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Telephone headsets – aren't they all the same?
Many telephone headsets look similar. There is a microphone and earpiece on every model and headband and cable on many others, from the most basic to the most expensive. Some types have two earpieces which can support stereo sound when used with a computer, but when used with a telephone will offer the same sound from both ears – as telephones only offer a single input and output channel.
The most basic telephone headsets offer functionality over style and substance and often have a single, foam covered earpiece and a microphone. These typically have shorter cables than others, as they are designed primarily for call centre users who do not have to leave their desks during calls. Call centre software usually has a mute function built in, but also answers and ends calls, so there is no need for call answering functionality on the headset itself. They will not be wireless but will fulfil the requirements of most call centre users at a cheap price.
The very top of the range is a wireless, binaural headset with mute and answer functions enabled within the device as well as more comfortable ear cushions and earpiece lights, that indicate to colleagues that you are on a call. Some high end wireless headsets are designed to be worn over one ear, but most are designed to be worn over the head like standard earphones. Regular headset users may prefer a headset with multi-connectivity, allowing for use with a smartphone, desktop phone and computer. For the self-employed, it may be a smart option to invest in a high-end telephone headset that will function as a hands-free device for taking calls when driving and for listening to music at home or on the move, as it will ultimately be cheaper than buying separate headphones and a hands-free car kit. Noise isolating headphones are a little more expensive, but when concentration is key in a noisy environment they are invaluable. They are also ideal for cancelling out noise on a train or plane, if you want to sleep or listen to music undisturbed.
Some headsets are designed for light use – they are not too robust and are aimed primarily at office workers who may use a headset infrequently for conference or video calls. The sturdier headsets designed for mobile use, or for frequent use in a call centre are more expensive, but this is because they are built to withstand much more frequent handling. Headsets designated by the manufacturer as “light use” are often not covered under warranty for use in a call centre, as the heavy use is more than they can withstand and they are more prone to breaking when used constantly by multiple people. Without the security of a valid manufacturer’s warranty call centre managers could end up spending much more on replacing cheap headsets, than if they had spent a little more on a suitable model.
In cost terms, a basic headset will cost around $40, but a high end, branded model could set you back up to $400 – significantly more than light users will want to pay. It is important to note the huge differences in functionality, sound quality and comfort between the cheaper and more expensive models, and your requirements should lead the choice of headset, rather than just the price. Investing in a cheap model that actually does not fulfil all the needs of the individual user, will only mean more spend is required to upgrade sooner than expected. Spending a little more on a well-researched headset makes long term economic sense.
Choosing the right type of headset for an individual, or for wider organisational use can be very confusing, and it is necessary to do some research and specification exercises with the intended user(s) to ensure that the most suitable headsets are purchased. As many people do not know all the ins and outs of phone headsets keep questions jargon-free and as simple as possible, and ask open ended questions to uncover any requirements that may not arise from yes-or-no questioning. TruVoice can help you as an individual, or your organisation, make the right choice of headset, and also advise on a maintenance and management system, to ensure your business can function effectively even if headsets get broken or go missing.