How To Set Up A Call Center – Issue 1 “Equipment”

There are many things to consider when building a new call center. Regardless of the size and purpose of your call center there are four main categories that you will need to attend to; Equipment, Technology, Operations, and Layout.
What equipment is necessary for your call center? For most call center solutions you will be using an on-site call manager. Many of you will invest in predictive dialing software; a technology that increases outbound call center productivity by ‘predicting’ how often a live call takes place and then dials more lines than agents to minimize downtime between calls. Software packages like these usually require a voice and data server, a router, a switch, cables, headsets and workstations.
Some things to consider are the quality of the equipment you purchase. When making the decision to set up a call center you will be tempted to lower your costs and cut corners whenever possible. Do this with caution.
Your headsets will need to be high quality, noise reducing, and compatible with the software you decide upon. A headset that can easily be moved from workstation to workstation is best; I recommend using a True-USB headset (meaning one that only operates on USB, do not use an adapter). This will help if you need to quickly replace a headset or with hygiene as an employee can keep their own headset.
The keyboards you use are important as well. Your agents will be spending their entire shift, every day working on their computer. This means you will want to supply ergonomic keyboards that are designed to minimize the impact of repetitive motions so you can prevent injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Your workstations are an important part of your call center. We’ve already covered headsets and keyboards, but one thing you may not have considered are the chairs. Your chairs need to promote good health by having an ergonomic design. Additionally, the layout of the workstation is important. Does your employee have enough room to work comfortably? Is the equipment arranged to allow a smooth operation of their workspace?
Agent and Supervisor PC’s: How will your agents be using their computer? Most voice software applications are memory and bandwidth intensive. Activities such as running multiple applications, browsing the internet, and accessing the company database need to be taken into account. Purchasing desktop computers that are powerful enough to handle your workload is important. Your supervisor’s machine and workstation needs to be in a central location where the supervisor can see all your employees and vice versa. A large portion of call center productivity relies on proper monitoring of employees and providing motivation where it is needed.
Each agent and supervisor station will need a computer monitor. This is where it will be worth your while to invest in a decent monitor. LCD monitors save a lot of desk space, require much less power, and are easier on the eyes. Make sure to purchase a monitor that is large enough to display your application’s information without being so large it requires a lot of eye movement to read everything on it.
The final piece of equipment is your Call Center System. Depending on the purpose of your call center, whether it is inbound or outbound, telemarketing calls or customer service; the software will vary greatly and along with it the equipment. I’ll include in this portion information from my area of expertise – Predictive Dialer Software. The Razor Predictive Dialer operates with one or two data/voice servers, uses a switch and a router, and can connect to your outgoing phone lines through your choice of analog, digital or VoIP service. As a general rule, it is usually best to go with your software provider’s suggestions on equipment. After all, they are most familiar with what works with their system.

That covers the basics in Equipment needed for “How to Set Up a Call Center”. Our next post will cover the different types of technology and call center layout.

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