Call centre design, operation and optimisation : a structured and scientific based approach

Du Preez, Johan Joubert (2008-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Industrial Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.


Call centres form an increasingly important part of the modern day business environment and perform an important role in the strategic and operational aspects of organisations. Call centres have emerged and developed to provide efficient and cost effective communication channels between organisations and their customers. Call centres are often the largest or only channel used to access customers or for customers to access organisations. Early call centres were seen as cost centres and operated in a similar manner, often resulting in poor and unsatisfactory performance. Modern call centres are being approached in a different way. They are aligned with the strategic objectives of the organisation and are seen as performance centres and revenue drivers. Modern call centres are dynamic and complex organisations, both technologically and operationally. Performance objectives are often conflicting and controlling parameters have to be finely balanced in a volatile environment. It is therefore imperative to utilise call centres effectively and efficiently. This can only be achieved by a structured and scientific operations research based approach. The research was initiated by the requirement of a call centre design and implementation as part of a larger business process reengineering project. The thesis provides an overview of the call centre environment and operational aspects. A structured call centre design model is reviewed and two aspects namely workforce management and performance management are found to form the core of the design and operations activities. The call centre design model is then integrated with the proposed workforce management and performance management models. These models are developed using scientific operations research approach. The structured modelling approach is then used to guide the design, operation, and optimisation of the call centre of the case study. The structured and scientific operations research based approach proved to be of great significance when confronted with the dynamic and complex call centre environment. Through using the structured approach the design, operation, and optimisation activities could be conducted successfully and performance objectives were reached.

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