Staffing and Control of Instant Messaging Contact Centers
Forthcoming in Operations Research
38 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012 Last revised: 11 Dec 2012
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
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