Now is a good time to get into headsets, says Tayla Ansell
Once little more than an afterthought, headsets are now a key feature of the modern office. By supporting changing working practices and overcoming the limitations of open plan offices, they can contribute to a more motivated, productive workforce and happier customers.
This, says Steve Bailey, Sennheiser Sales Manager for the UK & Ireland, is why resellers should give headsets the attention they deserve.
“Agile working has become the norm and companies are now removing the standard handset from desks and looking to headsets as the main endpoint device to manage business critical conversations,” he said. “There’s a huge total market opportunity for headsets in the UK – it’s a 65 million headset industry.”
Paul Dunne, Plantronics regional sales and marketing director for the UK and Ireland, also highlights the opportunity in headsets, pointing out that in many businesses headsets have become an indispensable tool for office-based and mobile workers.
“Headsets represent a good sales opportunity for resellers, as many organisations provide headsets as standard kit for employees. It’s only a matter of time before all businesses view a headset as being as important as a phone line or internet connection for effective working and effective communication,” he said.
Much of the demand for headsets is being driven by changes in how business is conducted, the growth of open plan and the desire to improve customer service.
Nigel Dunn, Managing Director of Jabra EMEA North, said: “Instead of routine, transactional calls, employees now have to field increasingly detailed and complex customer enquiries, which puts a premium on call quality. At the same time, businesses are looking to optimise their use of available office space, which results in problems such as high ambient noise levels and density issues, all of which affect call outcomes and customer satisfaction.”
Sennheiser’s Steve Bailey also highlights the shift towards open plan as a key driver of headset sales.
“Workplaces today are more open and collaborative, so maintaining a calm and quiet environment, which is important for productivity, privacy and concentration, has become trickier,” he said. “Audio devices like the Sennheiser MB 660 are designed to remove irrelevant sounds and cancel background noise, enabling users in the workplace to maintain the high level of concentration and the crisp sound quality needed to maximise their performance.”
According to Nigel Dunn, clear audio is also beneficial for the customer: “Call quality and effective complaint/enquiry resolution has a tremendous effect on customer satisfaction. Given the ultracompetitive nature of many industries today, this must be a core consideration and one that can bring the most immediate difference to any organisation.”
He added: “By giving employees the right tools for the job – including robust, ultra-reliable communications platforms, paired with the latest headset hardware incorporating noise-cancelling technologies – call-centric businesses can provide the optimum call experience and so reduce customer churn.”
Another consideration cited by Fabian Bess, Head of Product Management at Snom, is the impact that a more ergonomic way of working has on productivity.
“When one hand is required to hold a telephone receiver, productivity is drastically reduced. This is particularly evident when a user has to type at the same time. Often, users try to counteract this by cradling the receiver between the shoulder and ear, which can result in neck pain. A headset is such an easy solution to this problem. With the A170 wireless DECT headset, users can choose between three wearing styles, and its long range even allows freedom of movement in the office,” he said.
Not surprisingly, the financial sector was an early adopter of headsets. But, as Jabra’s Dunn points out, headsets are becoming essential in a variety of other sectors too.
“All markets are potentially ripe for disruption – from SMEs to large enterprises in both the public and private sectors. When a business conducts a significant amount of business over the phone, it’s highly likely that it will need to upgrade its communications infrastructure, including headsets, to ensure that it’s providing an optimal customer experience, that staff are performing at their very best, and to increase the overall productivity and efficiency of the organisation. Resellers should worry less about industry sectors and instead focus on the job that they’ve always done so well – understanding and solving their customers’ pain points,” he said.
Dunn adds that resellers should consider business communications in a holistic way, and not treat headsets as a peripheral to be bolted onto the wider communications infrastructure.
“To maximise sales, resellers must demonstrate the need for an end-to-end communications solution that runs right the way through from the datacentre to the headset,” he said. “By becoming a one-stop-shop for communications, resellers can become the single point of contact for all businesses’ needs, including the headsets that enable workers to have quality conversations. Meanwhile, they can increase deal value and add incremental margins to telephony projects.”
Snom’s Bess advises resellers to consider offering interesting bundles, such as table top telephones and headsets at a price that is attractive to customers, while Plantronics’s Dunne emphasises the need to talk to customers.
“Resellers should be looking to have much broader conversations with their customers and prospects that go beyond the sale of technology right through to implementation, adoption and ongoing service,” he said.
“Linked to this, they should look to engage different functions within a business and branch out from IT and procurement teams to include HR and facilities at the initial stages, as budgets and decision-making is becoming more distributed across organisations.”
Once limited to call centres, headsets are now spreading to other parts of the office, bringing new sales possibilities and the opportunity to forge deeper relationships with customers.