Image Number 3 for United States Patent #7035927.
In a blended inbound/outbound call center (100), an outbound call-pacing function (122) decides whether or not to initiate an additional outbound call for a particular skill. It determines (206) whether the number of available agents for the skill plus the number of resting agents for the skill exceeds the number of available inbound calls for the skill plus the number of outstanding outbound calls for the skill. It also determines (312) whether a target service time for the skill exceeds an estimated wait time of each of the available inbound calls for the skill assuming that pending outbound calls for the skill plus one take precedence over the inbound calls. If both determinations are affirmative, the call pacing function initiates (318) an additional call for the skill. If either determination is negative, the function forbears (321) from initiating an additional call for the skill. The number of available and resting agents may be incremented (206) by (a) a difference between the target service time for the skill and the present waiting time of the last-enqueued inbound call for the skill divided by the average rate of advance through the skill's call queue, or (b) the average amount of time that a newly-initiated outbound call for the skill takes to become available divided by the average rate of advance, plus the number of agents for the skill who are busy but expected to become available within a time period equal to (a) or (b), less the number of those agents that will receive a rest period upon becoming idle. The number of calls may be incremented (206) by the number of inbound calls that are expected to arrive within the time period (a) or (b).