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Easy headset maintenance for agents
As any call center manager knows, headsets are prone to breaking. This is not because they are not designed for heavy use, or because they are badly made, but because there are always going to be people who fiddle with, chew and mistreat their equipment. Although customers who use our headset management service don't have to worry too much about the financial effect of frequent breakages (as repairs and replacements are free) it is still inconvenient, and those who do not avail themselves of our management services will certainly feel the pinch of frequent replacements when many of these breakages can be avoided.
Training and educating headset users in proper use of their new equipment will help reduce avoidable problems further down the line, and sometimes a small investment in additional accessories can be worthwhile. One of the biggest bugbears of telephone headset users is the equipment slipping on the corded side. The weight and movement of the headset cable can pull the headset around, leading to frequent adjustment of the entire assembly and unnecessary adjustments of the microphone boom. Sometimes people will improvise a cable clip from a paperclip, which is not designed for that purpose. This leads to damaged cables which must be replaced. Using a dedicated clothing clip stops the headset from falling on the cabled side and it does not damage the cable at all. If the equipment is securely in place, less time is lost to adjusting the headset during and between calls, and unnecessary wear and tear can be avoided.
Empowering people to take responsibility for their headsets encourages proper use, storage and cleaning, so managers could implement a scheme rewarding the person whose headset lasts the longest, or is in the best condition after a set time period. Punishing people for breaking their telephone headset may go against the atmosphere of a happy office, so positive reinforcement is preferred and it gives people something to aim for. Headsets should be stored in a bag when not in use, and the cables tidied and rolled up without tangles. Keeping your telephone headset in a bag stops dust getting to it, as well as protecting it from whatever else lurks in a desk drawer. Keeping cables tidy and untangled means no pulling on the cable or yanking out knots, which can cause serious damage to the wires inside. Storing a headset in this manner also makes cleaning easier, as it is protected from dirt.
Regular headset cleaning helps to prolong the life of the equipment, and ear cushions should be cleaned regularly and replaced every six months. Foam ear cushions are excellent for harboring bacteria, so should be washed in warm soapy water and left to dry thoroughly. Leatherette ear cushions are preferred, as they only need to be wiped with antibacterial wipes and need no drying out time. Monaural headsets are often improperly cleaned by users; they may be cognizant of the need to clean the ear cushions, yet ignore the T-bar which keeps the headset in place. This sits against the scalp and collects just as much dirt as an ear cushion but it is often overlooked. It should be cleaned as frequently as ear cushions with an antibacterial wipe, or a small brush if there is grime stuck in it.
Microphones, whether cushioned or not, require just as much cleaning as ear cushions, if not more. They collect bacteria from the mouth, food particles and also bacteria from the hands and can harbor diseases like the common cold. They should be subjected to the same cleaning schedule as the rest of the headset. It is good practice to hold a weekly headset cleaning session in a call center, or more frequently if the equipment is shared. Integrating this as part of company policy ensures all employees have the time set aside to clean their telephone headsets (so there are no excuses not to do it) and fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and responsibility on the matter.
Ideally, in a company where these assets are valued and treated with respect it will be possible to eradicate the common abuse of telephone headsets by bored or distracted agents, but it all starts with the small steps outlined above.