The effective management of call centers is a challenging task mainly because managers are consistently facing considerable uncertainty. Among important sources of uncertainty are call arrival rates which are typically time-varying, stochastic, dependent across time periods and across call types, and often affected by external events. Accurately modeling and forecasting future call arrival volumes is a complicated issue which is critical for making important operational decisions, such as staffing and scheduling, in the call center. In this paper, we review the existing literature on modeling and forecasting call arrivals. We also discuss the key issues in building good statistical arrival models. Additionally, we evaluate the forecasting accuracy of selected models in an empirical study with real-life call center data. We conclude by summarizing future research directions in this important field.
Published August 2015 , 17 pages