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Stochastic Modeling and Management of an Emergency Call Center: A Case Study at the Swedish Emergency CallCenter Provider, SOS Alarm Sverige AB
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Systems and Technology. (Risk and crisis research centre, RCR)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9244-8870
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A key task of managing an inbound call center is in estimating its performance and consequently plan its capacity, which can be considered a complex task since several system variables are stochastic. These issues are highly crucial for certain time-sensitive services, such as emergency call services. Waiting times affect the service quality of call centers in general, but various customers may place different waiting time expectancies depending on the need. Call center managers struggle to find the relationship between these expectations to their strategical, tactical and operational issues. They are assisted by queueing models that approximate the outcome. Simple setups use analytical approximations while a network of multi-skilled agents serving several customer classes is dependent on computer simulations. Regardless of simple or complex setups, models assume that the system components are homogenous, that the components have some parametric distribution, and that they remain the same regardless of the setup. Human resource and marketing research show that such status quo assumptions are not highly reliable. As an example, customer experience is often affected by the skill of the agent, and agents themselves are affected by their workload and duties, which inter alia affect their efficiency. This thesis aim to assist the Swedish emergency call center with a strategical issue, which require detection of some causalities in the set of system components. The overall aim is to design a simulation model, but such model requires a lot of detailed system knowledge, which itself adds to the knowledge gap in the research field. Findings that contribute to the scientific knowledge body include the burst model that addresses some of the non-stationarity of call arrivals, since some rapid rate increments derives from a latent emergency event. Other contributions are the introduction of stochastic agent behavior, which increases the uncertainty in queueing models; and the service time relationship to geographical distance. The latter may involve general evidence on how area-specific understanding and cultural differences affect the quality of service. This is important for organizations that consider off-shoring or outsourcing their call center service. These findings, along with several undiscovered and unknown influencers, are needed in order to design a reliable simulation model. However, the proposed model in this study cannot be rejected, in terms of waiting time replication. This robust model allowed traffic routing strategies to be evaluated and also assisted managers of the emergency call center into a strategical shift in the late 2015.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2018. , p. 59
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 141
Keywords [en]
Call Center Management, Burst Modeling, Stochastic Resources, Skills-Based Routing, Discrete-Event-Simulation
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-33638ISBN: 978-91-88527-58-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-33638DiVA, id: diva2:1206219
Presentation
2018-06-13, L111, Mittuniversitetet, Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för framläggningen av avhandlingen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 1 och 3 inskickat.

At the time of the defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 1 and 3 submitted.

Available from: 2018-05-17 Created: 2018-05-16 Last updated: 2018-05-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Modeling bursts in the arrival process to an emergency call center
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modeling bursts in the arrival process to an emergency call center
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-33640 (URN)
Conference
Winter Simulation Conference 2018
Available from: 2018-05-17 Created: 2018-05-17 Last updated: 2018-05-21Bibliographically approved
2. Service Time Effects of Distancing from the Customer, A Case Study from the Swedish Emergency Call Center
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Service Time Effects of Distancing from the Customer, A Case Study from the Swedish Emergency Call Center
2017 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Distancing contact centers from the customer is a highlighted strategic measure in call center industry, argued to reach higher efficiency and reduce operational costs. There is however a lack of empirical evidence about the side-effects of distancing, and academia has requested a mapping of the hidden costs accompanied with moving the operator from its customer. This study examines the relationship between service time and distance, by a designed quasi-distance scale between the customer and the operator. The result indicates a distance dependency, but the main effect is not due to the distance but rather due to characteristics of the office and caller origin independently. The study also stipulate a framework how big data can be converted into valuable information to call center managers, and provide insights of areas where further training and technological improvements should be focused.

Series
International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management IEEM
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32067 (URN)000428267800128 ()2-s2.0-85045251840 (Scopus ID)978-1-5386-0948-4 (ISBN)
Conference
International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, Singapore, 10-13 December, 2017
Projects
Simulering och optimering av trafikstyrningslösningar på SOS Alarm
Available from: 2017-11-14 Created: 2017-11-14 Last updated: 2019-03-26Bibliographically approved
3. Simulating routing strategies of inbound calls at the Swedish emergency call center
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Simulating routing strategies of inbound calls at the Swedish emergency call center
(English)In: European Journal of Industrial Engineering, ISSN 1751-5254, E-ISSN 1751-5262Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Keywords
Call center management, Skills-based routing, Overflow routing, Pooling, Stochastic capacity, Discrete-event simulation
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-33641 (URN)
Available from: 2018-05-17 Created: 2018-05-17 Last updated: 2018-05-17Bibliographically approved

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Gustavsson, Klas

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