Working from home has become part and parcel of today’s life. There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the normal order of things. Many companies were forced to close down in 2020 because of their lack of flexibility. Those that were able to adapt to the changes, on the other hand, went on with their businesses while adhering to the set health protocols. Of course, among the strategies used by such companies was setting up a virtual office and letting some of their employees work from home.
Those working in call center, for instance, have can easily shift from traditional offices to a virtual call center. But how do you set up a call center workstation at home? Inasmuch as it might sound quite intimidating, setting up such a workspace doesn’t need a lot of sophisticated hardware. All you need is an operational phone system, a computer, and a nice space. Want to learn more? Keep on reading!
Your Office Space
The most important thing to consider when setting up a virtual call center is the available space. Do you have an extra room where you’ll install everything from scratch? Or are you planning to use your current home office for that purpose? Either way, make sure you designate enough space that will be able to accommodate all hardware equipment without any problems.
Since this is technically an office, it needs to meet the minimum requirements of a normal workspace. Keep in mind that you will be spending a lot of time seated in that room; so, you need to minimize monotony as much as possible. The best place to start is the lighting system.
During the day, you should be able to work with natural light. One benefit of natural lighting is the fact that it helps you save on energy. You wouldn’t want to have your bulbs on throughout the day, would you? For one, this reduces their lifespan and also, you’ll be forced to pay more on electricity bills.
Apart from the financial side of things, another benefit of natural lighting is the impact it has on your eyes and overall health. Your windows normally filter out the UV light and allow natural warm light from the sun, which is quite beneficial for your eye health. To ensure that you enjoy such an environment, you’ll need to choose a room that’s well-positioned to allow light from the sun. That means a room at the center of your house might not be the ideal choice.
Another thing to consider is noise from the surrounding environment. One reason why many people have found it hard to be productive while working from home is because the environment is not conducive. For instance, if your workstation is adjacent to the living room, you might struggle with the noise from the TV or music system.
One way of dealing with this issue is by moving to a room that’s a little further from the living room. If that’s not possible for whatever reason you might have, then it’d be prudent to build a sound-proof office.
There are many ways that you could implement this; just find a good home renovation contractor and explain to them what you need. It’s very important that your workstation is protected from any external distractions because this is where you’ll be connecting with potential clients.
So, you’ve already set up your room, what next? It’s now time to fill the room with the necessary equipment!
Get A Phone System
Of course, no call center can work without a phone system. This is perhaps the most important part of any call station. A few decades ago, one needed to have a cell or a telephone line to accomplish this task. Of course, these gadgets are still in the market, but the technology has advanced beyond that stage.
In fact, most companies are gradually moving away from telephone lines to software-based call systems. So, why are businesses adopting these advanced technologies?
- Integration of New Features
With a software-based call system, it becomes a lot easier to integrate new features into the system. Take, for example, ringless voicemails. This is one feature that can’t be integrated into most of the old manual systems. Drop Cowboy is one of the organizations offering such tools to various companies. You can also take advantage of these features in your home call center and enjoy its efficiency.
- Great Service to Customers
As a business, you always look to improve on how you serve your customers, and advanced technologies can help you do that. With a software-based phone system, you get to accommodate customers a lot faster than before. Also, some of the features it offers ensure that your target audience can be contacted regardless of their location. Calls will also be automatically answered, and a pre-recorded message played when it’s beyond working hours.
- Increased Productivity
Once you’ve integrated features like ringless voicemails and auto-dialers, your productivity as an agent will skyrocket. You’ll be able to answer calls a lot quicker and collect the necessary information with less time wastage.
Another thing that you’ll need is a computer. Of course, it might seem like an obvious requirement, but many people overlook this in the hope that they can use their smartphones as a substitute. Don’t get it twisted, though. There is nothing wrong with using a smartphone as part of the call center equipment. However, it would be prudent to have a fully working computer as the main gadget while the rest supplement its operations.
While still on the subject, make sure you have a computer whose purpose is primarily your office work. Having a specific PC for this job will get rid of any inconvenience that comes with sharing computers. For instance, you would want your office data to remain secure not just for the benefit of your business but also for the security of your clients. Therefore, having a designated computer for your call station means you can limit the number of people who have access to it.
That said, what are some of the things to consider while purchasing a computer?
Well, you can never ignore your budget because it determines the gadget you can afford. So, before embarking on your shopping adventure, it’s important that you determine the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend. By this, we mean a figure that won’t leave a huge financial hole in your bank account. You don’t have to sacrifice your basic needs when you can find a cheaper and reliable computer to do the same job.
It’s also worth noting that price doesn’t always determine the quality of the gadget you’re purchasing. To be sure about the quality, make sure you buy products from a reputable seller and confirm the specifications before going ahead with the transaction.
Do you want a computer on which you can always rely? Well, there’re no two ways about it; you must buy a high-spec device. The minimum requirements for a call center computer include 2 GB RAM, a speed of 1.4 GHz, and a monitor resolution of 1024×768. Keep in mind that these are just minimum specifications and will depend on many things.
For one, the type of software applications you’re planning to run on this machine will determine the size of memory and the amount of speed needed. As such, it’s always recommended to go for something a lot more advanced than the stated minimum requirements. For instance, instead of 2 GB and 1.4 GHz, you can opt for 4 GB and 1.8 GHz. This way, you’ll not only be able to multi-task, but it’s also a great way to future-proof your system.
In a world where technology advances every day, new manufacturers are rapidly joining the market. If you went on a window-shopping spree, you’d notice that there are several brands in the computer industry that wasn’t there a few years ago. The unfortunate part is that this growth in number has come with more scams. Does that mean all these new dealers are scammers? Absolutely not!
However, you have a higher chance of being disappointed by a non-recognized brand than one that’s already built its reputation. The likes of Samsung, HP, Dell, and Apple have been around long enough to know what it means to provide top-notch electronics to their consumers. Therefore, make sure you do a background check on your selected brand before purchasing the product. Of course, new companies are also capable of providing high-quality products, but you need to do your research well.
There are many other factors to consider when buying an office computer, but these are the main ones. Once you’ve found an affordable and reliable device for your call center, you can then go ahead and organize your office.
Select A Comfortable Furniture Set
When talking about office organization, furniture is always part of that subject. First, you need a comfortable seat on which you can sit for long periods. Remember, call centers are becoming a lot busier due to the work-from-home mechanisms put in place in recent months. Therefore, you can expect to sit down for hours throughout the week.
One of the things to consider when purchasing an office chair is the material used to make it. Also, how comfortable is the backrest? Does it have an armrest? These might seem obvious now, but they could easily impact your health in the long run. For instance, a poorly designed backrest can lead to a lot of back pains and other related injuries.
It goes without saying that an office table should also be among your top priorities. Make sure it matches whichever office chair you’ve chosen and that it can accommodate all your office items from the computer, physical phones – if available – to paperwork. In addition to the chair and table, you can add an extra seat where guests can sit. Well, you’ll need to consider your office space for these extra items.
Your preparation doesn’t and shouldn’t stop with the buying of office computers and software applications. For one, you’ll definitely need a headphone with inbuilt microphone. With this, it’s always recommended that you go for a high-quality model because it affects not only your listening but also the quality of sound sent to the recipient. High-end headphones come with microphones that feature a noise-cancellation mechanism.
Another accessory that you might need is a camera. Remember, call centers are not only about voice calls but also video calls and conferences. Therefore, you need to be ready for any of these demands.
Your camera should be able to provide clear pictures during a live stream. Today, there are many camera models from which you can select an affordable and reliable gadget. These latest cameras have also been designed with an ordinary user in mind. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about the assembly and integration processes because they’re quite straightforward.
Starting a home-based call center can be quite intimidating, especially for those who’re used to working from traditional offices. Since this is not just another home workstation, you need to keep a lot of things in mind.
For instance, you must consider the location of your office in relation to the other rooms and natural light. Will you be distracted by the noise from the living room? Will the room be able to receive enough natural light?
Once you’ve decided on the location of the room, you can start gathering the necessary office equipment. But first, make sure you have a seat and an office table in place. A phone system and a computer are two of the most important requirements because all your call will be going through them.
Make sure you acquire a computer system that fits the job in terms of its specifications. Some of the accessories that can easily be forgotten, but are as important, include a pair of headphones and a camera. Of course, it’s important to state that as you go around purchasing these items, make sure you stick to your budget so that you can have everything in place as soon as possible.
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