Selecting the Best Headset for Your Call Center

A good headset for your call center employees is a must. The folks you’ve hired to attend to incoming calls are vital for your business not only from a revenue standpoint, but also in addressing customer service issues.

In today’s marketplace, call centers are growing exponentially due to smaller businesses now able to set up their own call centers quickly and inexpensively. With VoIP services like Telzio, a small firm can virtually be up and running in no time, for as little as $1 per month.

With the number of hours your call center staff spends on the phones, headsets, which are both comfortable and efficient, are something your business should make a priority. The worst outcome is to purchase a headset to only find out that isn’t compatible with your IP phone, computer or employees.

Preliminary Questions

The challenge is to find the right equipment that meets all of your firm’s needs. VoIP Supply suggests your decision-making process should begin by first answering some pertinent questions:

Do you want sound in one ear or two ears? This will determine whether to select a monaural or binaural headset. Monaural is single ear headset typically used in less noisy offices, allowing users to hear ‘side conversations’ that may be taking place while they’re on the phone. Binaural is a two-ear piece headset that is best suited for the staff that needs to concentrate with the least amount of noise distraction.

Are you stationary or do you need to move around? This will determine whether a wired or wireless headset will best match your needs. If your employees are mobile, this may narrow your search to wireless technology.

What is your budget? When it comes to headsets you get what you pay for, but to prevent overspending you should consider setting a budget range, and only increase your spend when your due diligence and you reassess your cost-benefit analysis.

Who else needs a headset? If you’re buying a VoIP headset for business use, it’s quite possible that others might also need one. This might pertain to other departments such as sales, accounting or human resources. By making one purchase for all those in need, there may be some cost-savings on a volume purchase.

Corded, Wireless, Over-the-Head, Over-the-Ear?

Corded headsets range in price from around $50-$110 and are best suited for employees that are in a stationary position during most of their working hours. Wireless, on the other hand runs around $150-$500 and are definitely more flexible, allowing users to be mobile in making and receiving calls on-the-go, or remotely.

Over-the-Head or Over-the-Ear comes down to preference. This is where you ask the question . . . what is the most comfortable for your employees? Both corded and wireless headsets have the option of OTH or OTE.

Bluetooth or DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology)

A Bluetooth technology wireless headset has a maximum distance range from base station of about 30-40ft. However, the advantage of a Bluetooth headset is that it can used in the office as well as when your staff is on-the-go. A DECT wireless headsets has a maximum distance range of about 300ft, but can only be “married’ to their respective base stations.

2.5Mm or 3.5Mm Jack Differences?

Most phones today have either a 2.5 millimeter or 3.5 millimeter jack designed for headsets, ear buds and/or computer speakers. Both of these jacks are miniaturized versions of the original 6.3 millimeter telephone switchboard plug.

Both jacks are also called audio, stereo, phone or headset plugs. The 3.5 mm jack is called a “mini” as in mini-jack or mini-plug, and the 2.5 mm jack is called a “submini” as in submini-jack or submini-plug.

The 3.5 mm jack is the standard size for music players, personal computers, mobile phones and other portable electronic devices with audio. The 2.5 mm jack is standard for telephones that support headsets, including call centers and some cordless phones. Adapters allow a person to use both sizes interchangeably.

What about USB and RJ9?

Computer headsets that plug directly into your computer through the microphone and headphone jack are referred to as analog headsets or 3.5mm headsets. Analog headsets convert audio through the computer’s sound card and the quality can vary dependent on which sound card you are using.

USB headsets convert the audio in the USB printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) located in your headset or the headset controller and the sound quality is generally finer than a standard analog headset.

Wireless USB headsets generally use either Bluetooth or an RF connection and a USB adapter that plugs directly into your computer. Because the wireless signal can vary, it’s generally not a good idea to use wireless headsets with voice recognition software.

RJ9 is a considered a standard connector that many wired phones handsets use to plug into the telephone base itself. It is also known as 4P4C. It’s simply a 4 pin modular type plug. A 2.5mm or 3.5mm adapter can be used with a phone using that sort of connector.

What Brands to Purchase?

The type of headsets you purchase will depend mainly on your call center’s needs and budget. As noted above, they range in price from $10 to $500. When looking for more detailed information pertaining to the quality and recommendations, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Use their headphone buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider, and make sure to check out their ratings and customer reviews that provides you with some insightful feedback based on other users’ experience.

Important to note, like so much of today’s technology, telecommunications keeps evolving and spawning exciting new product lines. So, in conducting your due diligence online, always take into consideration the date of any report you’re researching. A 2012 review or recommendation, for instance might be outdated by newer technology having entered the marketplace.

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Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.