The rise of UC has provided contact centres with new ways to interact with customers, however, voice is still king! An organisation may have the most advanced, sophisticated contact centre solution with the most knowledgeable and experienced agents, however, if those agents are not equipped with ‘fit for purpose’ headsets then can the contact centre really be operating at full productivity, providing the best customer service and maximising every revenue opportunity?
Considered by many to be a low cost, commodity product, the headset is often overlooked when contact centres are deployed. However, it is the headset that has the greatest impact on agent performance by guaranteeing high voice quality, with the following benefits:
Reducing agent call time
Deploying noise-cancelling headsets improves call clarity, which means that agents and customers can converse without external noise distractions. This helps to reduce listener fatigue and the need to repeat information; important in certain industries, such as finance and legal, where complex, detailed information is often communicated. Eliminating the need to repeat information helps to reduce agent call time, meaning agents can handle more calls in the same amount of time – a key priority for all contact centre managers!
Reducing agent call time directly impacts customer service by lowering the time customers wait in queues and spend on the phone; the quicker agents clear a call, the quicker they become free to deal with a queuing customer… Furthermore, customers want to speak to an agent and finish the call as quickly as possible. Being able to clearly hear the agent (notwithstanding accent and language difficulties) limits the need for repeat information, avoids unnecessary frustrations and (hopefully) leaves the customer satisfied. Note that during the call other elements of UC may come into play, such as the agent using Presence and IM in order to contact knowledge experts for ‘real-time’ resolution of questions/issues.
In a recent study by Jabra, 68% of customers complained about having to wait a long time before being answered. In the same study, 66% of customers complained about not being able to easily understand a call centre agent.
Freedom to roam
Do you want to limit agent productivity to the desk? Providing agents with a wireless headset gives freedom to roam the office while staying in contact with customers and supervisors. For example, the agent may need to locate customer files, visit the printer or speak to a colleague located away from the desk. Rather than place the customer on hold, or even worse, hang up and call back the customer, the agent can continue the call while roaming the office. Providing first time resolution to customer calls improves productivity and customer satisfaction. For supervisors, being able to roam the office and interact with agents, while remaining contactable, also helps to improve the contact centre operation.
Enhanced revenue opportunities
Enabling agents to handle more customer calls can provide greater opportunity to grow revenue. For example, increasing customer engagement means increasing the potential to take more orders as well as upselling products & services. Furthermore, delivering superior customer service helps to create customer loyalty, resulting in customer retention and repeat business.
It’s widely accepted that every agent needs a headset to maximise the success of a contact centre. However, not every headset is the same. These top tips will help to ensure the ‘right headset’ is deployed:
- ‘You get what you pay for’ is a phrase that best describes the range of headsets. Low cost headsets are low cost for a reason. They may be fine for an occasional user but not for a contact centre agent. Don’t look at the initial investment cost; instead consider the long term benefits to the business by deploying the ‘right headset’.
- Noise-cancelling is a fundamental requirement of any contact centre headset. Do you want your customers overhearing background conversations? Not only is this unprofessional, it also has a negative impact on agent productivity and customer satisfaction.
According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, 65% of contact centre managers interviewed said that noise cancellation was the top quality they look for in headsets.
- Do I need a mono or duo headset? As a general rule, agents benefit from a duo headset whereas supervisors gain more from a mono. A duo headset forces both ears to listen and cuts out more background noise, therefore aiding concentration on the customer conversation. A mono headset enables the wearer to have one ear free to hear office noise, while the other ear focuses on the caller.
- Do I need a corded or wireless headset? Whether a corded or a wireless headset is needed should be a simple choice based on whether there is a need to roam the office. However, it’s also important to factor in cost as corded headsets are considerably cheaper than wireless headsets. Therefore, try to only deploy wireless solutions where mobility is necessary.
- Only use headsets which have been approved for the contact centre solution such as Avaya, Cisco, and Microsoft Skype for Business. Headset vendors Jabra, Plantronics and Sennheiser are all certified.
- Personal choice! Every agent is different, so one headset will not necessarily be the best fit for all agents! Select, test and allow agents to evaluate a range of headsets to ensure they choose the ‘right headset’, both from a comfort and feature perspective.
- Train and evaluate! It’s the agent who will wear and use the headset every day. Ensure training is provided so that agents gain the maximum benefit from the headset. Not knowing how to use the headset properly can be counter-productive and adversely impact customer service.