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A method and apparatus to transform Back-office operations staffing to Front-office staffing problem in a Contact Center.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236954D
Publication Date: 2014-May-23
Document File: 8 page(s) / 179K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

We address the problem of minimizing staffing cost in a contact center subject to service level requirements. Contact centers mainly provide 2 types services at large. Centers providing front office support i.e. voice support and centers providing back office support i.e. emails, ticket resolution etc. For both of these functionalities and for a call center to work effectively, it is important to plan the number of agents required for handling the incoming jobs. Capacity Planning is a complex process and addresses dynamics involved in type of service, their arrival patterns, time required for service, SLA metrics, supply parameters like shrinkage, shift times and length, etc. This features focuses on capacity planning problem for back office (BO) contact centers where the time to respond can be from a few hours to a few days, and hence it becomes important to control the waiting time and benefit from it.

Staffing the right number of people in order to respond to SRs in time while employing low number of agents is a very difficult problem to solve. The staffing for future is done based on forecast of incoming demand and request handling time. There exist no system and method for planning back office operations where effective waiting time control is being used. For several reasons such as no abandonments in back office operations, service can be delayed given the longer response time requirements, and many more. This renders methods used for staffing voice support centers inapplicable for BO. We design an apparatus to control waiting time in back office operations delivery such that staffing requirements can be minimized. Taking business and shift constraints into considerations, our method delays each SR by appropriate amount of time so that staffing requirements are minimized.

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A method and apparatus to transform Back -office operations staffing to Front -office staffing problem in a Contact Center .

Problem:
￿ Contact center is a business process outsourcing unit providing support (technical/non-technical) to the end customer of its client (party who has outsourced the business)
￿ They mainly provide 2 types services at large. Centers providing front office support i.e. voice support and centers providing back office support i.e. emails, ticket resolution, etc.
￿ For both of these functionalities and for a call center to work effectively, it is important to plan the number of agents required for handling the incoming jobs. Such a process is called Capacity Planning.
￿ Capacity Planning is a complex process and addresses dynamics involved in type of service, their arrival patterns, time required for service, SLA metrics, supply parameters like shrinkage, shift times and length, etc.
￿ Waiting time or time to respond (TTR) is the time required for a contact to get answered from the time it enters the queue.
￿ Contact centers (CCs) handle incoming service requests (SRs) from customers, and they need to respond within a reasonable time frame defined as business constraint.

- In case of call centers (front office or FO), the waiting time has to be under a specified time limit (usually ranging from a few seconds to few minutes) hence control is not required
- In case of contact centers (back office or BO), the time to respond can be from a few hours to a few days hence it becomes important to control the waiting time and benefit from it.
￿ Staffing the right number of people in order to respond to SRs in time while employing low number of agents is a very difficult problem to solve. The staffing for future is done based on forecast of incoming demand and request handling time.
￿ There exist no system and method for planning back office operations where effective waiting time control is being used. Several reasons such as no abandonments in back office operations, service can be delayed given the longer response time requirements, and many more. This renders methods used for staffing FO inapplicable for BO.

￿ Goal:Design an apparatus to control waiting time in back office operations delivery such that staffing requirements can be minimized.

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Method

     Design of a system and method to control waiting time in back office operations delivery such that staffing requirements can be minimized
- Method 1: A method to implicitly assign the waiting time to service requests/contacts as they arrive in which if served without any significant further delay (like front office service policy) will yield optimal planning solution.

• The method involves design of contact handling window which enforces the maximum delay that can happen for any contact
• The method involves fluid approximation of contacts/work-load which assumes only the infinitesimal work-load is under service and rest everything is in q...