Setting up a call center from scratch is a quite challenging task. It’s not just about finding the most comfortable premises and assembling a team. Equipment is also a crucial consideration because the reliability and quality of call center equipment directly impact not only profits but also the very viability of the business. Therefore, when planning a call center, a significant portion of the budget is allocated to the purchase and maintenance of hardware and software complexes.
With extensive experience and the best practices in implementing telecommunication industry projects, we are ready to provide you with a comprehensive list of equipment for your call center. Read on, as this material will help you optimize time and resources when organizing a call center, making the working process convenient and efficient.
Basic Equipment for a Call Center
Despite the rapid development of cloud platforms for contact centers and the growth of the market for software for virtual PBX, many companies and enterprises still opt for traditional call centers or contact centers. By the way, we recommend reading our article “How Call Centers Differ from Contact Centers.”
So, if you need to set up your own in-house call center, you will require the following list of equipment.
Server for a Call Center
A powerful server with corresponding software is used in a call center. It processes data in the form of phone calls and other incoming information, ensuring the distribution of calls. The server operates on a network to which all other computers in the organization are connected.
The call center server receives and processes SIP protocol messages, determining how outbound calls should be initiated. The service logic provides basic call processing services, including digit analysis, working with the ACD system, call setup, waiting, and redirection, conference calling, and more.
Call Center PBX
The PBX registers incoming calls for the call center and initiates the process of call processing through both hardware and software. Subsequently, information about the call and which operator, according to the predetermined queue or script, should respond, is transmitted to the server. The connection is then established, and the client receives a response from the operator.
Today, two types of Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) are more commonly used as call center equipment:
Digital IP PBX
An IP PBX (“Internet Protocol private branch exchange”) is a system that connects telephone extensions to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and provides internal communication for a business.
These hardware PBXs allow connecting digital and analog lines. They don’t require a physical phone, as signals are transmitted over the Internet. The conversation device can be a computer, fax, or a phone with video transmission capabilities.
Virtual PBX or VoiP PBX
Specialized equipment for call centers that operates over the Internet. Virtual PBX or IP telephony is a telephone system where signals are transmitted not through wires but via the internet. This option comes with a plethora of features and high-quality communication.
Among the capabilities of PBX are numerous useful functions that enhance customer loyalty and assist operators in their work. These include voice greetings, organizing call queues with ACD, IVR voice menus, call recording, storing data for each call, customer databases, and many others that a PBX for a call center can offer.
Equipment for Storage, Backup, and Disaster Recovery of Data
All data is still stored on arrays of hard drives on servers, functioning similarly to the hard drive of a laptop or desktop computer. The only difference lies in the immensely larger scale. It’s crucial to understand the physical and network threats that storage systems face to choose the best option for your call center’s operations.
- Storage Systems are high-performance and scalable solutions that provide centralized storage of data for the call center and ensure their accessibility as needed.
- Data Backup is the process of creating backup copies of call center data for the preemptive restoration of information in case of system usage or human error.
- Disaster Recovery is a comprehensive approach to protecting call center data from emergencies or disasters. It encompasses planning, configuration, and testing of system recovery, as well as regular creation of data backup copies.
The required equipment for call centers and contact centers that provides data storage, backup, and recovery may vary depending on the requirements, budget, and specifics of a particular enterprise.
Backup Power Systems
In recent years, the backup power solutions industry has been gaining increasing importance as our dependence on electricity grows. Power outages can occur for various reasons, including extreme weather conditions, equipment failures, and natural disasters.
To ensure uninterrupted customer service, call center equipment must include generators and uninterruptible power sources. We highly recommend reading our material on crisis management for call centers during war, where we share our experience in addressing why customer service should be prepared for crisis situations.
Telephony Equipment in the Call Center
In modern contact centers, VoIP telephony is the primary means of communication. In addition to the PBX and server mentioned above, the equipment for organizing IP telephony in the call center includes:
These are specialized phones that support the IP protocol, enabling voice calls over the Internet. IP phones can be wired or wireless, depending on the call center’s requirements.
VoIP-GSM Gateways (SIP-GSM Gateways)
Crucial part of equipment for the call center. These devices are designed for direct transmission of the telephone signal from IP networks to cellular networks and vice versa. This achieves compatibility between the cost-saving mechanisms implemented through the use of GSM gateways and modern office telephone systems based on VoIP technologies.
These are network devices that provide local connections for IP phones, IP gateways, and IP PBXs. Switches handle network traffic and ensure the transmission of voice and data.
Responsible for routing network traffic between the call center’s internal network and the external Internet or other company divisions. Routers are necessary to ensure communication and availability of the IP telephone system.
The list of call center equipment would be incomplete without the connectivity infrastructure. CAT5e or CAT6 cables are used to connect IP phones, IP gateways, switches, routers, and servers. Proper cabling infrastructure plays a crucial role in ensuring stable communication and voice quality.
Office Equipment for the Call Center
If you plan to establish an on-site contact center where all agents will work in the office at their designated workstations, you will obviously need all the necessary office equipment and consumables to ensure a productive and efficient environment. This includes desks, ergonomic chairs, and other office furniture. The equipment list should also include office equipment (computers, monitors, personal headsets, printers, etc.). To support a comfortable working space, there should be adequate lighting, as well as a climate control and air conditioning system.
Internet for the Call Center
As we have mentioned, the majority of modern call centers use VoIP technology for receiving and making calls. The presence of a stable and high-speed Internet connection is vital for a call center. The ability to provide high-quality calls, clarity of communication, and uninterrupted customer service depends on the bandwidth of the connection. More details about internet speed for IP telephony and additional parameters of internet communication can be found in our material “VoIP for Call Center: Everything You Need to Know About the Technology“.
Specific requirements for the bandwidth of the Internet connection may vary depending on the number of operators and the specific software used in the call center.
Equipment for Cloud Call Center
A cloud call center is a communication node that uses software hosted in the cloud under the SaaS model. It handles all types of inbound and outbound calls and communications with customers, including voice communication, email, SMS, social media, and the Internet.
Agents typically use a cloud contact center to handle inbound and outbound calls and process messages from other channels from their desktop computers or laptops. In this case, call center equipment boils down to providing agents with modern devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone, headset) on which the relevant call center software is installed.
Call Center Equipment: Conclusions
A modern call center is a central hub in business that ensures effective interaction with customers. To make its operations contribute to the strategic development of the business, modern and reliable call center equipment is essential. In addition to data storage and backup systems, replication technologies are currently used, creating and maintaining accurate copies of data in real-time to ensure high availability and system resilience.
In the near future, we plan to publish comprehensive material on software for contact centers. Therefore, if the list of equipment for the call center was useful to you, stay tuned for our upcoming posts!