How to cut waiting time for on-call services

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Washington, Aug 27 (ANI): Hate holding the phone while waiting for a customer support executive to listen to your grievance? Well, researchers in Kuwait have claimed that adding just one more representative to a telephone call centre for employee technical support is enough to cut queuing time and costs.

The findings could be applied to the general case for call centres across the globe.

Fawaz Abdulmalek and Ali Allahverdi of the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, at Kuwait University, explain that one of the big problems facing many companies is the excessive waiting time to fix a personal computer or address software-related problems through the company's internal IT support.

They pointed out that currently an employee waits, on average, three and a half hours until a PC problem is resolved.

The researchers have investigated how well a telecommunications company in Kuwait with more than 800 employees handles its IT support.

In the study, they built a computer model that could simulate response times and support queues.

They imagined five different scenarios, the first of which represents the current company setup with six technicians providing IT support for employees.

In each of the other four scenarios, the number of technicians is incremented by one in order to find the optimum number of technicians.

Two performance measures are used for comparison-namely waiting times and service cost- that are converted into monetary terms so that the comparison is made easier.

The team has now used their model to optimise the number of support technicians needed at the company while minimizing total cost by taking into account the idle time of employees, while they have computer problems addressed and the wages of the technicians.

The simulation results indicated that by just hiring one more technician it was possible to reduce the total cost significantly, as it cuts waiting time from three and a half hours to just half an hour.

The time saved compared with increased cost for adding two, three, or four technicians to the current team of six, is much lower, although additional timesavings can be made.

With two additional technicians cutting idle time to about ten minutes, and three to about four minutes.

Four additional technicians or more is unlikely to offer much of a time saving but will be an added salary cost nevertheless.

The study is published in the International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation. (ANI)

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