On the surface, it would seem that selecting a professional headset would be a very simple and straightforward task. However, when you peel back the layers and begin to look more closely into this subject, you’ll find that there’s more to it than you might have originally thought.
This blog is designed to help you better understand some of the main consideration points when looking to source a professional headset with microphone. Making a good choice is important because you want the right headset for your specific needs and you want the best possible sound quality too. So let’s get started.
Why do you need a headset?
To begin, It’s a good idea to give some thought to why you need a headset. I know that this sounds very elementary to you, but it’s a very foundational starting point.
Do you need a headset to improve your ergonomics by getting the phone off your shoulder?
Do you need a headset that will allow you to step away from your desk, but not miss important phone calls?
Maybe you need a headset that has the flexibility to connect to your office desk phone for your business calls, but also connects to your office computer for audio and video applications.
The main point here is to know why you need a headset and how you’ll use it.
Evaluate current and future needs
You’ll also want to give thought not only to your current needs, but also what your needs might be in the near future.
Generally speaking, current needs are easier to determine compared to knowing what you might need in the future. Still, it makes a lot of sense to go through the exercise of contemplating changes that might take place within your company or department.
Why is this important? Here’s the short answer; You need to be future proof.
You don’t want to be caught unprepared in case an unforeseen emergency arises. One quick example of this would be the need to quickly pivot a staff from working in an office using desk phones, to the same staff suddenly needing to work from home using Softphones such as what could happen in a pandemic. The need to redirect a workforce could be sudden, and you could find that your headsets lack the needed connectivity flexibility.
Sudden and dramatic needs that surface quickly, can cause panic and chaos throughout the organization.. Budgets can be compromised, and anxiety, at times like this, can run high. Additionally, the products needed could be temporarily unavailable due to demand exceeding the supply. This would leave you unable to outfit your staff and cause service interruptions which could be devastating.
Time spent evaluating needs on the front end can really save you on the backend, which makes this exercise well worth doing.
Ok, so you know why you need headsets and you understand your current and future needs. Where do you go from here?
What's your style?
When someone thinks of a headset, the image of a device worn over the head typically comes to mind. Normally this is a headset that covers either one or both ears, but worn over the head. Though this style of headset is common, there are other choices that you need to be aware of. Besides, not everyone can comfortably wear an over-the-head headset as this style is known to give some people headaches.
Mono- 1 speaker
One of the most common types of headsets is an over-the-head style headset that covers one ear. Many people prefer this headset because it keeps one ear open so they can hear what’s going on around them. This headset can be worn on either ear, right or left and they normally come with a headband that’s adjustable to allow for varying sizes of heads. Noise reducing microphones are also commonly found on this type of headset. Noise reducing microphones will be discussed further a little later in this blog article.
Duo- 2 speakers
Duo headsets are worn over the head and cover both ears. These are just like the Mono headset, but with an added ear speaker, and also has an adjustable headband and noise reducing microphone.
For those who are looking for a professional phone headset, but can’t comfortably wear one that goes over the head, there are models that are worn over the ear instead.
On-ear headsets vary in their design, but are alike in they allow for an earpiece wearing style. Some may have an ear speaker that rests against the ear, while others feature a speaker that sits just inside the ear via small ear tips.
Ear tip style headsets normally offer different sizes, typically small, medium and large. This is to accommodate the many different sizes and shapes of people’s ears.
With comfort being highly important, especially for those who use headsets in offices or professional headset for call center, you want it to be lightweight and offer ear tips comfortable to you. Professional phone headsets are normally used throughout the day which places comfort high on the list of priorities.
A convertible headset is one that “converts” from one wearing style to another. This versatility is what makes a convertible headset highly popular among professional microphone headset wearers.
The most common wearing options found on convertible headsets include an on-ear option, and a mono, over-the-head style. One model, the Discover Adapt 30, comes with both mono and duo wearing styles which allow you to switch between them.
What makes a convertible headset worth considering is it comes with options. Everyone loves options, and a convertible headset allows a Manager or Supervisor to cater to the needs of his/her staff. Some prefer an over-the-ear wearing style, while others prefer an over-the-head style. When buying a convertible headset, it comes with both so it makes it easy to satisfy your employees personal preferences.
Also, when deploying headsets, the convertibility feature really comes in handy. It gives you the ability to reassign and repurpose headsets that would otherwise end up in a box in a storeroom. Repurposing headsets not only saves money, but is better for our environment too.
Now that you’ve selected your preferred headset wearing style, is it comfortable? Hard to say by looking at a picture, right? This is where you want to work with your professional headset vendor.
Request a demo of the headset(s) you’re considering, and if your vendor is unable or unwilling to accommodate your request, you might want to find a new vendor. In a sense, this is like buying a car.
Would you buy it without taking it for a test drive first? Probably not. A headset is commonly worn throughout the day, 5 days a week, which makes comfort something worth paying close attention to. The last thing you want is discomfort brought on by an ill-fitting headset.
Not all headsets are created equal. A headset is a headset and they’re all pretty much the same, right? Well, not really. You see, headsets vary in cost and have varying warranties. This is because not all headsets use the same components.
If you’re like most people, they want their headset to be comfortable, but they also want it to sound every bit as good as a telephone handset, and maybe even better. So how can you know if a headset will perform up to your expectations? The best way is to request a demo of the headset you’re considering. This will allow you to experience how it fits, but also how it sounds. If you cannot obtain a demo headset, then you’ll want to read as many reviews of it as possible.
Sound quality can be two-fold. One, the sound that you hear while talking to someone, and the sound that someone hears from you (speakers and microphones). Microphones, in particular, vary a lot.
You might discover that your headset microphone looks like a clear plastic tube. This is commonly found on many Plantronics headset models. This is a NON noise cancelling microphone, which means it does NOT remove background noise from your environment.
If you sit in an open office area where noise is prevalent, and good call quality matters to you, then this isn’t the microphone for you. On the other hand, if you work in a private office, this would be fine.
A noise canceling microphone helps to remove up to 90% of unwanted background noise. Having a headset with this type of microphone is helpful. You might have co-workers talking in the background. You might sit near a copy or fax machine. You might even sit near the break room. In any case, a noise cancelling microphone will help to remove this noise so your customer doesn’t get bothered or distracted by it.
Ultra Noise Cancellation
Though not as common as a noise cancelling microphone, you may see some headsets advertised with “ultra” noise cancelling microphone. In short, this is a microphone that has added noise cancelling qualities designed to give you an even higher degree of noise reduction. In our experience, we haven’t seen a significant difference between noise cancelling and ultra noise cancelling microphones. The main takeaway is that you should make sure the headset has some version of a noise cancelling microphone in order to establish the best possible call quality.
A warranty is a warranty, right?
When shopping around for a new headset for yourself or your team, don’t overlook the warranty. This is something that oftentimes flies under the radar and can easily be overlooked.
Consumer grade headsets, which are those used for light duty, typically come with a 1-year warranty as do many wireless headsets. Commercial grade headsets, meaning those designed for use in offices and call centers, typically carry a 2-year warranty for wired headsets and 1-3 years for wireless.
Beyond the length of warranty, there are other things under that umbrella that you should know. What is the return period if unsatisfied?
Who pays for the shipping of the return?
Are there restocking fees?
What happens if I have a problem and I’m outside of the warranty period?
Everyone’s situation is unique and not all transactions are the same. If you find that your budget is limited above and beyond what your needs are, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your vendor to see what purchasing options they offer.
-3 payments without interest charges
-Net 30, 45, 60
You never know until you ask, so don’t hesitate to raise the question if your needs and budget constraints justify it.
Many companies have a supply of old, unwanted headsets. In many cases, these unwanted headsets are either thrown out or e-wasted. In both cases, you receive nothing for them, or worse, you have to pay to get rid of them.
Ask your headset vendor if they offer cash or credit for the old headsets. Trade-in can help to lower your costs and help a struggling budget while helping to make a headset refresh a bit easier.
A great vendor can make life easy
Headsets can be viewed as a commodity so should it matter who you buy your headsets from? If you rely on a headset to do your job such as being in Customer Support, sales and others, then the answer is yes.
1. How knowledgeable is the vendor and are they able to answer all my questions?
2. Are they a professional company?
3. What is their track record?
4. Are they rated with the Better Business Bureau?
5. What do their on-line reviews look like?
6. What is their return policy?
7. Do they have restocking fees?
8. Do they offer a wide assortment of makes and models?
9. Do they offer trade-in credit for old headsets?
10. Do they rent headsets?
11. Is the vendor customer centric?
12. Does the vendor offer terms and other alternative purchase options?
When you’re looking for a vendor to work with, knowing what they can offer and how they can support you can make a huge difference. Your upfront and downstream experiences can be smooth and easy if you align yourself with the right headset business partner. Product returns, longer warranties, trade-in credit, rental plans, customer centric, purchase flexibility and good product selection with fast delivery all combine to make your headset experience the best it can be.