Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Predicting Queueing Delays


Author Info

  • Ward Whitt

    (Room A117, AT&T Labs, Shannon Laboratory, 180 Park Avenue, Florham Park, New Jersey 07932-0971)

Registered author(s):


    This paper investigates the possibility of predicting each customer's waiting time in queue before starting service in a multiserver service system with the first-come first-served service discipline, such as a telephone call center. A predicted waiting-time distribution or an appropriate summary statistic such as the mean or the 90th percentile may be communicated to the customer upon arrival and possibly thereafter in order to improve customer satisfaction. The predicted waiting-time distribution may also be used by the service provider to better manage the service system, e.g., to help decide when to add additional service agents. The possibility of making reliable predictions is enhanced by exploiting information about system state, including the number of customers in the system ahead of the current customer. Additional information beyond the number of customers in the system may be obtained by classifying customers and the service agents to which they are assigned. For nonexponential service times, the elapsed service times of customers in service can often be used to advantage to compute conditional-remaining-service-time distributions. Approximations are proposed to convert the distributions of remaining service times into the distribution of the desired customer waiting time. The analysis reveals the advantage from exploiting additional information.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 870-888

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:6:p:870-888

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: service systems; telephone call centers; predicting delays; communicating anticipated delays; predicting response times;


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Jouini, Oualid & Dallery, Yves & Aksin, Zeynep, 2009. "Queueing models for full-flexible multi-class call centers with real-time anticipated delays," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 389-399, August.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:6:p:870-888. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.