This means if they can find ways to accomplish all three, that’s normally something that causes any savvy business owner to stand up and take notice.
Today, in this blog, I’d like to share with you one thing you can do that helps to improve all three. And, when you string together enough of these kinds of things, it will clearly be felt on your bottom line and reverberate throughout your business.
Headset Advisor has focused on headsets since 1994. During that time, right up until today, we hear far too many reports of employers that shy away from furnishing their staff with decent, good quality headsets. Instead, require any employee who wishes to use a headset to pay for it themself.
On the surface this may appear as though the business owner simply doesn’t want to cover the costs as it represents another expense they’re unable, or unwilling to cover. And though headsets, especially good quality ones, aren’t free, then it’s easy to see how they’re viewed as a cost with very little foreseeable benefit.
In this blog, I’m going to provide you with a completely different perspective. I’ll share with you some thoughts and ideas that I’d like you, the business owner, to consider. Hopefully, in the end, you’ll come away with a new viewpoint that could help pave the way for you to reconsider the idea of providing headsets to your employees.
With that said, let’s get started.
Why do people use headsets, and what’s the value, or benefit of using a headset in the first place?
If you stop to think about this for a moment, what are the alternatives to using a headset? In other words, if you don’t use a headset on business calls, what can you use? Here are the two most common devices:
And though many may think these are both fine, they don’t come without their drawbacks, and those drawbacks can be costly to any business owner.
Here’s what I mean by that.
Cradling a telephone Handset
Although telephone handsets have been around for decades, their use has been steadily declining, and for a host of good reasons. Among them include the fact that they’re inefficient.
Today’s workplace not only requires that you communicate with your customers, which in many cases is verbally, but you’re also required to use a computer at the same time.
How can you hold the telephone handset while using the computer keyboard at the same time? Though it’s possible if you use one finger to type, it’s enormously inefficient.
The other approach you could take is to cradle the phone on the shoulder which frees up both hands to type. On the surface that may appear to be the clear solution, with the problem now solved. I’d caution you at this point to ease up on the enthusiasm.
You see, cradling the phone receiver on the shoulder requires you to pinch it between the shoulder and the neck. This has been proven to be very unhealthy, and known to lead to a myriad of health conditions. Among them includes mini strokes as reported in this BBC news article.
Not only are your employees being put at risk for mini strokes, but pinched nerves in their back, tingling in the arm, and even loss of feeling are all possibilities. These things can be a reality when cradling the phone receiver on the shoulder.
What these conditions can lead to are missed work days while recuperating at home, or to the many Doctor appointments they’ll be scheduling. Even worse, these conditions can lead to worker compensation claims which can be costly to any business.
Here’s another bad idea in most places of work. Using a speakerphone in a private office is one thing, but using one in an area where there are others within earshot is simply a bad idea.
In most businesses that I’m aware of, there will always be sensitive information that shouldn’t be overheard by coworkers. This could include such things as employment related information, financial things, business strategy, even information being shared by your customers.
When using a speakerphone, all that is available for anyone who can pass a hearing test. As a business owner, that’s not something you want. So unless a speakerphone is used in a private office with the door closed, and the speakerphone volume not set on high, this approach isn’t recommended.
Just have the employees pay for their own headsets - good idea?
This leads us to headsets. If your employees won’t be cradling a telephone handset on their shoulder, nor using a speakerphone, then they’ll likely be using that headset they had to buy on their own because you know, the company can’t afford them.
In most cases, employees who are required to pay for their own headsets will typically choose to get one that’s cheap. After all, it’s coming out of their pocket.
And, because they’ll buy a cheap headset you can count on the fact that your employees, customers, and your business, will end up paying the real price which extends far beyond the price paid for the headset itself.
For openers, most employees that we talk to, express a certain level of resentment towards the company they work for when they won't pay for a tool that’s needed for them to do their job efficiently.
And, if you subscribe to the idea that employees are a valuable business asset, you can quickly see how employees might begin to feel unappreciated, and resentful. Some business owners might not care about this, but that’s ok, because it gets better.
How valuable are your customers?
In business, you can never have enough customers. That’s why it’s important to treat them as well as possible, and work to give them the very best experience you can.
One of the ways that you can give your customers a good experience is by providing them with a professional, good sounding voice experience when interacting with your employees. By this I mean, when talking with them:
You don’t want them to struggle to hear you.
You don’t want them to be hearing static
You don’t want them to hear your employees cutting in and out
You don’t want the call to drop or cut off entirely
You don’t want them to hear all the background noise going on in your office
All these things help to foster an atmosphere of difficulty and frustration. Frustration for your customers, and frustration for your employees. And in the end, this can cost your business a lot of money if this happens to the wrong customer, at the right time.
Remember, customers are hard to get, and very easy to lose. That’s why paying attention to details, even small ones like this, can make a difference to the success of your business.
How much do you truly value your employees?
When it comes to showing appreciation to employees, it’s not always about giving them that $1.00 per hour raise, or Christmas bonus. To many, feeling appreciated comes in different forms.
Among them include giving a little encouragement, or compliment. Other times it can be learning about their families, or life struggles. And, for those who spend a lot of time on the phone, furnishing them with a good quality tool to do their job can go a long way towards making them feel appreciated, and that their job is important.
One thing is for sure, employees like to feel appreciated, and that their work is valued.
Risks to your business when employees buy their own headsets
Buying cheap headsets
When employees are required to fund their own equipment to do their job, they’ll normally take the path of buying gear that’s inexpensive. This can be due to them not having a lot of money to put towards this equipment, or, it can be because they might feel that it’s something they shouldn’t be required to pay for.
In either case, they’ll normally side towards buying cheap stuff, and that’s not good for them, or you.
Examples of cheap headsets to stay away from for business
On the surface you may look online and see a $30 headset thinking it will work great for your phone calls and meetings with apps like Zoom, Teams, Ringcentral and many others. These headsets may work okay for your personal use, but stay far away if you care about compatibility, product support, durability, comfort, sound quality and mic noise cancellation.
Customer and Employee frustration
Customer. When inexpensive headsets are used, this opens up the door for poor sound quality to creep in. As a business owner, you want to give your customers the best possible sound experience you can, and not have them struggling during a conversation.
Inexpensive headsets are well-known for compromising on overall quality, and in many cases, sound quality is also one of those things that’s been compromised. If your customer struggles during calls, frustration can rise which can lead them into becoming your former customer.
Most business owners understand how difficult it can be to get a customer in the first place, and the importance of doing everything possible to keep them.
Subjecting them to poor sound quality is one of those nagging things that can help to drive them away.
And when they hear echo, static, cutting in and cutting out, or the call being lost entirely, that can lead a customer into thinking about the quality of other aspects of your business.
They could begin to question what other areas of your business are you skimping on? Maybe your product or service is being skimped on too.
Things like bad sound quality can open the door for your customers to begin questioning your business overall. That’s not something you want.
Employee. Your employees aren’t immune to the frustrations associated with this sound quality either. They’re the ones who must repeat themselves, or apologize for the less than great sound quality.
And, if you factor in other things such as discomfort, and poor reliability on those cheap headsets, the frustration only rises.
What’s the harm in having an employee frustrated like this?
Frustration can easily lead to worker dissatisfaction. It’s hard enough to keep employees happy without adding to the problem with something that’s easily fixed. These frustrations can also lead to them being less than enthusiastic about coming to work leading to missed days, and loss of productivity to your business.
You risk employee turnover which is known to be costly to any business. Would a headset issue like I’m outlining in this blog be the sole reason some would leave employment with your company? Maybe not, but at the very least it would be a contributing factor. Others might find this exact situation highly frustrating and be the root cause for them to leave. People are all different, and issues like this affect them differently.
If you have your employees using a telephone handset, you’re risking several things:
Putting your employees into a position where they can easily develop physical ailments
Putting your company at risk for workers compensation claims as this condition would be classified as an on the job injury. And as any business owner knows, workers compensation insurance is expensive, and claims only add to those costs.
You’re likely causing your employees to go home at the end of the day not feeling their best. Sore neck, stiff, headache, numbness, tingling sensations to name a few.
You’re compromising your level of productivity due to the risk of employee absences caused by the physical conditions brought on by handset usage, and cradling it on the shoulder in order to talk, and type at the same time.
Work productivity will suffer
Don’t have your staff use handsets, their mobile phone or speakerphone unless they don’t need to use a computer when talking, and if the calls are short, even infrequent. But that really doesn’t describe a typical working environment today.
When your employees are required to pay for their own headsets, it helps to plant negative thoughts and feelings within the employee. That can grow over time and lead to worker dissatisfaction, absenteeism and even employee turnover, which costs your business a lot.
As it’s been said in the past, “the little things don’t make any difference, they make all the difference.” And yes, on the surface, something as small as a headset could easily be seen as a small thing.
But, when you stop to look at the bigger picture, you’ll quickly see that it plays a more important role than it appears on the surface.
Invest in your team!!
Making the investment into some good quality headsets will help your employees to feel that you care enough about them to provide them with good quality tools to do their job.
That will go a long way towards making them feel valued, and appreciated. And your customers, though they won’t say this, they too will appreciate having a call with your employees that’s crystal clear and consistent without any frustration.
As a business owner or manager you’ll have happier employees, happier customers, help to avoid worker compensation claims, and give your employees and customers one more reason to stay working, and doing business with you.
And isn’t that worth the nominal investment?
Want to learn about a new headset rental program that makes acquiring headsets extremely affordable? Contact us today to learn more about this unique, and cost effective method to outfit your team with good quality headsets at affordable rates.