5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

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By: Colin Taylor

There can be many reasons for an organization to decide it is time to create a call center or contact center. Perhaps organic growth, a new product, service or acquisition is resulting in calls swamping the switchboard, or customers are tracking down the administrative offices to trace an order, or email volumes are surging and going unanswered?

By creating a call or contact center and being able to direct and centrally manage all call, emails, chats and other channels of communications organizations can realize both financial savings, but also improvements service quality and customer satisfaction. Whatever the cause once an organization has determine it is time to create a call center the next steps can be both daunting and critical.

There are more than 800 discrete tasks associated with building a call or contact center. Common Challenges include; Accurately sizing your call center requirements, Determining which channels to support, Identifying the telephony and technologies required to support your business activities, Mapping your business processes impacted by the call or contact center, Identification of the  integrations and links required to CRM or back office systems, The physical design of the call and workflows, Design of the physical call/contact center space, Creation of an organizational design and the people requirements. People are the largest cost in any call or contact center. People requirements include; job descriptions, Identification of skills required for each role, compensation modeling, quality management, workforce management (forecasting and scheduling) and the reporting required to provide the business with the knowledge to make data driven business decisions related to the call center / contact center and the customers they support.


Taylor Reach assisted thousands of organizations to design, develop, implement and improve their call and contact centers. We have developed a proprietary approach to simplify and streamline what modeling and decision making around what can be a very arduous 6 to 12 month process, resulting in lower cost to implement and higher effectiveness and efficiency from day 1.

Common Fails

In supporting our clients in the development and implementation of new call centers and contact centers we have seen a number of challenges and decisions that can adversely impact the development process. These challenges include;

  • The lack of a cohesive vision of the role of the center. Is the center designed to be a profit center or a cost center? Is the purpose to deliver service that exceeds customer expectations or to be delivered a cost effectively as possible? Has the organization defined the desire customer experience when interacting with the center? Without a clear vision it is impossible to develop a center successfully. Fuzzy goals will produce fuzzy results.
  • Failure to realize that a call center or contact center is a unique and independent business service and must be properly researched and resourced in terms of both people and technologies.
    • The failure to complete proper research has led many organizations to select technologies that don’t meet the needs of the organization. Many solutions can appear on the surface to do what we want them to do, it is only be drilling down to the details of ‘how’ that we can often surface inadequacies. Research takes time, but it is time well invested versus selecting and installing a telephony or technology solution that doesn’t work or handicaps the organization going forward.
    • The failure to realize that a call or contact center requires staff with unique skills and competencies can result in the wrong people being on your contact center ‘bus’. Just because someone likes to talk doesn’t make them qualified to be an agent and a good salesperson isn’t always the best solution to lead a call center or inside sales team. Putting the wrong people in the wrong roles can handicap your center for months or years to come.
  • Failure to plan for growth or seasonality. Nothing is static, companies evolve over time and the reasons our customer contact us also evolve. Organic growth in contact volume may be linked to organizational growth, new markets, products or services. Increased focus on ecommerce can increase seasonal spiked and volumes. If the center planning has not taken these factors into consideration, you can find yourself without the ability to scale the center to support the customer needs. The solution to this can include center expansion and/or outsourcing. Both of these scenarios are disruptive and will reduce service quality while often increasing costs.
  • Failure to understand the labor market. In a call or contact center labor is the number one expense. Center also often have high staff turnover, both externally and internally. The location selected for the center must be sustainable and the labor costs and budgets need to be realistic. Failure to properly plan can lead to a center unable to secure the desired staff with the desired skills and/or force it to pay more than was budgeted for these roles.
  • Failure to seek guidance and expert advice. There is certainly a cost associated with retaining an expert to guide you through the process of designing and implementing a new call or contact center, but there is also a cost for not doing so. We have seen organizations select technologies only to have to remove and replace them within months, build and then shutter center locations due to staffing issues, deliver degraded services because their budget was incorrectly set in the first place and be hampered by center staff and leadership without the skills, competencies or training to excel in the role.

The preceding is by no means an exhaustive list of challenges associated with creating a new call center or contact center, but the examples cited above are some of the common failures, that can spell disaster for a new center initiative.

To find out more about The Taylor Reach Group or our services to support the development of a new call or contact center please check out our website review our case studies or contact us directly at [email protected]  You can reach me directly at [email protected] or by phone at 416-276-9068.


Colin Taylor is the CEO and Chief Chaos Officer at The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. a call center, contact center and customer experience consulting firm with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Colin is an award winning industry pioneer with 40 years of call, contact center, customer experience and customer service experience. Colin has been regularly ranked as one of the top industry experts by leading industry publications.


One thought on “5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

  1. John Ross says:

    Call centers are a tough business to operate. Having been in the call center industry for 9 years now, I can appreciate Mr. Taylor’s observations. I have helped people start their own call centers, and have taken over the phone traffic from failed call centers. The reasons for failure the blogger offers (lack of planning, unclear goals for the center, and the failure to anticipate the labor costs) are spot on.

    This is a clear-headed and accurate assessment for call center failures.

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