Headset Review

Today, nearly all call centers require agents to use headsets. The reasons are numerous, including reducing back and neck strain, keeping hands free for computer work, and cutting down on background noise. Some call centers provide a personal headset, at no charge, to each agent upon hire. Other centers require agents to buy their own headset, either one specified and provided by management or one of the employees’ choosing from an approved list. A third approach is to give agents a headset, but make them be responsible for all repairs and replacements.

There are many of headset vendors from which to choose. Headsets can often be purchased directly from the manufacturer, as well as from their dealer network and distributors. Many distributors carry multiple lines, thereby offering greater options and more variety.

When selecting a headset there are several items to consider:

  • Acceptance: If the agents are not supportive of the headset model selected, the amount of fallout generated can quickly escalate into a major management problem.
  • Reparability: All headsets will eventually break; can they be easily, quickly, and cost-effectively repaired?
  • Warranty: How long is the warranty, what is covered, and when will replacements be provided?
  • Customer support: How accessible is the provider?
  • Price: Cost is the least important consideration; buying on price alone is a false economy and could easily be the most costly solution in the end.

To find the right headset for your call center, here are some key providers to consider:


Headset Manufacturers

Acoustical Innovations
800-747-9615

Dowumi Corp.
630-629-1897

Hello Direct
800-435-5634

JABRA Corporation
630- 568-7900

Plantronics
800-544-4660

Sennheiser Communications
860-434-9190

Starkey Earborne
800-262-8611

VXI Corporation, Inc.
800-742-8588


Headset Resellers

Creative Switching Designs Inc.
800-571-0911

Fontel Inc.
800-238-0787

Founder’s Telecom
800-333-0020

Headset Zone
800-533-4014

Headsets.com
800-432-3738

Phonemaster Communications, Inc.
800-339-4588

RLY & Associates
www.rly.com
800-841-0841

Sencommunications, Inc.
800-654-2993

SpeechControl
914-302-6558

[From Connection Magazine ā€“ March 2005]

Unified Messaging

The definition of unified messaging is elusive and varying. We will define it as the means to access and retrieve all types of messages via one or more interfaces (such as computer, phone, etc.) regardless of how they arrived, whether by phone, fax, or email. Understandably, each vendor defines unified messaging in terms that correspond to their message-handling product, including the features they provide while dismissing as tangential, those they lack.

Unified messaging refers to products intended to help people better manage all their messages, be it voice, text, or fax. Unified messaging will not reduce the number of messages, but will centralize them allowing for the same quantity of communications to be received, reviewed, and responded to in less time. Likewise, unified messaging will not reduce information overload, but will better organize the information as well as facilitate access. Here are vendors who offer unified messaging capability:

Amtelco’s Infinity system combines integrated voice processing, automated outbound dialing, unified text and voice messaging, multiple dispatch options, full-featured directories, on-call scheduling, complete Web and wireless connectivity, and detailed management and billing reporting in a single platform. Infinity includes message dispatch functions and can automatically send messages to virtually any device. This includes pagers, fax, email, mobile phone text messages, and phone calls. In addition, Infinity can send both text and voice messages to clients using Infinity’s unified messaging gateway.

Amtelco’s eVoiceLink application makes it easy to retrieve both voice messages and text messages using any personal computer connected to the Internet. eVoiceLink can transmit messages to any email address using the industry-standard SMTP protocol. Recipients can receive, reply to, or forward their text and voice messages as they would any email message.

Text and voice messages are sent automatically from Infinity through eVoiceLink to the recipient’s email address. Text is included as the body of the email message. The voice message is attached to the message as a .WAV file.

For more information, contact Amtelco at 800-356-9148, visit callcenter.amtelco.com, or send an email to info@amtelco.com.

CenturiSoft specializes in unified communications solutions offering an integrated email, fax, and voice system that can reduce communication expenses. The Centuri Messenger provides the features of stand-alone systems at a fraction of the cost. By combining non-realtime (voicemail and messaging) with realtime (follow-me, call screening, bridging, conferencing, and ACD) together in one package, Centuri Messenger is able to achieve flexibility in one system instead of using multiple systems to work together. With Centuri Messenger, users continue using their preferred email program and can receive emails, faxes, and voicemail messages from one place.

Centuri Messenger features include:

  • Receive fax and voicemails on line with no phone charges.
  • Virtual receptionist lets users screen calls by schedule.
  • Optional disaster recovery is built-into every system.
  • “Tap” record conversations on demand.
  • Conferencing capabilities.
  • Schedule conferences and telephone meetings.
  • Transfer callers to ACD systems seamlessly.
  • Provide switch capabilities without the expense of a switch.
  • Access account information via the Web.
  • Optional voice over IP (VoIP) access.

Contact CenturiSoft at 800-866-1929 or sales@centurisoft.com.

Telescan recently received a patent on their Prism DSP digital switching platform. The patent acknowledges 22 claims to invention specifically regarding the method for processing calls from any source based on call setup and database lookup on the call. Telescan’s Spectrum Data Manager, a PC-based system, allows telemessaging companies to send messages in nearly any format the client requests, including voice, pagers, alpha pagers, email, PDAs, and cell phones. Telescan’s Spectrum System Manager allows a client’s preferred message format(s) to be programmed into the system. When a call is received, the Telescan system will automatically default to the client’s preferred message format. Backup formats can also be programmed.

“Personal messaging devices, like PDAs, are the future of business communications. A telemessaging company must be prepared to deliver messages to such formats to continue to be successful,” stated Robert Riggs, Jr., Telecan’s Director.

For more information, contact Telescan at 800-770-7662, sales@telescan.net, or visit www.telescan.net.

[From Connection Magazine ā€“ November 2004]