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Call Center Headsets: Even IVR Calls Sometimes Go 'Live'

September 04, 2014

It may seem like a strange idea, considering the right headset for call centers. For many, the best unit for a call center is the one that lets call center reps answer calls, or otherwise deliver calls, and that's the end of the discussion. But there's a lot more that goes into the right choice of a call center rep's headgear, and it's the kind of choice that can make the difference between profitability and lost sales. To that end, ITWebAfrica took a look at just what should go into the selection process for the best in call center headsets.

So what should those setting up call centers, or otherwise maintaining the ones currently in operation, be looking for? The best thing to do is to start by considering the environment in which said headset will be used. Is the call center densely populated? If it is, noise-cancellation systems should be a consideration so that the reps can hear what's going on in the call to begin with. Consider also the ease of use involved with the device itself; if it's going to take a few hours of training to get the reps up to speed on the unit, that's a lot of time and lost opportunity to consider.

Durability and comfort should also be considerations; the reps will be spending a lot of time using these, and flimsy, uncomfortable headsets will likely be quickly broken and need replacing frequently, a matter that will take quite a bit of otherwise useful resources out of the system. But a durable headset that wears well will stand the test of time and mean fewer replacements and fewer delays in workflow.

Further, consider how the headsets will be used. Does the call center rep need to do a lot of moving around the office? That's going to call for a wireless headset, and may require considerations for reach and platforms that it can work with in a bid to keep operating. Finally, there are even points of legislation to consider, depending on location. For instance, in the European Union (EU), there are regulations that require hearing protection for workers where noise levels exceed 80 decibels, which is approximately the same volume as a garbage disposal. A call center environment might match or even beat that, and obeying such regulations will prove valuable in not needing to pay fines or other penalties for violation of same.

One thing, here, is quite readily apparent: all headsets are not created equal. While headsets do commonly accomplish the same purpose, said headsets achieve that accomplishment in so many different ways that the overall package has to be considered in light of the individual conditions in which it will be used. Are there regulatory matters? Is the density of callers a problem? Does the rep have to move freely around the office?  Would it be better for morale if the rep could move freely, getting a chance to stretch and move throughout the day? Would it reduce health insurance costs or health-related absenteeism?

There are a lot of possibilities in the right headset, so don't make the mistake of simply buying the cheapest and expecting it to work. The right headset can mean a lot of value for a company, and all it takes is a little extra consideration of the issues.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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