10 common call center problems

Call center world has its own rules, logics of operating and problems. Many call centers work in different industries, niches, serve various purposes, but they all meet similar problems. Classification of such problems is vital alone, but the answer to question “How to solve those issues?” is even more important. 

So, this guide from Voiptime team is going to help you acknowledge main call center problems and ways to resolve them in the most efficient way. 

Let’s begin. 

  1. High call abandonment rate

One of the most frustrating issues in call center industry is growing call abandonment rate, which means that some of customer calls aren’t answered by your agents and clients hang up their calls before you even answer them. Call abandonment rate is a problem, but it always points to its root cause – long wait times, poor average speed of answer or something else. 

Call abandonment rate always has a consequence for customer sentiment and customer experience – if you can’t answer the incoming call within time that is acceptable for caller, then you are either careless about your customers, or you provide poor quality of customer service. Both of these conclusions can be make by your current buyers, and this may cause customer churn – the worst consequence possible in this occasion. 

In most cases, high call abandonment rate isn’t agents’ fault – it is a complex issue with many factors influencing it. 

Resolution: analyze your call queues, offer callback features, optimize agent worktime in accordance with your peak hours, and finally, implement some self-service options to reduce workload of inbound agents. 

  1. Poor FCR rates (First Contact Resolution)

One of the most important – if not the most – contact center metrics is First Contact Resolution rate. This metric measures how many customer complaints and requests have been resolved within first contact between client and call center. So, every customer request that makes client call you more than 1 time lowers your FCR rate, and that’s not good news. 

FCR rate is one of four main components of customer experience, so yes, it is vital. In call center industry, it is considered that industry standard FCR rate should not be lower than 80% – in rare cases it can be 70-75%, for industries which work with complex customer issues. 

Resolution: improve agent training programs, use quality assurance scorecards to find out what knowledge agent lack. Also, use call monitoring modes to track live calls and provide agents with help if needed. Work on improving internal knowledge base to provide reps with easy access to all information they need to handle customer problems. 

  1. Call avoidance

Another issue, which is much more about human factor than any other. Call avoidance means agents’ actions focused on avoiding customer calls, which means agent do everything to avoid answering calls from customers. This may include: fake post-call operations, changes of status, manipulations with call routing, and so on. 

Agents start doing so due to many reasons: some can’t stand emotional pressure, other suffer from professional burnout, and some just think that this is a good way to get an extra rest time. Nevertheless, any kind of call avoidance harms call center productivity and performance. 

Resolution: regularly monitor agents by using monitoring tools and check all their actions to make sure that no one is dodging work.

  1. Inability to deal with peak hours

In call center, there are downtimes and peak hours, which means that in one time of a day you receive more calls, and in othe time you receive a few calls only. Peak hours are hours with the highest inbound call volume, but many contact center managers don’t even pay attention to this issue. Thus, wait times grow, agent suffer from powerful pressure, and customers get angry. 

Resolution: manage agent schedules to have evough workers for peak hours, while you can balance your labor costs by reducing number of agents working during downtimes. 

  1. High Customer Effort Score

Customer effort is another component of customer experience, and even though most people focus on CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), it is perhaps even more important. Customer effort score shows how difficult it is for client to resolve the issue or handle any interaction with a company – is it easy to find the contact info, is it simple to start a conversation, and so on. 

Customer effort is often reduced because of lack of communication channels.

Resolution: provide multichannel communication through various contact channels, and pay close attention to your IVR menu design – the IVR is often the root cause of this issue.

  1. High agent turnover

One of the biggest problems for contact center industry is agent attrition. Agents are one of the least paid professions in the US, so they are workers with highest risk of being fired or leaving company on their own. There are many reasons for that: high emotional pressure, tons of routine work, inadequate clients, high KPI requirements, lack of informal communication inside the team, etc.

Resolution: provide agents with reward system, invest in their training, build atmosphere of trust and cooperation inside the team, and show possible career opportunities for loyal workers. Also, implement automation tools to reduce the amount of useless routine work. 

  1. Long on-hold times and call transferring

One of the most frustrating things about call centers for clients is being put on hold. Clients hate being put in that queue, where endless music plays and you need to wait till agent will connect to you again. Call transfers are also a bad thing for customers – no one wants to describe his issue to one person, and then be transferred to another rep to repeat this issue again. 

Resolution: train agents to make sure they have enough hard skills to work with any type of customer issue without transferring calls to more experienced reps. Monitor calls of newbie agents to hepl them deal with difficult issues in whispering mode. Work with your internal knowledge base to make it capable enough. 


As you can see, there are many common problems which affect contact centers, and to be honest, the list above doesn’t include all of such problems. The main way to resolve any issue you are facing as contact center manager is to track data and pay attention to your team – this is the little secret that will help you achieve great goals. 

Richard Maxwell

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