Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

Contact Center Survey Reveals Latest Challenges and Priorities

Everyone wants to know what challenges people face overall, and within their center size and industry. There are so many possible changes to pursue, not to mention the barrage of input from various industry sources. As such, it’s invaluable to learn what priorities are really making it to the top of “to do” lists.

Top Contact Center Challenges

The difficulties in any center often surround workload (too much of it) and performance (not meeting a variety of goals). The top two challenges remained the same as last year.

Attrition was again the number one challenge as cited by 21% of the participants. It’s an age-old problem that plays a major role in saturated markets with ample opportunities to go elsewhere, whether for a little pay bump, less stress, or a new opportunity.

Poor cross-departmental collaboration repeated as the #2 challenge with a 16% “hit rate” among participants. This finding also came as no surprise. Increasingly complex contacts boost staff reliance on IT (and the tools they deliver and maintain) and back office functions. And marketing and product people have never had more impact on what triggers contacts. With the momentum of goals like “omnichannel” clearly revealed (channel addition and integration is the #3 challenge) and the quest for seamless, integrated customer experiences, departments must find a way to work together on behalf of the customer in spite of separate budgets, tools, processes and knowledge sources.

Top Contact Center Priorities

now or laterThe top priorities focus on performance and technology. It’s no surprise that many want to improve coaching and development; that is a common pursuit we see in client projects and a top factor in tackling the number one challenge, attrition. Interestingly, self-service tied for first this year even though it moved down the challenges list. Training, a low-ranked issue both last year and this year but one we frequently hear, moved down the priority list this year but still makes the top five. The top of the list is rounded out by a focus on reporting and analytics tools and processes, along with performance management.

Strategic initiatives do not make the top of the list for most. The tactical often swamps the strategic in centers of all sizes and verticals, so they pursue projects that yield tangible improvements and near-term benefits. The results may also reflect the realities of the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome (“can’t get no respect”), leading centers to throw in the towel on initiatives that might require attention outside of their boundaries.

The prioritization of additional media moved way up from about 5% to over 16% this year. Perhaps the omnichannel buzz is taking hold and other departments (perhaps with some clout!) are inherently pulled into this movement. Tie that in with the focus on self-service and we could truly start to see transformation in the customer experience.


Two areas we anecdotally see as strong needs for centers do not rate high on the priorities list for any size center: Fraud/security and support resources. The former may be viewed as more a corporate issue than a contact center issue, but the center sits squarely in the middle of it. The low prioritization of adding analysts or others may be resignation to the realities of hiring these type of staff. We have concern when the only thing to rely on is the resourcefulness of center leadership wearing multiple hats. They are busy people who are constantly pushed to make choices of where to spend their time, risking critical tasks not getting the attention they need.

Complete Survey Results Available

The complete survey presents input on issues related to strategy, staffing, workload and performance, and technology. It also considers trends by industry and by size with comparisons to last year’s survey (see table below).

Get your copy of the Contact Center Challenges & Priorities for 2017 now »