When Promotions Meet Operations: Cross Selling and Its Effect on Call-Center Performance, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM)
We study cross-selling operations in call centers. The following question is addressed: How many customer-service representatives are required (staffing) and when should cross-selling opportunities be exercised (control) in a way that will maximize the expected profit of the center while maintaining a pre-specified service level target. We tackle this question by characterizing control and staffing schemes that are asymptotically optimal in the limit, as the system load grows large. Our main finding is that a threshold priority (TP) control, in which cross-selling is exercised only if the number of callers in the system is below a certain threshold, is asymptotically optimal in great generality. The asymptotic optimality of TP reduces the staffing problem to a solution of a simple deterministic problem, in one regime, and to a simple search procedure in another. We show that our joint staffing and control scheme is nearly optimal for large systems. Furthermore, it performs extremely well even for relatively small systems.
Itai Gurvich, Mor Armony
Gurvich, Itai, and Mor Armony. 2010. When Promotions Meet Operations: Cross Selling and Its Effect on Call-Center Performance. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM) . 12(3): 470-488.LINK