A high-tech headset is a wearable technology device which uses a tiny computer to optimise sound quality and communicate wirelessly with the contact centre platform. Being purpose-built for extended use, high-tech headsets increase agent satisfaction and are capable of integration with many other parts of the business to boost efficiency.

Businesses face many challenges in creating efficient working environments, as distractions like noise and ineffective workspace technology impact staff productivity. This is especially true in contact centres, where the power of conversation is at the heart of customer engagement. To enhance productivity and the customer experience, high-tech headsets deliver a number of features which benefit the agent, the organisation and the caller. More than just audio devices, they offer a range of features including audio protection for a safe listening level, noise exposure control, and noise-cancelling microphones to reduce background noise.

For agents, aerodynamically designed microphones reduce the risk of respiratory noise to optimise call quality, and wideband audio delivers higher quality speech for clear, intelligible communications. Practical features like 360-degree boom arms, and reinforced cords ensuring the headset is light enough for all-day wearing and improved agent comfort, help keep total cost of ownership down, reducing unnecessary headset replacements and lost agent time.

There is also a change in headset connectivity options as we see a shift from the desk phone of old to modern softphone interfaces. Wireless headsets enable greater agent mobility and the flexibility to take calls from a mobile desk and softphone. In the contact centre, the power of conversation is the main value driver; however, voice-driven technologies will see changes in the way people work. Devices that provide voice-activated assistance will evolve into the workplace and take over repetitive, mundane tasks, freeing up the agent to focus on more value-based activities.

Features to look for when selecting a high-tech headset for your contact centre
Audio environment What is the noise level within the working environment, and how are agents being affected by interruptions from colleagues? Noise-cancelling headsets, and headsets that are ergonomically designed with features that include HD voice, improve the conversation for both the agent and the customer.
Comfortable design If the agents’ dominant work mode is voice, they are likely to be wearing a headset for an extended period of time. Factors such as lightweight design, wearing style (single or dual headset), ear-cushions and high-quality cup material (soft foam and leather) support agent comfort.
Durability Durability is important when selecting a headset. Cheap, not so durable headsets, need replacing frequently, actually costing more in the long run. Headband flexibility, rotating microphone boom arm and reinforced cords extend the life of a headset markedly.

Headsets for productivity, not just comfort 

In addition to comfort factors, buyers should also consider the productivity benefits high-tech headsets can bring. There has been a strategic movement during the last decade towards getting more business value out of the conversation instead of producing customer interaction at the lowest possible cost.

Providing the right technology increases agent performance as the right tool for the task results in better outcomes, including shorter call times, fewer call transfers and improved first call resolution. More significantly, high-tech headsets increase employee engagement and overall job satisfaction, which improves agent retention, in turn resulting in lower recruitment and training cost.

Poor quality headsets, however, have disadvantages for all parties. An agent without the optimal technology can experience health and safety issues, such as acoustic shock, voice overuse or strain, or illness through poor headset hygiene. Poor quality headsets also impact on agent productivity. By not being able to effectively perform tasks, agents can experience increased stress levels and a lack of engagement with callers. This has potential flow-on effects, such as poor customer experience, potentially impacting the bottom line. In summary, high-tech headsets improve business performance through:

  • improved customer experience
  • uncovering new business opportunities
  • better branding and positive awareness
  • more efficient interactions
  • wireless mobility, reducing call transfers
  • higher job satisfaction – less staff turnover

Keep an ear out for application integration

As high-tech headsets evolve, their integration capability with other core technologies – such as WFM and CRM software – is advancing, which in turn helps an agent’s ability to service a customer. Headset touch and voice commands can be used to retrieve desired information from back office systems and suggestions can be sent to agents for sales opportunities. They also offer short-range wireless technology like Bluetooth and NFC for easy integration with mobile devices, computers and phone systems. Wireless protocols like Bluetooth and NFC can be used for authentication, content sharing and multimedia streaming.

There is a growing convergence around the audio experience where high-tech headsets are being used for both calls and multimedia. Audio solutions are being created to work across multiple end-points – from TVs to smartwatches – and high-tech headsets bring an ergonomic way of producing and consuming multimedia content. Headsets are not only for calls anymore.

Key metrics to be considered when evaluating the ROI on headsets include:

  • improved call response time
  • less downtime due to headset replacements
  • an increase in first call resolution, and
  • better application integration capabilities.

Other business outcomes from high-tech headsets include: 

  • agent usability and satisfaction. Employee satisfaction has been shown in study after study to correlate with better customer experience.
  • agent productivity – normally higher with high-tech headsets compared to basic models
  • agent well-being – which can be demonstrated through employee engagement surveys, exit interviews and attrition levels.

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