Wireless Headsets in Contact Centers: Benefits & Challenges

Businesses have previously looked at contact centers as cost centers: an important, customer-facing cost of doing business. Over the past decade or so, that has begun to change. Organizations now look for ways to turn contact centers into profit centers. At the very least, companies want to make contact centers run as effectively and efficiently as possible. That’s where wireless headsets come in.

Contact Center

Several years ago, it seemed like contact centers were in a race to the bottom when it came to driving costs down. Now, leading companies look at their contact center as a key part of their brand, and at their agents as knowledge workers. These agents are now empowered to help companies reach higher levels of service. As such, companies need to invest in these employees – by training them and giving them the technology they need.

Wireless headsets deliver return on investment

One way to improve the quality of your contact centers is by switching to wireless headsets.

According to Chris Schultz, the Director of Marketing for Demand Generation at Jabra, giving agents the freedom to leave their desks can revolutionize how contact centers operate. “Depending on the type of organization and their processes, freeing agents to move around while still on a call can result in dramatically shorter call times, fewer transfers, and improved first call resolution.”

Fewer call transfers

“One of the real benefits of mobility in the contact center is a drastic reduction in call transfers,” explains Schultz. Many transfers to supervisors or escalations to a subject matter expert can be eliminated when an agent can simply get up from their desk and walk to ask that person a question.

“A cruise line we work with moved to wireless headsets, and the number of calls transferred to supervisors was cut by more than half. The agents simply stood up, walked to find the supervisor, and asked their question, significantly reducing the overall call time,” says Schultz.

Another example was a tech company with many complex products, including years worth of legacy products. When a customer required service that was beyond an agent’s area of expertise, the agent had to put the customer on hold until a subject matter expert was available, bring that expert up to speed, and then transfer the call.

“That company saw a reduction in calls transferred from 26,000 to less than 9,700 in the first month, as the agents simply walked over to their colleague’s desk and asked a question, allowing them to get back to the customer quickly and improving first call resolution.”

Shorter calls

Businesses can also greatly reduce call times when agents get to move around and have hands-on access to the products they’re discussing.

“Although there was a good knowledge management system in place, the agents often needed to have hands-on access to the devices so they could resolve questions quickly. Allowing the agents to stay on the phone while they found the correct make and model in question and then talk the customer through the problem, as opposed to putting the customer on hold and walking back and forth while they waited, resulted in reduced call times and happier customers,” explains Schultz.

With improved first call resolution, reduced transfers, and shorter call times, this company was able get an impressive 1,300 percent ROI on its wireless headsets. Not too shabby, especially since the use of wireless headsets also led to a much greater agent satisfaction.

Challenges of switching to wireless headsets

With success stories like that, you have to wonder why more companies aren’t rushing to implement wireless headsets in their contact centers. According to Schultz, that is the growing trend, but the decision to go wireless depends on the company’s business case, and there are some challenges to be aware of before making the transition.

Density issues

As we’ve previously discussed, packing too many agents with wireless headsets into a tight environment without proper planning can lead to interference issues, especially when using DECT headsets.

“Busy contact centers with hundreds of agents benefit from performing an environmental assessment ahead of time in order to determine the best case scenario,” says Schultz. Clearly defining the needs of all users and the best combination of DECT and Bluetooth headsets can help avoid density conflicts and keep the agents and customers happy.

Shrinkage

Unlike wired headsets, wireless headsets are – well – mobile. That means they can walk out of the building. This is something businesses need to be aware of and train their employees on.

“Many of our customers keep the headsets connected to individuals and even inscribe them with a name or number. Making each employee responsible for their own headset goes a long way to keeping shrinkage down,” says Schultz.

While the headsets themselves are mobile, the headset bases are attached to the workstations. When the second shift agent comes in, they bring their charged headset, sit down at their desk, put the headset on the base, and it pairs automatically.

Keeping the headsets charged

The biggest change to a contact center’s day-to-day routine is having to to keep wireless headsets charged and ready to use. Good wireless headsets have up to 10 hours of battery time. Ideally, they should be charged overnight (or for the entire next shift) to keep them fully powered up. “Making each agent responsible for their own headset also extends to keeping it fully charged. Setting up charging stations can really help,” says Schultz.

As anyone with a smartphone knows, battery life starts to suffer a bit after a few years. According to Schultz, “Companies are addressing this by planning on replacing devices every three to five years, which is the same approach most contact centers take with corded headsets as well.”

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If you plan on deploying wireless headsets in your contact center, Jabra is one good place to start.