Dynamic call center routing policies using call waiting and agent idle times

W. Chan, G.M. Koole, P. L'Ecuyer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We study call routing policies for call centers with multiple call types and multiple agent groups. We introduce new weight-based routing policies where each pair (call type, agent group) is given a matching priority defined as an affine combination of the longest waiting time for that call type and the longest idle time or the number of idle agents in that agent group. The coefficients in this combination are parameters to be optimized. This type of policy is more flexible than traditional ones found in practice, and it performs better in many situations. We consider objective functions that account for the service levels, the abandonment ratios, and the fairness of occupancy across agent groups. We select the parameters of all considered policies via simulation-based optimization heuristics. This requires only the availability of a simulation model of the call center, which can be much more detailed and realistic than the models used elsewhere in the literature to study the optimality of certain types of routing rules. We offer a first numerical study of realistic routing rules that takes into account the complexity of real-life call centers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-560
JournalManufacturing and Service Operations Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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