We study a call center model with a postponed callback option. A customer at the head of the queue whose elapsed waiting time achieves a given threshold receives a voice message mentioning the option to be called back later. This callback option differs from the traditional ones found in the literature where the callback offer is given at customer’s arrival. We approximate this system by a two-dimensional Markov chain, with one dimension being a unit of a discretization of the waiting time. We next show that this approximation model converges to the exact one. This allows us to obtain explicitly the performance measures without abandonment and to compute them numerically otherwise. From the performance analysis, we derive a series of practical insights and recommendations for a clever use of the callback offer. In particular, we show that this time-based offer outperforms traditional ones when considering the waiting time of inbound calls.

Callback, Markov chains, Performance evaluation, Queueing systems, Waiting time
OR Spectrum

Legros, B, Ding, S, van der Mei, R.D, & Jouini, O. (2017). Call centers with a postponed callback offer. OR Spectrum, 39, 1097–1125. doi:10.1007/s00291-017-0487-x