Tech­ni­cal arti­cles

Perfection on the ears

5 Tips to help con­tact cen­ter man­agers find the right Head­set for their Agents

The good old call cen­ter has become a multi-​channel con­tact cen­ter. Ser­vice staff no longer take con­tact requests by phone only, but also on many dif­fer­ent chan­nels such as e-​mail or con­tact form, for exam­ple by let­ter and fax and recently also via chat. And yet: the tele­phone remains the undis­puted num­ber one among the chan­nels in the con­tact cen­ter. There are many rea­sons for this. For the cus­tomer, the tele­phone is an unques­tioned very famil­iar com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel. You receive imme­di­ate feed­back on a prob­lem by tele­phone, espe­cially when they are com­plex and con­cerns can still be bet­ter clar­i­fied through spo­ken lan­guage and its result­ing feed­back and reas­sur­ance options than for exam­ple writ­ten lan­guage – even if a lot is hap­pen­ing here.

Tele­phon­ing in a con­tact cen­ter has long since ceased to mean pick­ing up the hand­set or press­ing but­tons. Instead, agents answer calls at the click of a mouse. Tele­phony moves from spe­cial hard­ware to the com­puter. Soft­phone solu­tions like Skype for Busi­ness make it pos­si­ble. A func­tional head­set is there­fore along with pow­er­ful uni­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­tact cen­ter soft­ware, the main work tool of agents. Con­tact cen­ter man­agers should not under­es­ti­mate this point and pro­vide their employ­ees with high-​quality, robust head­phones that suit the work sit­u­a­tion and the wearer. Con­tact cen­ter man­agers should pay atten­tion to these five points when select­ing head­sets for their employ­ees

Intel­li­gent noise sup­pres­sion: con­cen­trated work under noisy con­di­tions

In a typ­i­cal con­tact cen­ter many employ­ees work together in a small space. In such places, it is com­mon for up to 100 agents to work in a large room, which are only sep­a­rated by low screens and every­one is on the phone. The noise pol­lu­tion is high, and the oper­a­tion is usu­ally hec­tic.

Depend­ing on the ser­vice offered, angry cus­tomers may need to be calmed down and prob­lems solved. This cre­ates a tense atmos­phere.

Con­cen­trated work under such aus­pices is unthink­able in other pro­fes­sion­als and yet that is the every­day life in the con­tact cen­ter. In addi­tion, on the phone there are increas­ingly tricky cases that need to be resolved, as light requests are auto­mat­i­cally han­dled by com­put­ers. Most of the time the call­ing cus­tomers are bet­ter informed by pre­vi­ous online research and enter into dis­cus­sions at a high level.

Any­one who must per­form cog­ni­tively on high demand­ing work at high noise lev­els for sev­eral hours must be par­tic­u­larly well shielded. The head­set there­fore needs max­i­mum noise sup­pres­sion. Pro­fes­sional head­phones not only atten­u­ate voices, ambi­ent noise or noise peaks from the sur­round­ings using intel­li­gent, built-​in micro­phone tech­nol­ogy; they also fil­ter out inter­fer­ence sig­nals from the other person’s sig­nal, for exam­ple when they call from the car.

Ergonom­ics: Light, pleas­ant, yet robust

For some­one who wears his tools for hours on his body, ergonom­ics is the be-​all and end-​all. A con­tact cen­ter head­set should there­fore be light­weight above all, and the indus­try stan­dard is around 75 grams for stereo mod­els. The head­phones should be adjustable in fine gran­u­lar­ity and should fit snugly to the head. At crit­i­cal points, such as the ears, con­tact cen­ter head­sets must be pleas­ant to the touch and softly padded.

At the same time, a pro­fes­sional head­set must be par­tic­u­larly robust, espe­cially in highly stressed places such as the cable, which must with­stand office chair turn­ing, buck­ling or sharp objects, or the micro­phone arm, which should be made of extremely break-​proof plas­tic.

With or with­out cable?

Basi­cally, one can dis­tin­guish between corded and wire­less head­sets. The radio mod­els offer greater flex­i­bil­ity and a larger radius of action but are also more expen­sive. Corded mod­els start at a price of 100 euros. The wire­less ver­sion should cost at least 200 euros.

If wire­less head­sets are to be used, con­tact cen­ter man­agers should keep two things in mind: oper­at­ing time and bat­tery charg­ing time. The for­mer should last a com­plete work­ing day with­out any loss in acoustic qual­ity. The bat­tery charg­ing time should be as short as pos­si­ble if charg­ing is required dur­ing work­ing hours. Fast charg­ing cycles of 30 min­utes for 40 per­cent bat­tery capac­ity are commo

Think­ing today about tomor­row: Com­pat­i­bil­ity and Inter­faces

In the past, head­sets were con­nected to desk phones or spe­cial hard­ware. Nowa­days, All-​IP head­sets com­mu­ni­cate more often with PCs. These are not designed for the best pos­si­ble sound, but to ensures that the input qual­ity of the voice sig­nals is cor­rect. Head­sets for con­tact cen­ter use sophis­ti­cated micro­phone tech­nol­ogy that fil­ters out the agent’s breath­ing noises, for exam­ple. The best pos­si­ble acoustic expe­ri­ence is an ever-​increasing fac­tor in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, dis­plac­ing KPIs such as call length or fre­quency.

On the soft­ware side, pro­fes­sional head­sets are spe­cially designed for use with con­tact cen­ter sys­tems. Intel­li­gent soft­ware solu­tions are increas­ingly being used to ana­lyze con­ver­sa­tions in the back­ground. These include para­me­ters such as emo­tions, pitch, is the caller ner­vous and how does he react? Open inter­faces are there­fore impor­tant so that providers of new tech­nolo­gies can inte­grate the head­sets directly into their spe­cial appli­ca­tions with­out any prob­lems

Try­ing goes Beyond Study­ing

The pre­vi­ous points have shown that there are some basic points con­tact cen­ter man­agers should pay atten­tion to when pur­chas­ing head­sets. And yet, in the end, try­ing goes beyond study­ing. Just as with glasses, the wearer must decide whether the head­set fits. Whether over­head head­band, neck­band, mono ver­sus stereo or even the con­vert­ible ver­sion for only one ear, whether wire­less or wired – there is always the right head­set for every need. How­ever, the same model does not apply to all employ­ees.

It is also impor­tant that the agents can try dif­fer­ent head­sets. For exam­ple, they can assess the effect of noise sup­pres­sion and thus how loud or quiet they need to speak. Also, after the pur­chase a reg­u­lar check should take place whether the equip­ment still fits cor­rectly, whether the other party is under­stood cor­rectly and under­stands well.

Only if the model is selected as required can the best ben­e­fit be derived from it.

If you have any ques­tions, please feel free to con­tact us: info@​ipdynamics.​de