|M.Sc Thesis||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management|
|Supervisor:||Prof. Rafaeli Anat|
Advancements in information technology and marketing techniques have brought about a revolution in customer service systems, and made call centers a key element of service processes. Despite the numerical increase and the commercial importance of call centers, a systematic understanding of effective methods for managing human resources in such centers is still lacking. Performance of customer service representatives in call centers is partly a derivative of the way the service array is designed. In an attempt to promote the understanding of managing telephone service delivery the current study focuses on two variables: Task difficulty and electronic monitoring. The study examines the effect of these two variables on employee negative affect, perception of control and performance.
A simulated call center task was developed, and data were collected from a sample of students trained to act as call center representatives in this simulation. The research findings document the detrimental effects of electronic monitoring on performance. Task difficulty was further found to affect performance but to also produce a negative effect on employees' perception of control. An interaction was found between task difficulty and perception of control, so that performance was higher in a difficult task when perceptions of control were high (as opposed to low perceptions of control).
The findings hold important applied implications for placement, training and routine monitoring procedures in call centers. The study suggest that managers take into account the sense of control that representatives feel while performing their job, as well as the opportunities they are afforded to demonstrate their skills and aptitudes. The findings further identify procedures for queue management of call center tasks which are preferred by telephone service employees and which may influence the level of performance of call center representatives.