Kauppakorkeakoulun julkaisuportaali
Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulun gradujen tiedot nyt Aaltodocissa: Aaltodoc-julkaisuarkisto
Kauppakorkeakoulu | Markkinoinnin ja johtamisen laitos | Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta | 2010
Tutkielman numero: 12284
Complexity as a cost driver in international call center management - Case: The Lufthansa Service Center Network
Tekijä: Heimo, Taina
Otsikko: Complexity as a cost driver in international call center management - Case: The Lufthansa Service Center Network
Vuosi: 2010  Kieli: eng
Laitos: Markkinoinnin ja johtamisen laitos
Aine: Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
Asiasanat: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; call center; call center; johtaminen; management; kansainvälinen; international; operaatiotutkimus; operational research; prosessit; processes; kustannukset; costs; tehokkuus; effectiveness
Sivumäärä: 145
Avainsanat: call center; contact center; international management; complexity; cost driver; cost efficiency; multinational corporation
Objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of complexity and its effect on the cost of providing call center services. Furthermore, the goal was to analyze how call center management can influence these costs. The research is positioned in the field of call center management, while complexity – defined in this study as the variety of services, and the characteristics of and requirements set for the service delivery – formed the starting point and motivation for the study. In particular, the study looks at the management of international call centers and service provision in the context of multinational corporations (MNC).

Methodology and Data Collection

The empirical research was conducted as a single case study of the Lufthansa Service Center network. The study used mixed methods of analysis, based on the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data from the Service Center network reporting system and from internal reports was used for providing an overview of the service portfolio and carrying out staff requirement calculations. Collection of qualitative data included aspects of ethnographic research and made use of participant observation, informal discussions and interviews as well as internal documents. The use of mixed methods and the depth of the study within a single case contributed to the understanding of the phenomenon of complexity.

Main Findings

The study concludes that complexity drives the cost of call center operations primarily through the required personnel capacity; low cost efficiency results from the low occupancy of the agents handling small separate call volumes. Seven sources of complexity identified in the case are discussed, highlighting also the links between the various factors. The findings of the study indicate that influencing the cost of service provision often necessitates touching the service content and structures on which the call handling is premised. The role of call center management is not only to steer the call center operations, but to take decisions on the service variety and differentiation as well as the requirements set for the service delivery. The MNC context becomes evident in particular in the variety of markets and customer groups served and languages offered as well as in the ways how complexity emerges and can be influenced within the organization.
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