many agents would be needed to
provide service comparable to normal business hours if
the centerís hours were extended.
With simulation, we were not only able to give
hourly staffing requirements, but also able to provide
handle times of calls by type. We were also able to
provide the manager with confidence intervals as they
pertained to staffing levels.
We are currently under contract to purchase and
implement skills based routing from a major vendor.
Our managers were informed more calls would be
handled because the number of transfers would be
reduced, and more experienced agents would receive
preference in the way of calls being forwarded to them
because they were more efficient.
One of our call centers uses complicated call-routing
schemes in their operations to give priority to
loan/revenue producing calls. After building a model to
replicate skills-based routing (as proposed by our
managers), we discovered we would answer more calls
overall. Unfortunately, we would answer fewer revenuegenerating
The WFM vendor did not have the requisite tools to
simulate our environment to test a configuration prior to
production. Normally, they installed skills-based routing
by trial and error methodology. Because of simulation,
we will not be susceptible to the possibility of losing
loan potential as a result of an incorrect guess."
With simulation, companies are now able to study offline
and without any disruption in service the impact of
change in their call centers. The risks associated with
making poor decisions and losing customers is
minimized. Proactive planning can now replace reactive
decision-making. Managers are better able to respond to
the sudden fluctuations and unpredictability that exists
in caller behavior. With simulation, the call center is
finally emerging as a manageable, responsive, and
customizable strategic weapon!
Bapat V., V. Mehrotra, and D. Profozich. November
1997. Simulation: The best way to design your call
center. In Telemarketing and Call Center Solutions
Bodin M. and K. Dawson. 1996 Call Center Handbook.
New York: Flatiron Publishing, Inc.
Pegden D., R. Shannon, and R. Sadowski. 1995. Introduction
to SIMAN using Simulation. New York:
Profozich, D. 1998. Managing Change. Upper Saddle
River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.