All headsets are pretty much the same, right? Many would say so I’m sure.
And, there’s really no difference between companies that provide wired phone headsets, wouldn’t you agree?
The truth is, there are differences between makes and models of office wired headsets as well as differences among the companies that provide them.
This blog is intended to provide you with some things to consider if you’re in the market for a new wired phone headset for yourself, your team or your enterprise.
Before we dive into products, it would be worthwhile to mention the differences among the companies in the headset industry who sell them. Below is a basic snapshot of who sells office headsets. Once you review this, you’ll see that differences do exist.
Most headset manufacturers produce products and then they make those products available to a wholesale Distributor. The Distributor, in many cases, only sells to authorized resellers and not to end customers. However, there are cases where the manufacturer makes exceptions and sells directly to the customer. Typically, these manufacturer sales are directed to larger, enterprise type organizations and not to small companies.
As the name suggests, a Distributor, well, distributes the product to the other arms of the distribution chain. Some Distributors sell only to companies that resell, while other Distributors sell to resellers as well as to end user customers. In most cases, Distributors do not provide post sale support such as help with set up or trouble resolution. Most of the time, the Distributor will redirect the customer to the manufacturer. There are exceptions, but rare.
Big Box Stores
These companies include those like Staples, Best Buy etc. who carry a wide assortment of products. Only a very small percentage of their products are wired phone headsets with the bulk of their business being in other, non-related technology areas.
Big box stores are unable to provide setup assistance, and technical support. They’re simply not set up to offer these services. Instead, if a Buyer places an order for a wired headset, and needs support, they’re directed to the manufacturer. As a Buyer, you get no vendor expertise, industry and product knowledge, and tailored, well thought out product recommendations.
Resellers are about as varied as your imagination might allow. Here are some of the Resellers that provide wired headsets as part of their portfolio.
Telecom companies. These companies could include those such as AT&T, Cisco, Avaya. In some cases, these companies will offer their own in-house brand of wired phone headset. Based on the fact that they make it, they too will support it
Phone service providers. These companies could include organizations that offer Voice Over IP phone service from RingCentral, Vonage, 8X8 and others. Their primary mission is to focus on their core business, which is providing voice services.
But many phone service providers also offer wired headsets more as a courtesy to their customers. In a lot of cases, these companies aren’t the most familiar with wired phone headsets, and are therefore unable to provide the level of support services needed by most customers.
Computer companies. As with phone service providers, computer companies are more interested in computer transactions rather than headset transactions. As such, they generally lack the expertise needed to make good, foundational wired headset recommendations and the setup and troubleshooting support as well.
Ergonomics companies. Though wired phone headset is an ergonomic product, and recommended, Ergo companies are more focused on the broader ergonomic picture. As such, many don’t offer office phone headsets and the needed services. They’ll instead commonly refer customers to other sources, such as on-line e-tailers.
Online sellers. These companies can vary a lot. You might be working with a company who literally works out of their garage, or, you might be interacting with a company from China. Or, you could be working with a company that doesn’t specialize in headsets at all, but has a listing posted for them.
Online sellers of headsets are all over the map when it comes to size, longevity, expertise, ethics and core focus among other things. Nowhere is the term caveat emptor, or buyer beware more applicable than when conducting business online.
Headset specialists. These are companies that specialize in office headsets and offer an assortment of makes and models that are suitable for a commercial office environment.
The headsets offered from these companies are typically known to handle the high call volumes and demands common to a busy office. Because these companies specialize in wired headsets, they’re able to make tailored recommendations as well as help you with setup and troubleshooting.
In most cases, you won’t need to engage the manufacturer, because these companies have the knowledge and expertise to help with most anything you might need. This makes the experience more streamlined and allows things to get done faster and more efficiently.
Headset specialists may also offer programs that can help lower your costs such as headset trade in or have a headset rental plan available to help keep your costs down.
Of all the places you can buy an office headset, buying from a company that specializes in headsets will help to give you the best possible buying experience.
You wouldn’t go to a General Practitioner when you need heart surgery, right? Specialists have a single focus compared to a generalist that focuses on many things. Do yourself a favor and limit your research to companies that specialize in office headsets.
Keep it movin
Ok, now that you have a better idea of the various outlets for wired phone headset, it’s time to start digging into the other things you should consider before plunking down your hard earned cash.
Below are some specific things related to the wired phone headset and vendor that you’ll want to consider before making your final purchasing decision.
What’s your budget?
Before you can move into the buying process, you need to start by determining your available budget. In other words, how much money do you have to spend on headsets?
Though this is obviously important, it’s good to know up front what you have to work with in terms of funding. After all, no sense in looking at models that aren’t within your financial reach.
Some vendors offer programs that help to lower costs. These programs can help you to afford office headsets that would otherwise not be in your price range. We’ll cover this important topic in more detail a little later.
What’s your style?
Now that you have a budget number, you’ll need to decide what type of headset you’re wanting or needing. Here’s what I mean by that;
Whether you’re looking for a wired phone headset or maybe a Plantronics USB headset, it really doesn’t matter. Your first decision is to decide on the headset wearing style. Here are the available choices for you to consider:
- Over-the-head mono. This headset is worn over the head and covers one ear. Many people like to have one ear uncovered and free to hear what’s going on around them.
- Over-the-head duo. This headset is worn over the head and covers two ears. This wearing style is popular for those who work in open, and generally noisy, office environments. Unwanted office noise can be distracting, and one way to help minimize those distractions is to have both ears covered.
- Over-the-ear. As the name suggests, this headset isn’t worn over the head like the previous two examples. Instead, it’s worn around the ear with a speaker that either goes into the ear, or rests against it. This is a good choice for anyone who doesn’t like wearing a wired phone headset over the head.
- Convertible. This type of wired headset can be worn over the head, covering one ear, but can also be “converted” to an over-the-ear wearing style. In a sense, it’s the best of both worlds.
Deciding on your wearing style can be driven by the environment you work in, your budget or perhaps personal preference.
Giving some advance thought to your work environment can help narrow down your choices allowing you to find the best wired headset for your specific needs.
Is your work environment noisy? If so, that can be very distracting and prevent good concentration. Poor concentration leads to poor job performance, so if worker productivity is important to you, you’ll want to give thought to an office headset solution that helps to better manage environmental room noise.
In this case, it would be an over-the-head, double ear model you’ll want to consider. Also, most any wired headset for the office will have a noise cancelling microphone. This helps to filter out the background noise from your office to your callers.
Do you have a lot of employee turnover? This can help shape your selection too as headsets are commonly passed down to new hires. If that’s the case in your office, a logical consideration would be the convertible model. Not everyone likes the same kind of headset. Some prefer wearing a wired phone headset over the head, while others prefer over the ear. A convertible model gives the new person both wearing options.
Do your employees all work in private offices? If so, a double ear headset wouldn’t make a lot of sense as there wouldn’t be environmental room noise to contend with. For those who work in private offices, single ear headsets are most common.
Do you have employees that get headaches when wearing headphones? This information can be obtained by doing a quick employee survey. For those who have difficulty wearing an office headset over their head, you’ll want to source an over-the-ear office headset.
As a footnote to this, people with very small ears normally have difficulty keeping an over-the-ear headset on. Typically, the size of their ear is too small to keep the headset in place.
Do you have several people sharing one office? Many organizations place several employees into one office due to space limitations. If so, you’ll want to outfit them all with a wired phone headset that covers both ears. The exception being those who get headaches with headbands.
Now that you’ve narrowed down the wearing style, how do you know it will be comfortable? Generally speaking, you won’t. So, what can you do to find out how comfortable, or not so comfortable a given wired headset is?
Ask your headset vendor who specializes in office headsets, for a free, no obligation demo on the model(s) you’re considering.
There is no other way to know if a headset is comfortable or not unless you try it out yourself. Even then, what’s comfortable to you, might not be comfortable to someone else. That suggests that your free demo headset
should be sampled by several people and not just one. This way, you can get a consensus as to comfort.
Why is comfort important?
In many cases, an office headset is worn all day long, and it’s something that’s worn personally. As individuals, we all have sensitivities to things like hats, glasses, contact lenses, etc. Having a headset that is lightweight and comfortable helps to make the all-day work shift a bit easier because the employee isn’t thinking about the discomfort being experienced by the office headset.
Office workers have a list of things that can be annoying, distracting and uncomfortable. As a Buyer or Manager, it’s your responsibility to find the best and most comfortable wired headset for your staff. Make an uncomfortable wired phone headset one of those things that’s taken off your employees list of annoyances.
If you’d like to read another blog on the subject of headset comfort, you can check it out here:
What good is a wired phone headset if it doesn’t sound good? It can be the right model for your situation, in your budget and comfortable, but if the sound quality is poor, you really don’t have an office headset that’s worth much.
It’s very annoying to get a call from someone you struggle to understand due to poor sound quality. There’s the need to have them repeat, as well as the frustration associated with the clicking, static, low volume or dropped call.
You want your customer to have the best possible experience when interacting with you, and one way to derail this right out of the gates is bad sound. Don’t let that be you. Make sure the wired phone headset you select is one that lives up to your expectations.
Like with other technology equipment, it’s not a bad idea to consider what your needs are today, but also what your needs might look like in 3-5 years. Having a read on this
can help form opinions on products not only suitable for your immediate needs, but also for your anticipated needs down the road.
Taking a wireless headset as an example, you can get a model that connects to a desk phone. But, what if your needs change in 2 years where you no longer use desk phones and you migrate to using Softphones instead? Guess what? You’ll be throwing out your desk phone headsets and buying new ones.
On the flip side, had you taken your future needs into account, you could have invested into an office wireless headset that can connect to desk phones and computers. Though it might cost a little more initially, it will save you money in the long run because it can adapt to your changing needs.
Take the time to give thought to your future needs before making your final office headset buying decision.
As noted at the top of this blog, there are many places one can purchase a wired phone headset for an office. Our recommendation is that you contract with a company that specializes in headsets because their experience, focus and expertise can be very beneficial to you.
That said, here are some additional things to give thought to when selecting a headset vendor for your next office headset.
Are they reputable? How long have they been in business? What do others say about them? You could amass a lengthy list here, but the main thing is know who you’re engaging with, and what their reputation is. You can:
- Google search the company
- Check Amazon reviews
- See what Yelp has to say
- Visit Manta
- See if they’re listed on the Better Business Bureau
Some vendors are flexible and offer unique programs that can help lower your wired headset costs. Here are two examples offered by Headset Advisor
Most companies have a place where they store office headsets that are broken, unused or unwanted. Either they remain stored away for a period of time where they’re eventually tossed out or you pay to have them properly recycled with a certified recycler.
None of these options are very ideal. However, a headset trade-in program allows you to receive cash or credit for old, unwanted headsets. The value you receive can be applied towards the price of the new office headset.
The headset trade-in program also allows you to avoid the cost of recycling them. This means that you actually get a double benefit; you get cash up front and you avoid the expense.
- What if you encounter an unexpected need for headsets and the cost isn’t in the budget?
- What happens if your communication needs change abruptly and headsets aren’t in the budget?
- What if you get an unexpected wave of new employees suddenly and you don’t have headsets to furnish to them?
- How much is your company spending on office headsets over its entire life cycle? - How much did you spend on headsets for your staff before their roles were outsourced?
- How do you keep track of your office headset and if it’s in warranty, and who and where it was purchased from?
- How much are headset accessories across your enterprise costing you?
When you purchase an office headset for yourself or for your organization, it’s hard to keep track of things. Things like which headset is in warranty, who do you call for support needs? Where do you send in office headsets for exchange? Who you bought the office headsets from.
A month-to-month headset rental program fixes all this. One low monthly rate and everything’s included. Your warranty never expires, shipping is paid by the vendor, both ways, replacement accessories are included, you can upgrade or downgrade your office
headset at any time and because it’s an agreement and not a contract, you can cancel when you like.
A headset rental plan also helps in those cases where the need for office headsets occurs unexpectedly. Also, if you have a sudden change in your needs, you’re not stuck with a model or brand and the associated update costs. With the headset rental you can change makes and models as you like. Extreme flexibility and pay as you go. Super simple.
It’s been said that people buy from those that they like. With this thought in mind, you can also use likeability as part of your decision making process. Not that this would represent a major determining factor, but it many times does play a part. After all, if you have the choice to buy from someone you don’t particularly like, or from someone you do (assuming all things are equal), why not buy from someone you enjoy interacting with?
A small thing perhaps, but it does come into play for most people.
This blog article has touched on a number of topics. My intent was to help stimulate some thoughts on things you can do to better prepare yourself for making a wired phone headset decision.
Hopefully you gained an insight or two, and found this helpful. If you’d like to check out some of our Youtube content, feel free to view our video content as well. We’re adding new videos daily, so check back often if the topic of office headsets is of interest to you.