Staffing and Control of Instant Messaging Contact Centers

Forthcoming in Operations Research

38 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012 Last revised: 11 Dec 2012

See all articles by Jun Luo

Jun Luo

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Jiheng Zhang


Date Written: December 11, 2012


In addition to traditional call centers, many companies have started building a new kind of customer contact centers, in which agents communicate with customers via instant messaging (IM) over the Internet rather than phone calls. A distinctive feature of the service centers based on IM is that one agent can serve multiple customers in parallel. We choose to model such a center as a server pool consisting of many limited processor sharing (LPS) servers. We characterize the underlying stochastic processes by establishing a fluid approximation in the many-server heavy-traffic regime. The limiting behavior of the stochastic processes is shown to involve a stochastic averaging principle, and the fluid approximation provides insights into the optimal staffing and control for such service centers.

Keywords: Many-server Queues, Limited Processor Sharing, Fluid Models, Staffing and Control

Suggested Citation

Luo, Jun and Zhang, Jiheng, Staffing and Control of Instant Messaging Contact Centers (December 11, 2012). Forthcoming in Operations Research, Available at SSRN: or

Jun Luo

Shanghai Jiao Tong University ( email )

No.535 Fahuazhen Road
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai, Shanghai 200052

Jiheng Zhang (Contact Author)

HKUST ( email )

Clear Water Bay
Hong Kong

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