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Choosing the right headset – a step by step guide
Choosing a telephone headset, whether you're looking for a single unit for yourself or multiple units to kit out a call center, is not a decision to be taken lightly. They are not cheap – even buying the least expensive option can be a big outlay when you are buying tens or hundreds of them – and if they are to improve productivity and reduce fatigue in the workplace, they must suit the nature of the environment or they could actually reduce productivity, if staff struggle to use them.
The first decision to make is whether you need a corded or a wireless headset. Corded ones tend to be cheaper but they can only be used in close proximity to the workstation. In open plan offices or those where there can be a lot of noise a wireless headset can provide the option to take a call in a quieter area, whereas a corded model means staying at your desk. If the headset is for use in a call center or other customer contact division then corded headsets are entirely suitable, as the agents need to be by their computers when taking a call.
The environment a headset will be used in makes a big difference to the features you will need. In a loud office, a noise cancelling or noise isolating headset helps block out unwanted noise from your surroundings. If you work in a quiet office, or have your own dedicated working area without people around you, you may not need this feature. It is important to fully explore the places you may use your headset, as it is easy to forget that sometimes you might be in a noisy place for business, especially if you are self-employed and meet clients in cafes or restaurants. If you work from home and have children around, then a noise cancelling headset is vital!
Part of the decision about noise cancelling technology influences the decision on whether to opt for a monoaural (single ear) or binaural (two ear) headset. It is something that should be considered in tandem with the noise cancelling question, as people with a definite need for blocking out unwanted noise would be better off opting for a binaural model. People who need to remain aware of their surroundings and what other staff are doing may prefer a monaural model which leaves one ear free.
At this stage in the decision making process, you have narrowed your choices down considerably, defining whether your preferred option is corded or wireless, monaural or binaural and noise isolating or not. If the further features are not too much of an issue, then you can make a final decision at this point, with cost being the last factor to take into account. However, there are further considerations for some workers and industries that will influence the type of headset you go for.
People working remotely and at different locations, like engineers and maintenance staff, will benefit from a wireless, noise isolating model so they can stay in touch with headquarters all day, no matter where they are. These workers need a headset that can connect to multiple devices, allowing them to take calls from a mobile phone, as well as a desk phone or computer when they are in the office. They may also benefit from voice activation features, so they can take and make calls at critical points during a repair job, without having to drop everything.
Staff who regularly participate in video conferences or who often make long distance calls to colleagues and clients around the world, will need a model which is compatible with Skype for Business (which used to be known as MS Lync). This compatibility feature means that the headset will work seamlessly with this video calling program and enable better international communication.
These last two criteria can also be the most important criteria for some users, so if this is the case please consider these questions before moving on to the others. Below is a handy checklist you can use to ensure you have covered all the possibilities when making your decision on which telephone headset to purchase. If you still have any questions after applying these filters to the search function of our website, then please give us a call on 1-888-448-5556 and we will be happy to talk you through the options.
- Wireless or corded?
- Noise cancelling or not? Will I always be in a quiet place?
- Binaural or monaural? See above.
- Multiple device connectivity?
- Skype for Business compatibility needed?