Greyhound Frequent Flyer Call Center – Case Study

“I’m an accounting major, not an operations expert,” yelled just-promoted Bob Barthrow, the executive vice president of the Greyhound Frequent Flyer Call Center, during a senior-level management meeting. “Bob, Horizon Airlines (HA) is going to stop doing business with us if we don’t provide better call center service. We need to maximize service and minimize costs! So, find a solution to HA’s service problems or we are all out of a job,” stated Adam Bishop, the CEO of Greyhound Call Center Services (GCCS).

Bob retreated to his office and closed the door. As he sat in his chair, he thought about the many meetings he had participated in where managers promised great customer service but could not deliver it. Upon further reflection, he came to the conclusion that to promise great customer service you first must know how to analyze resource capacity and develop good schedules. He pulled out his old college operations management textbook and began reading. He also did a Google search on the topic and found several articles to read. He planned on building an electronic spreadsheet analysis of the situation.

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Small and mid-sized airlines outsourced a variety of peripheral services to GCCS, such as billing and credit card management, baggage and customer flight claims management, reservations, loyalty programs, and call center management. HA accounted for 9 percent of GCCS revenues. HA customers had no idea the HA frequent flyer program was outsourced to GCCS. GCCS managed separate call centers for several airlines, each with its own dedicated staff and office space. GCCS customer service representatives (CSRs) who worked in the HA call center were trained by both GCCS and individual airlines such as HA. GCCS provided all CSRs with service management training and mentors, and CSR performance was electronically monitored. HA trained the CSRs by including airline tours and free flights so the CSRs would know the airline and its culture, and especially its frequent flyer program. HA CSRs were trained to handle 20 service upsets most likely to be described by incoming customer calls.

HA and GCCS categorized incoming calls into four categories as follows:

  1. Redeem calls: The customer wants to redeem frequent flyer points for future airline flights.
  2. Problem resolution: The customer wants to correct point debits and credits, flights, personal information, and so on.
  3. Manage accounts: The customer wants to split, combine, transfer, delete, rename, and/or update the frequent flyer account(s).
  4. Travel advice: The customer asks for travel advice. GCCS and HA provide “limited travel consulting service and advice.” GCCS CSRs are trained to be nice yet tell the customer they do not provide full travel service, and refer customers to other travel agencies.

Average standard times for HA’s call mix is shown below.

Type of Call Standard Time per Call (seconds) Percentage of Total Number of Calls
Redeem 125 63%
Problem Resolution 170 26%
Manage Account 240 7%
Travel Advice 170 4%

Bob wanted to get a standard service rate in the same units of measure used for other airlines, and that was calls per CSR per 30 minutes. Average HA-GCCS call center demand rounded to the nearest integer for the last 10 Mondays is shown in this Workbook.

Bob thought a planned (target) CSR labor utilization of 90 percent provided adequate safety capacity.

Full-time employee (FTE) policies require at least a 7-hour workday plus one hour for lunch or dinner and at least one 15-minute break per workday. Any workday less than FTE is considered part-time employment (PTE).

Mr. Barthrow has retained your services to prepare a consulting report answering the questions below:

  1. What’s labor utilization for each 30-minute period given the current staffing plan?
  2. Is the main problem lack of staff capacity or poor scheduling, or both?
  3. How many CSRs are required to meet demand during a regular work day?
  4. What are your recommended next steps?

Include the Excel file showing all calculations.

This short report (no more than three pages long) must be written using business language.


Short Consulting Report

Short Consulting Report

Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCompletnessThe report covers the points requested by the client.
20.0 ptsAll points are well covered 16.0 ptsMost points are well covered 8.0 ptsSome points are well covered 0.0 ptsNone of the points is properly covered
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDepthThe report demonstrates understanding of the situation described in the case study.
20.0 ptsAbove expectations 16.0 ptsWithin expectations 8.0 ptsBelow expectations 0.0 ptsWell below expectations
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCritical ThinkingThe report contains statements demonstrating the consultant’s critical thinking.
20.0 ptsAbove expectations 16.0 ptsWithin expectations 8.0 ptsBelow expectations 0.0 ptsWell below expectations
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeProfessionalismThe report demonstrates professionalism (proper language, spelling, grammar, terminology, etc.).
20.0 ptsAbove expectations 16.0 ptsWithin expectations 8.0 ptsBelow expectations 0.0 ptsWell below expectations
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSpreadsheet Organization and AccuracyThe submitted Excel file is well organized and leads to accurate results, supporting the recommendations offered.
20.0 ptsAbove expectations 16.0 ptsWithin expectations 8.0 ptsBelow expectations 0.0 ptsUnacceptable
20.0 pts
Total Points: 100.0



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