Media Releases

How much is that call worth? New model shows companies how to tailor service levels to different types of customers

October 6, 2016

Toron­to, ON – Call cen­tres can be expen­sive as well as the source of lots of con­sumer angst. But com­pa­nies can get more bang for their buck by doing a bet­ter job of coor­di­nat­ing mar­ket­ing deci­sions that dri­ve cus­tomers to call cen­tres with oper­a­tional ones about han­dling them once they get there, says a new study from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to’s Rot­man School of Man­age­ment.

The study, co-authored by Pro­fes­sors Philipp Afèche and Opher Baron in the Rot­man School’s Oper­a­tions Man­age­ment and Sta­tis­tics Area, and Mojta­ba Araghi, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at Wil­frid Lau­ri­er Uni­ver­si­ty, pro­vides an inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing-oper­a­tions frame­work to help com­pa­nies design more effec­tive ser­vice poli­cies for their call cen­tres and oth­er ser­vice chan­nels.

The frame­work builds on a the­o­ret­i­cal mod­el that maps the flow of new and exist­ing cus­tomers through the call cen­tre and their con­sumer deci­sions after­wards, based on their expe­ri­ence.

Unlike pre­vi­ous research, the mod­el links call cen­tre capac­i­ty, ser­vice qual­i­ty and how that qual­i­ty influ­ences future con­sumer behav­iour.

“Our mod­el high­lights that it is impor­tant for com­pa­nies to be able to answer ques­tions like: How does a par­tic­u­lar cus­tomer behave if they don’t get served? What’s the chance that they will leave the com­pa­ny — or spend more, depend­ing on the ser­vice qual­i­ty they’ve received?” says Prof. Afèche. This can give com­pa­nies insight into design­ing dif­fer­ent ser­vice lev­els for dif­fer­ent types of cus­tomers, depend­ing on their val­ue to the com­pa­ny.

Too often, says Prof. Afèche, call cen­tres react in response to mar­ket­ing deci­sions, rather than the two func­tions work­ing togeth­er to deter­mine which cus­tomers to tar­get in a mar­ket­ing cam­paign and what capac­i­ty needs to be there to serve them. Tra­di­tion­al ways of mea­sur­ing cus­tomer val­ue, mean­while, can ignore how that val­ue is affect­ed by ser­vice qual­i­ty, lead­ing to poor­er deci­sions about attract­ing and keep­ing them.

“Our mod­el gives com­pa­nies a more com­plete pic­ture of the val­ue of a cus­tomer,” says Prof. Afèche.

Get­ting things right at the call cen­tre has been shown to be vital to busi­ness­es. Pre­vi­ous research has shown that com­pa­nies use call cen­tres for 80% of their cus­tomer inter­ac­tions and 92% of cus­tomers base their opin­ion of the com­pa­ny on what hap­pens dur­ing their call. Four out of ten cus­tomers who end their busi­ness with a com­pa­ny place the blame square­ly on a cus­tomer ser­vice call that went bad­ly.

For the lat­est think­ing on busi­ness, man­age­ment and eco­nom­ics from the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment, vis­it

The Rot­man School of Man­age­ment is locat­ed in the heart of Canada’s com­mer­cial and cul­tur­al cap­i­tal and is part of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, one of the world’s top 20 research uni­ver­si­ties. The Rot­man School fos­ters a new way to think that enables our grad­u­ates to tack­le today’s glob­al busi­ness and soci­etal chal­lenges.  For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it


For more infor­ma­tion:

Ken McGuf­fin
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions
Rot­man School of Man­age­ment
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Tel: 416.946.3818

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