Return on investment: the advantages of quality headsets.

Author:Palonen, Eric

Headsets are the single most important link between consumers and businesses. Most consumer-oriented companies rely on contact centers to handle high volumes of customer inquiries, and contact centers must therefore thrive on efficiency. High-quality headsets streamline endless phone calls to quick, effective transactions by cutting down on any wasted time spent repeating information or fiddling with headset adjustments. When businesses invest in premium headsets for each agent in their contact centers, the benefits are quickly realized.

Sound quality is the most important feature of a good headset, and must be satisfactory on both ends of the call. Customers will become frustrated if they can hear the bustle of the contact center more clearly than the agent, and worse, if the agent's voice comes through the call with all of the crackles and pops of a poor microphone. Agents will also become aggravated when they cannot hear the caller and are forced to ask the customer to repeat information. The agent may be forced to take a hand off the keyboard to reposition the headset or make any other adjustment, which increases the length of the call and contributes to input errors. Better headsets eliminate these problems. A proper noise-canceling microphone eliminates the sounds of agents sitting in the next cubicle; the only sound the customer will hear is the clarity of the agent's voice. The transaction will then take place quickly and seamlessly.

It is important to consider how beneficial quality headsets can be to a company. For example, a call may span the length of a minute when the agent is using a poor-quality headset, since information may need to be repeated. With a high-quality headset, the need to repeat information is reduced, shaving valuable seconds off the call. Imagine this: if 500 contact center employees begin using sufficient headsets, valuable seconds are reclaimed, translating into thousands of minutes and hundreds of hours of efficiency. From here, it's not hard to determine out how those saved work hours can lead to thousands of dollars in savings that otherwise would have gone toward hourly wages. It becomes easy to see how the benefits of a high-quality headset can lead to a return on investment.

Another important (not to mention economical) consideration is safety. Sometimes, contact center agents may experience what is known as acoustic shock syndrome, which is caused by unexpected noise "bursts" that may impair hearing. This syndrome...

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