Choosing the Right Headset
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Issues to address
A call center can spend millions on their new site, switch technology, computers
and furniture; but without the right headset to tie the technology to the human
interface, a call center will be at a disadvantage from day one. Choosing the
right headset for your organization involves planning and anticipating usage
demands. However, the typical feeling is that any headset will do. This usually
results when those doing the planning are not the people wearing the headsets.
Most people would never consider buying $20 speakers to hook up to a $5000
stereo system. You simply could not get the best results from inferior speakers
and your investment would go to waste. Similarly, why spend so much time on
optimizing your system and neglect to follow through with quality headsets?
You will simply never see the full potential of your system.
When purchasing a headset, address issues such as:
it will be capable of adapting to any environment in your call center. Ensuring
that the headset is comfortable, dependable and durable. Check for a sturdy
cord and cables. In a typical day it is likely to be dropped, kicked or run
over by chairs, or shoved in a drawer; so it must be able to handle the abuse.
If the headset is uncomfortable, the user will be constantly adjusting it, which
often leads to damage. Some models offer swiveling ear cushions, which may alleviate
you require "in-use" lights? These reduce the chance of interruptions
form co-workers who do not realize that someone is on the telephone.
Customizing Headset Options to Work for You.
A common concern is how to reduce noise interference at the call center. The
caller needs to feel like when they call you they are talking to just one person.
One way to address the noise problem is to use a noise-canceling microphone,
another way is to use ear cushions. Noise canceling microphones, like that shown
on the Plantronics model at right, are well suited for call centers with a decibel
level of 65 or higher - about as loud as a leaf blower or busy street. Many
call centers are designed with sound-reducing floor plans, sound dampening material
and acoustic designs, and so may not require use of noise canceling headsets.
An omni directional, or voice tube-type microphone is less position sensitive,
delivering high quality, clear sound even if the boom is not in the optimal
position. Although voice tubes should be replaced every six months or so, they
are still an economical choice as they are less susceptible to wire damage because
of their design.
are two options for over-the-head headsets, binaural to cover both ears, and
monaural to cover one ear. Another is the single, over-the-ear headset. Some
feel that the monaural product is better, as it allows agents to hear feedback
from supervisors and learn from other agents. For call centers with high turnover,
a convertible headset, such as the Plantronics model pictured above, which allows
an agent to switch between over the head and over the ear, may be a good choice.
Call center agents should be asked for their input in choosing a headset style.
Some will prefer the over-the-head model, while others will prefer the over-the-ear
model. Most manufacturers make both. Cordless units, like the GN Netcom model
shown right, are also becoming available, as are headsets in custom colors.
Many of the sales people here at Main Resource use headsets, and it seems they
each prefer a different model. If the agents are not consulted, headsets may
suffer abuse or repeated attempts to adjust it comfortably, which often leads
Other Issues to Consider
What happens when the headset you purchased needs repair? It is wise to
carefully examine your supplier's repair and replacement policies. Ask about
the manufacturer's warranty. All headsets sold by Main Resource include a 2-year
warranty. It is also a good idea to have a few extra headsets on hand. To extend
the life of your headset, clean or replace the replaceable features such as
the foam over the microphone and the earpiece every six months. In time the
pieces become dirty and unsanitary and the quality of transmission will be reduced.
With proper care, a typical headset will last from two to three years without
Consider establishing a Headset Service Station in your office. Here, inventory
management would be maintained and agents could drop off a damaged headset to
be sent out for service. Should you have a problem, Main Resource will advance
sip headsets before the problem-units are received.
Optimize the return on your investment by taking the time needed to find the
headset with the options that will work for your company.
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