The best option is to choose equipment according to the requirements of the specification. Therefore, it is worth spending enough time on the description of detailed specifications, attracting competent technical specialists, if necessary. Clearly defined requirements in the specification will enable you to choose equipment for the call center with the necessary operating characteristics and an optimal price, so you won’t need to pay for excess capacity or redundant components.
Here are the main categories of call center equipment.
For Agent's Workplace
What do you need to equip your agents’ workplace? The list is simple as most contact centers need only a computer (desktop or laptop), headset, and phone.
Choose computers depending on the requirements of software vendors you are going to work with. It is recommended that you choose low-power computers if it will not affect the operation of the software. Such computers have less impact on office microclimate because of low heat emission.
There is always a risk of causing damage to the hardware due to human factors and agents’ negligence. Therefore, a thin client is a better alternative to laptops and computers, because it makes the replacement of fast-used units easier: for example, the keyboard, that may conk because of coffee or tea, spilled accidentally. Another advantage of a thin client is that it doesn’t make so much noise or heat as, for instance, a system unit does.
The best option for call center operators is a headset with two headphones and a noise-canceling function. Do not try to cut down on headsets: more expensive items provide you with better sound, have a longer operational lifetime, and are more comfortable. Professional headsets don’t cause discomfort during work shifts. They are made of high-quality materials and can fit tightly to the ears. Quality headsets contain a special acoustic foam rubber that provides a noise-canceling effect.
Agents can use an IP phone or a softphone. Of course, the IP phone is more expensive, but also more reliable. It guarantees better communication quality and operates autonomously, without being tied to a computer.
Softphones are quite often used in modern call centers. Most of them are free software applications that are installed on the agent's computer. However, you should also think about their disadvantages. Like any software solution, a softphone may not load, show an error or "hang up" during a conversation. Communication quality may also be affected by other applications installed on your computer.
The server room houses servers, telecommunication equipment as well as some additional hardware that the call center needs to function. Some requirements must be met as to the server room facility (area, the height of the room, temperature regime, air humidity). Also, access to the room has to be limited due to security and operation reasons.
Here are the main requirements for the server room:
- Uninterruptible power supply. Usually, these are two separate inputs with ATS and a generator for emergencies
- Air temperature from 18°C to 20°C (64.4°F to 68°F)
- Air humidity from 40 to 60 percent
- Fire-protection system
- Air conditioning.
It is also important to set up a structured cabling system (SCS) that can be used for the transmission of different types of signals from network equipment. Also, it allows you to quickly organize new workplaces and change a connection diagram without additional cabling and organize a single operations department.
It is also worth organizing a backup server to store backup copies of information. This solution involves a scheme of two identical servers and a storage array.
Properly selected equipment for call centers and the structure of the server room will allow you to build up the infrastructure, ensure stable operation of the equipment at critical loads, as well as provide sufficient fault tolerance and functionality.
Call Center Network
The data transmission network is an integral part of any modern enterprise infrastructure. To build a local area network (LAN) in our projects we use Cisco equipment. Namely, routers that link several networks for the transmission of Layer 3 (L3) packets and hubs, for the possibility of combining computers into a single network (L2).
Telephony for Call Center
Since the main function of the call center is outbound and inbound calling, the proper organization of telephony will ensure quality communication and save money.
Nowadays, SIP telephony is considered as the best solution for call centers. It is now becoming a leader because it is able to provide multichannel, high-quality communication, and easy scaling. Also, you can use SIP in any place with an Internet connection so there are almost no geographical restrictions for using one phone number.
Analogous telephony should be abandoned because it has only one communication channel and complex scaling that will significantly reduce your call center’s capabilities and productivity. Digital telephony (e.g. E1), if properly implemented, can satisfy the requirements of modern call centers, but it is a more expensive option.
If you need to convert analog or digital telephony and create a VoIP network, you can use voice VoIP gateways.
GSM gateways will help to set up communication with the GSM network (mobile network). Thus, it will be possible to reduce the cost of calls to mobile numbers.
Microclimate in the office
Since the main premises of the call center always house a large number of employees, it is important to take care of its safety and microclimate.
Air Conditioning System and Fire Safety
The air quality in the room affects your employees’ performance. Therefore, the office should be provided with a proper ventilation system. You should use air handlers that will supply fresh air to the room and remove the exhaust air. Also, think about air conditioners to maintain the necessary temperature in the office.
In-house call centers should have a fire detection and warning system. This system should be checked regularly for proper functioning at least once a month.
These are requirements you should take into account when choosing the equipment for an in-house call center. You can make this list shorter if you consider migrating to the cloud-based contact center solution. In this case, you won’t need bulky servers and can save significant costs on hardware and software. Moreover, cloud call center solutions will give you much more flexibility and allow you to seamlessly switch to remote mode if necessary.
For more information about must-have contact center software features check our article.