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In order to have successful interactions in the call center, every piece of equipment on the network must perform to the highest of standards, including the headsets. Companies that purchase inexpensive headsetsoften pay the price later, when their agents begin to complain about poor sound quality, broken parts, lack of comfort, or worst of all, damage to their hearing.

Many companies are now realizing the importance of purchasing high quality headsets for their agents. They’re starting to look at things like the type of the speaker material; the strength of the wire harnesses; the sound quality; the level of comfort; noise canceling capabilities; and the overall functionality of the headset, before making a buying decision.

_____________________ Give your agents cheap headsets that are uncomfortable, break easily, deliver poor sound quality, or do a lousy job of canceling out external noise and you are more than likely affecting their performance.
And there are a lot of factors to consider when buying a headset. Beyond the quality of the materials used and the craftsmanship, there are many different styles and types on the market. For example, there are wireless headsets, corded over-the-head headsets, corded over-the-ear headsets, cordless phone headsets and VoIP headsets. Choosing the right type for your call center can be a daunting task. You might want to consider whether your agents need to be mobile while taking calls, in which case you’ll want to go with wireless headsets. Or, if you have agents who are picky about comfort or who are concerned about hearing damage from “acoustic shock,” you might want to base your decision on those factors as well. And if your call center has gone all-IP, a shipment of VoIP headsets might be in order.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the headset plays a critical role in agent performance. For your agents, the headset is perhaps the most significant piece of equipment, because, other than their chair, it is the one thing they must be in direct contact with throughout the entire shift – every shift, week in, week out. Give your agents cheap headsets that are uncomfortable, break easily, deliver poor sound quality, or do a lousy job of canceling out external noise and you are more than likely affecting their performance. And as study after study shows, happier agents perform better. So, having good headsets in your call center isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity.

To learn more about the latest trends in headset technology for the call center, we asked three of the leading headset manufacturers — Senheiser, Plantronics and GN Netcom — to provide us their views on what is happening now and what is coming in the future. We have also provided a list of companies that either manufacture or resell (where indicated) headset products. We urge you to visit these companies’ Web sites for more information.

Ahern Communications (reseller)





Black Box Network Services (reseller)




CommuniTech (reseller)




Dowumi Corp. (under the Vonia brand)




Elevn Networks (reseller)




eMicrophones, Inc. (reseller)/

SpeechControl.com (reseller)





Founders Telecom (reseller)


 800-333-0020 or 512-858-9677


GBH Communications (reseller)




Global Teck Worldwide (reseller)




GN Netcom

 (a GN Great Nordic company)




Headset Discounters (reseller)




HeadsetExperts.com (reseller)




Headset Innovations (reseller)




Headset Zone (reseller)




Headsets.com (reseller)




HeadsetsPod.com (reseller)




Hello Direct (part of the GN

Netcom/GN Great Nordic family)




JABRA Corporation (part of the GN

Netcom/GN Great Nordic family)




Phonemaster Communications, Inc.




PhoneMerchants (reseller)




The Phone Source (reseller)








Polaris (reseller)


 T - 61 3 9320 1200


Pro Tech Communications, Inc




Sennheiser Communications




Tape-Tel Electronics (reseller)




TWAcomm.com, Inc. (reseller)




VXI Corporation, Inc.




Window to Technology Ltd. (reseller)




Contact centers are constantly challenged to improve customer satisfaction and agent productivity. Many are turning to wireless headsets to help meet these challenges. In a contact center, new wireless headsets help improve call speed resolution of customer problems and enable floor supervisors to remain “on call” and engaged even when they’re away from their desks.

Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

The success of most contact centers is judged by customer satisfaction levels. While there are many elements that impact customer interactions, the speedy resolution of problems is one of the most important. Wireless mobility helps floor supervisors solve customer problems in real time without the need to put customers on hold or call them back once they’ve retrieved the necessary information. Floor supervisors can be more efficient, thus decreasing call time, by moving about the office to perform supportive tasks and actively engage with agents. The latest headsets let users roam hundreds of feet away from their desks, with excellent call clarity, while staying connected.

In the event that a call needs to be escalated to a supervisor, hold time is minimized, since the supervisor is available to answer the call even if away from their desk with the remote call answer/end capabilities of the newest wireless headsets on the market. The supervisor can also visit the agent’s desk to lend support and provide quicker resolution.

Whether new hire orientation or a refresher session with a senior agent, keeping the agents properly trained is a round-the-clock task. Wireless headsets increase training effectiveness by allowing the coach to observe agents’ key strokes and body language from afar without the agent knowing — eliminating the need for desk side monitoring. This creates a more natural training environment, where supervisors can gain a true assessment of agent performance.

Guaranteeing Employee Comfort
and Convenience

In addition to the well-known ergonomic benefits of headsets, the latest wireless systems provide other features that are useful for contact centers. For example, most headsets now offer extended battery life so that contact center associates can work an entire shift without having to stop and plug in to recharge the battery. Some systems also offer a base that easily pairs with several different headsets so that as shifts change, agents can immediately start working. Using a shared base also helps lower expenses as contact centers only purchase an additional headset top, versus an entire system.

Maintaining Sound Quality

One of the main elements affecting a customer’s impression of a contact center is the sound quality that the customer encounters. Background noise and crackling audio can make a contact center seem unprofessional, no matter how skilled the agent. The latest wireless headsets have noise-canceling microphones that filter background noise and enable crisp audio quality. Digital signal processing (DSP) is a new technology that some of the latest headsets use to mitigate echo and uneven amplitude.

Headsets that are 1.9GHz DECT 6.0-compliant are gaining popularity in contact center environments because they promote clear calls without interference from typical office equipment, like Wi-Fi networks, security systems and microwave ovens. These headsets are particularly attractive because they operate in a protected, voice-dedicated frequency.

Today’s wireless headsets are compatible with a variety of telephony infrastructures, including IP, and legacy PBX equipment. This is beneficial, as audio deterioration, like latency issues, pops and ticks, often occurs as a result of incompatible signals or equipment.

It’s clear that wireless headsets offer contact centers many benefits that can help improve service and impact the bottom line. As innovations in the space continue to develop, so will the positive affects on contact centers.


Today’s contact centers are the epitome of efficiency. Through technology and logic, corporations large and small are able to effectively manage their customers in bulk. Thus, the use of headsets in the call center has increased out of necessity. Without them, agents would be inefficient, susceptible to injury and unable to multitask. Sennheiser Communications, an advocate of safe acoustical technologies, uses many of these advancements in extreme environments from concert stages to contact centers all over the globe. Further, the penetration of wireless headsets in the contact center has boosted efficiency for workers that need mobility. As wireless technology improves, headset technology follows and permits headset users access to critical information faster and farther than ever before. Unfortunately, many wireless solutions lack true user-efficiency via multi-device interfacing with concurrently extended range.

Enter a new age of wireless headsets from Sennheiser Communications. The venerated BW900 fuses mobility and efficiency in one simple, powerful and easy-to-use device. Imagine a headset that communicates voice with a quality that rivals a wired handset. Imagine a headset that interfaces with your desktop phone and your voice-enabled Bluetooth device at the same time. Imagine that same device, seamlessly toggling between the mobile in your pocket and your land line with a range of up to 300 feet. This high-performance professional headset was designed to solve common communication problems and boost efficiency.

Call quality is no longer a luxury in a wireless headset. Rather, it is tantamount to the success of the communication. By introducing Adaptive Intelligence, the BW900 ensures that every call is made with the clarity you would expect out of a wired handset. This highly advanced digital signal processing (DSP) circuit listens to the user environment while in chorus adapting the volume and microphone gain settings to optimum levels for that user. Further, an advanced set of noise filters intelligently remove background noise while keeping voice quality intact. This occurs in real-time, even with a rapid change in environment such as the relocation from a quiet office to a noisy sales floor. The users’ preferences are stored for a customized communication experience from the moment the headset is worn.

Incoming call quality is just as critical. Intelligible audio is required for accurate, timely data processing or the call quickly becomes a marathon instead of a track meet. Headset audio should be pristine with consistency in volume level. Sennheiser’s BW900 features ActiveGard™ (also found in every contact center headset they produce) to prevent sudden, harmful bursts of volume from reaching the users’ ear. ActiveGard is always on and always working to protect the user from potential hearing damage.

Another key component of efficiency in a wireless headset is battery life. After all, if a headset is not usable, you cannot experience the benefits of that headset. Sennheiser responded to this challenge by providing a user-replaceable battery that can be changed in the middle of a call without disconnecting the other party. The spare battery charges up faster than it is depleted, allowing for unlimited talk time via hot-swapping.

Managing a device with this many advanced functions would seem like a daunting task, however Sennheiser Communications has streamlined the feature-set into a friendly interface that is both elegant and simple to use within moments after opening the box. One can easily see the effective use of time from the arrival of the package to the last call of the day. As an all-in-one device for voice communication, it is also a device you can expect to be comfortable to wear for extended periods. A lightweight, ergonomic design with robust build qualities and a two year warranty ensures long operating life without sacrificing comfort.

Through the years, the headset has evolved from an option to a requirement. Armed with exclusive technologies posed to take contact centers into the future, the Sennheiser Communications BW900 is the professional’s choice for state-of-the-art voice communication.



Technological advances in call center and office headsets have created endless possibilities for increased industry efficiency and agent proficiency. Headsets, however, have yet to reach their full potential. Products that fail to filter ambient noise can limit an agent’s ability to communicate, while unwieldy design makes it impossible for agents to feel comfortable while working. As we anticipate the future of call center and office headsets, we see that the trends of design, technology, wireless connectivity and multi-use enhancements contribute to a common goal of increased call center efficiency and flexibility. Improvements in standard capabilities will allow agents unprecedented comfort and clarity. Meanwhile, innovation will pursue inter-functionality and make headsets much more multi-faceted tools.


Headset providers continue to introduce increasingly smaller and more lightweight designs. This directly translates to increased user comfort. Without the distraction of constantly readjusting an uncomfortable product, agents can efficiently deliver excellent service, customer after customer. While the widespread popularity of earhooks and headband headsets among agents shows no signs of letting up, a behind-the-neck wearing style is becoming more in-demand.

Technology Innovation

Just as good design increases user comfort, superior performance eliminates noise. Features like effective noise cancellation provide for crystal clear communications in noisy working environments. Designers and engineers also continually strive to improve audio performance. Acoustic Shock Protection that limits sudden bursts of “peak noise” to protect users hearing is becoming more and more important. Directives passed in Europe mandate decibel limits for both peak and sustained sound levels that reach a user’s ear. Agents consider these capabilities essential to their jobs, and clarity will become a standard feature among all premium headsets.

Wireless Influence

As noise reduction and comfortable design become more commonplace, you can also expect to see greater inter-functionality. Headsets will integrate multiple interfaces for phones, and computer USB connections. That combined with Wideband audio capabilities will enable IP telephony applications with softphones like Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. Inter-functionality will also be evident in the influx of products that bridge the gap between standard office headsets and Bluetooth mobile headsets. Call centers will continue demand for corded headsets, and manufacturers will remain committed to producing those products. However, there is a new trend towards wireless call center headsets. After headsets have reached an industry standard for comfort, the next step will be toward wireless headsets, boosting user ease and enabling even higher productivity.

Engineered with the End-user in Mind

While focusing on agent comfort, headset manufacturers often overlook a key issue: most often, their products will not have just one end user, but multiple end users. It’s essential that products accommodate multiple agents with features that allow for stored personal settings and preferred volume levels. This eliminates agents having to manually readjust settings at their beginning of their shifts. Products like the Jabra GN8210 provide both of these benefits, and several others. The first headset amplifier solution to use DSP to reduce noise on incoming calls, the GN8210 also supplies unsurpassed digital protection against sudden volume peaks and automatically regulates incoming call volume per user-defined levels. These amplifiers represent state-of-the-industry solutions for accommodating multiple users while achieving unprecedented sound quality.

While these trends might differ in terms of functionality, they all contribute toward improving the end-user(s) experience, which directly results in greater call center productivity.

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