Establishing agent staffing levels in queueing systems with cross-trained and specialized agents
The determination of the right number of servers in a multi-server queueing system is one of the most important problems in applied queueing theory. The problem becomes more complex in a system that consists of both cross-trained and specialized servers. Such queueing systems are readily found in the call centres (also called contact centres) of financial institutions, telemarketing companies and other organizations that provide services to customers in multiple languages. They are also found in computer network systems where some servers are dedicated and others are flexible enough to handle various clients' requests. Over-staffing of these systems causes increased labour costs for the underutilized pool of agents on duty, while under-staffing results in reduced revenue from lost customers and an increase in queue times. The efficient design and analysis of these systems helps management in making better staffing decisions. This thesis aims to develop models for establishing agent staffing levels in organizations with cross-trained and specialized staff with a view to minimizing cost and maintaining a desirable customer satisfaction. The work investigates the effect of various traffic loads on the number of agents required and the cost. It also considers how using specialized agents, flexible agents and a combination of both categories of agents affects the system. It uses a contact centre that has agents with monolingual, bilingual and trilingual (English, French and Spanish) capabilities to do the study.
queueing systems, cross-training, service rate factor, agent cost factor, specialized agents, cross-trained agents
Master of Science (M.Sc.)