While call centers have recently invested in callback technology, the impact of this innovation on callers’ behavior and call center performance has been less clearly understood. Using call center data from a US commercial bank, we perform an empirical study of callers’ decisionmaking process in the presence of a callback option. We formulate a structural model of callers’ decision-making process, and impute their underlying preferences from the data. Our estimates of callers’ preferences show that callers experience almost no discomfort while waiting for a callback. We also find that callers incur a high cost of switching from their offline tasks to answer a callback. We conduct a counterfactual analysis of how various callback policies affect the service quality and system throughput of this call center. Our results indicate that offering callbacks increases service quality, as measured by the average disutility callers accumulate while waiting for service, without substantially impacting throughput.
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