Live-chat agent assignments to heterogeneous E-customers under imperfect classification

Paulo Goes, Noyan Ilk, Wei T. Yue, J. Leon Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many e-commerce firms provide live-chat capability on their Web sites to promote product sales and to offer customer support.With increasing traffic on e-commerceWeb sites, providing such live-chat services requires a good allocation of service resources to serve the customers.When resources are limited, firms may consider employing priority-processing and reserving resources for high-value customers. In this article, we model a reserve-based priority-processing policy for e-commerce systems that have imperfect customer classification. Two policy decisions considered in the model are: (1) the number of agents exclusively reserved for highvalue customers, and (2) the configuration of the classification system. We derive explicit expressions for average waiting times of high-value and low-value customer classes and define a total waiting cost function. Through numerical analysis, we study the impact of these two policy decisions on average waiting times and total waiting costs. Our analysis finds that reserving agents for high-value customers may have negative consequences for such customers under imperfect classification. Further, we study the interaction between the two policy decisions and discuss how one decision should be modified with respect to a change in the other one in order to keep the waiting costs minimized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalACM Transactions on Management Information Systems
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

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Keywords

  • Customer classification
  • Live-chat system
  • Priority policy
  • Resource allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Science(all)

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