Don't Call Us, We'll Call You: An Empirical Study of Caller Behavior Under a Callback Option

59 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019

See all articles by Brett Hathaway

Brett Hathaway

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Seyed Morteza Emadi

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

Vinayak Deshpande

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Operations Area

Date Written: March 8, 2019

Abstract

While call centers have recently invested in callback technology, the impact of this innovation on caller behavior and call center performance is not clearly understood. Using call center data from a US commercial bank, we perform an empirical study of the callers' decision-making process in the presence of a callback option. We formulate a structural model of the caller decision-making process, and impute their underlying preferences from the data. Our estimates show that callers experience substantially less discomfort per unit of time while waiting for callbacks than while waiting in queue. However, we also find that, after controlling for expected waiting times, callers generally prefer actively waiting in queue over accepting a callback and waiting offline. Using the estimates of our model, we are able to conduct counterfactual analyses of how various callback policies affect the performance of this call center. This helps managers to gauge different callback policies against each other to find the most effective policy before implementing it. Our counterfactual analyses show that offering to hold the callers' spot in line or to call back within a short window improves service quality by decreasing callers' average incurred waiting cost. Moreover, we find that offering callbacks as a demand postponement strategy during periods of temporary congestion substantially increases service quality and system throughput.

Keywords: Consumer Behavior, Queueing, Structural Estimation

JEL Classification: M

Suggested Citation

Hathaway, Brett and Emadi, Seyed Morteza and Deshpande, Vinayak, Don't Call Us, We'll Call You: An Empirical Study of Caller Behavior Under a Callback Option (March 8, 2019). Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Research Paper No. 19-10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3349486 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3349486

Brett Hathaway (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

Seyed Morteza Emadi

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

Vinayak Deshpande

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Operations Area ( email )

300 Kenan Center Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

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