We consider partial customer flexibility in service systems under two different designs. In the first design, flexible customers have their own queue and each server has its own queue of dedicated customers. Under this model, the problem is a scheduling problem and we show under various settings that the dedicated customers first (DCF) policy is optimal. In the second design, flexible customers are not queued separately and must be routed to one of the server's dedicated queues upon arrival. We extend earlier results about the `join the smallest work (JSW)' policy to systems with dedicated as well as flexible arrivals. We compare these models to a routeing model in which only the queue length is available in terms of both efficiency and fairness and argue that the overall best approach for call centers is JSW routeing. We also discuss how this can be implemented in call centers even when work is unknown.
"Partial flexibility in routeing and scheduling." Adv. in Appl. Probab. 45 (3) 673 - 691, September 2013. https://doi.org/10.1239/aap/1377868534