4 Call Center Problems That Will Close Your Doors

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There’s no shortage of challenges that call centers face each day, and all of them are important in their own right. However, the following four challenges should be your top priority because leaving them unaddressed can cause irreparable damage and lead to your call center closing its doors for good.

1. An Agent Turnover Rate Above 50% Consistently

The average turnover rate in the customer service industry is around 30-45%, which is already a bit concerning to those unfamiliar with the industry. 

Familiar or not, however, a high turnover rate tends to spell bad news for team morale and makes it extremely difficult to maintain a healthy work environment in the long run. 

If the turnover rate ever reaches or exceeds the 50% threshold, that means the company will effectively lose one existing agent for every two new agents it hires.

In addition to all the detrimental effects a revolving door of employees can have on your company’s culture, your company’s bottom line will also take a hit each time it has to recruit, hire, onboard, and train new agents. This hurts you financially and operationally, as it takes away focus from improving the call center experience. 

Another negative impact of high turnover rates falls on the customer, as your company may not always have adequate staffing to address inbound customer inquiries with prompt care and expertise. Meanwhile, any agents who are covering for new and inexperienced hires can be subject to occupational burnout. 

All things considered, then, a high agent turnover rate makes it hard to serve customers while also burning a hole through your budget—thereby creating a perfect storm of circumstances where your call center won’t be able to remain open for much longer. 


Most successful call centers have the following elements:

  • A good track record of open and transparent communication.
  • Employees who are free to share constructive criticism when facing overly complex or laborious processes.
  • A work culture that encourages employee growth and development. 
  • Strong core values that keep the organization moving in the right direction.

In other words, the best way to reduce your call center turnover rate is to build a culture that your agents will be happy to contribute to—one in which they are encouraged to become the best versions of themselves, and one that they can also have fun in. 

When managing your call center, make it clear that not everything has to be about chasing metrics and performing high-pressure tasks under a microscope. When your agents feel supported and free to pursue their interests within your center, they’re more likely to give the best effort they can with the resources they have.

2. A Team of Undeveloped Agents

If your support agents are undertrained and underprepared, they can fall out of the loop fairly quickly and have a hard time handling incoming customer requests. Over time, these agents tend to become less motivated, develop lower morale, and often think about leaving your agency sooner for greener pastures. 

This chain of events can make even your most devoted team members restless and increasingly wary of their workplace surroundings, making it harder for seasoned, otherwise motivated agents to provide exceptional customer service. 

In other words, poor agent performance can become contagious and spread through multiple departments before you have a chance to prevent it from tearing your existing team apart—and taking your call center down with it.


As a decision-maker, it’s important to remember that certain skills and best practices don’t come naturally to everyone. By implementing a targeted training program, however, your less experienced agents can develop their skills and habits without disrupting the natural flow of your call center operations. 

One example of an important habit for your agents to develop is the ability to communicate wait times to customers, especially those they’re about to put on hold. If the customer isn’t aware that the representative is going to put them on hold—or if they feel like they were put on hold too abruptly—they may become frustrated and even end the call before resolving their issue.

In order to instill habits like these, a good training technique is called shadowing. In a corporate setting, a shadowing program refers to the pairing of trainees with experienced agents so that they can watch and learn how things are done. For physical call centers, simply placing inexperienced agents next to veterans can lead to them learning the ropes in their downtime between calls. 

Aside from the softer skills, there are a few key performance metrics your agents should develop. These include:

  • Resolution time. Advise your agents to strike a delicate balance between the speed at which they resolve any particular issue and the quality of service they provide—without sacrificing the overall customer experience of individual clients.
  • Average wait time. You should aim to bring this number down to five minutes or less, educating your team members to return to calls before ever eclipsing that mark.
  • Number of missed calls. Missing a few calls at the beginning of the onboarding phase is acceptable, but only up to a certain point. You should slowly ease new agents into a busy calling schedule and set attainable goals until they won’t miss any. 

Lastly, your training methods should ensure that every agent is on a plan to achieve the next step in their career (if they want), whether that means becoming a top agent or the next call center manager. Establish realistic expectations for them and identify the key areas of improvement for the agent to get from where they are to where they want to be.

3. Ineffective Managers

Call center managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations in a call center, including how agents perform and the quality of customer service that callers receive. 

Therefore, if the managers aren’t organized and effective leaders, the rest of the call center will most likely suffer. Naturally, if this goes on long enough, it can lead to the collapse of the entire operation. 

This is another case where the domino effect comes into play. Namely, if the managers have shaky relationships with their agents and can’t coach them to perform at their best, then the agents will struggle to support callers and customer satisfaction will go way down. After that, it’s oftentimes just as likely for the call center to close before performance can be restored. 

Some of the tell-tale signs of ineffective managers include the following:

  • Poor communication. A manager who fails to communicate clearly and effectively often leads to employee disengagement, serial misunderstandings, and a lack of direction. Agents led by poor communicators often feel lost at work and left out of the conversation around the call center’s goals and targets, resulting in a visible decline in their performance over time.
  • Bad delegation skills. All managers must recognize the importance of task delegation and how it impacts agent productivity in the workplace. If a manager believes they can’t rely on other people, they might fall into the trap of trying to do everything by themselves and, in extreme cases, even belittle other team members’ skills and accomplishments.
  • Tunnel vision. Insensitive managers tend to disregard their agents’ wants and needs, ultimately prioritizing performance metrics over the well-being of individual team members. Effective team leaders, on the other hand, strike a balance between achieving their goals and the means used to get there, especially when employee wellness and prosperity are at stake.


Call center managers who dedicate at least a quarter of their time to building relationships with their agents are on a good path to improving workplace morale, thereby halving the chance of burnout, reducing turnover rates, and improving the bottom line.

This also positively influences how agents interact with callers, making it more likely for customers to continue using your services and buying your products—which can also lead to better results all around. 

To set yourself up to be an effective manager from the start, prioritize the development of personal relationships with your agents to establish trust and learn how to work with them. Meet with your team members monthly or bi-weekly. Monitor their calls periodically as a way of checking in on them rather than a way of hovering over their shoulders. Use this call quality monitoring to figure out where an agent needs help and how to capitalize on their strengths.

4. Outdated IT Infrastructure

When carrying out customer support functions, call centers rely on tools and infrastructure such as business phone systems, call center software, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

An outdated IT infrastructure will invariably slow down your agents, ultimately impacting their ability to serve as many callers as they can as quickly and efficiently as your systems allow. Furthermore, outdated tech also prevents you from providing omnichannel and personalized support to customers who won’t settle for anything less than modernized service.

Besides the impact that outdated infrastructure will have on your agents and customers, it can also cause problems for your company’s internal management and communication systems. For example, if your infrastructure cannot support the integration of multiple business systems, it can create highly inefficient information silos, where customer data and call histories can’t pass freely from one system to another. In an environment where information is key, these types of systems tend to clog the pipeline and prevent agents from responding quickly to a support ticket or a phone request.

Lastly, working with outdated, unreliable, or legacy IT infrastructure also prevents you from tracking metrics and taking advantage of automated analytics that you can use to boost your key performance indicators (KPIs). As a result, your call center can be so busy jumping through hoops that it loses its ability to stay afloat. 


Consider upgrading your IT infrastructure to complement or supersede your existing systems with a modern contact center solution. In terms of providers, Nextiva’s cloud-based contact center solution is one of the top choices on the market today.

Nextiva webpage for unified conversations powered by AI Voice and AI chatbot

With a cloud-based contact center solution like Nextiva, you can leverage powerful features such as the following:

  • Advanced IVR (interactive voice response) system: A type of phone system that enables callers to navigate through phone menu options and find a solution on their own. You can configure an IVR to increase the chances of callers getting matched with the correct department right away, ultimately improving the customer service experience. 
  • CRM and other integrations: An advanced record-keeping system used to improve the customer experience and increase agent efficiency when handling calls.
  • Automatic call routing: Also known as automatic call distribution (ACD), this technology is used to connect callers with agents and departments automatically based on previously established criteria. 
  • Customized dashboards and reporting: Voice analytics data can often single out the most relevant information for a given business to improve call center performance.
  • Access to VoIP phone numbers: VoIP numbers typically provide call tracking, voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, and other advanced features that landline systems can’t offer.
  • Call monitoring capabilities: Whether on-premises or cloud-based, call center monitoring allows agents to listen in on live calls and use call recordings for employee training and future contact center improvements.
Nextiva call monitoring dashboard
Nextiva analytics dashboard


Overcoming the biggest call center challenges today can be broken down into four main priorities:

  • Reducing your agent turnover rate
  • Developing your agents to become the best they can be
  • Improving your leadership team and skills
  • Upgrading any outdated IT infrastructure

If you can make sure that these challenges are nonissues, then you probably won’t have to think about your call center shutting down in the foreseeable future—and you can even move on to focus on activities that lead to company growth. 

To keep your call center up-to-date, check out our guide on the most impactful call center trends for 2024.

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