This post was sponsored by Jabra, a leading global provider of wireless headsets and headphones for offices and contact centers.
The headset you use in your contact center can make or break the overall customer experience. As such, it’s important to thoroughly test a headset before you deploy it for customer-facing interactions.
Here is a checklist you can use to conduct a headset performance test.
1. Environmental Tests
The Contact Center
The first thing you’ll want to do is inspect your headset’s noise cancellation ability in an environment that mirrors real world situations you’ll face in an on-site contact center.
- Place the headset on an agent and have that person sit next to a loud individual, to see how they perform.
- Test the headset at various distances. For example, try testing at six feet apart, and then again at 12 feet.
- Make a lot of noise by shouting, laughing, typing loudly and so on. And if you’re on a sales floor, ring bells and create a commotion.
Most contact centers are now operating remotely, and will continue doing so moving forward. So, it’s a good idea to test how the headset will perform in a busy home environment.
- Have a family member vacuum while using the headset and see how close the device can get to the headset before it impacts the conversation.
- Blend a smoothie and measure how close you can get the headset to the blender. After all, not all home agents work in secluded home areas. People often work at kitchen tables or countertops.
- Ask employees who live near busy intersections with a lot of traffic to test the headset.
It’s also a good idea to record calls and put the sound files on a PowerPoint presentation, so that CX stakeholders can understand what the voice of the brand will sound like once it’s deployed.
2. Speech Analytics
If you analyze speech analytics, set a reference point as to how many complaints are received from customers about background noise. Then, insert the new headset and see if it improves the results.
A high-quality microphone with integrated noise cancellation and artificial intelligence (AI) should produce a noticeable uptick in quality.
3. Speech Accuracy
If you use speech to text technology, check for voice accuracy and whether false positives are being recorded through the microphone.
If the microphone is picking up many false positives, it’s a good indicator that you should avoid using that device.
It’s a good idea to consult with the agents who will be wearing the headsets for long periods of time. Have someone on your team wear the headset for a normal day to see if it’s a good fit, and ask them to rate the experience after testing different models.
Ask them to notice which earpads feel the best and dissipate the most heat, and how the headsets feel on their head. Avoid headsets that fit too snugly — a metric called clamping force.
5. Speaker Volume
Pay attention to how the volume sounds during a call. If it’s inconsistent and changes with every call or if agents have a hard time hearing, those are bad signs.
You should also consider asking agents to rate how much mental fatigue they experience on each headset during a call. See if the headset improves or detracts from morale and satisfaction rates.
6. Busy Lights
Headsets should create a culture of productivity. This is very important for on premises contact centers and remote environments that are full of family and friends.
Consider testing headset busy lights, to see if they send the message that agents do not want to be bothered.
Unless you want to continuously replace headsets, it’s important to make sure they can take a beating. Try dropping them, throwing them against a wall and spilling various beverages and food items on them like juice and soup.
It should be noted that many Jabra headsets use Kevlar which can be cleaned with alcohol without degrading.
8. Headset Intelligence
Check what’s going on under the hood of the headset and assess the overall intelligence of the software.
Look for widgets and dashboards that can:
- Tell you when your microphone is not properly placed to enable speech to text, speech analytics, translation services, sentiment analysis, and so on.
- Provide information on noise levels in either a contact center, home agent environment or BPO site.
- Offer information on agent behavior on when they mute, hang up a call or stop using the headset.
- Reveal details on conversation flow such as the amount the agent or the customer talks or instances of silence and crosstalk.
- Use gamification to drive productivity.
- Manage time break times.
- Integrate with CRM systems.
- Enable custom development.
Contact centers are becoming increasingly driven by metrics. Check to make sure the headsets can collect and report a variety of data to streamline customer satisfaction ratings, average handle times and first contact resolutions.
In addition, the headsets should be able to collect a variety of metrics to report on the agent experience. This is critical for remote environments where managers have limited visibility into agent environments. In 2021, the agent experience will become a major focal point in the contact center space.
Have a plan in place to roll out the headsets to end users after testing them.
End users are bound to have questions and require troubleshooting, so it will help to have a service group from the headset manufacturer to step in and provide guidance.
Deploying Headset Evaluation surveys
You may be scratching your head wondering how to create a process for evaluating headsets. Fortunately, Jabra has you covered.
Jabra makes surveys for customers to streamline testing and save time — meaning your team won’t have to worry about designing them from scratch. In fact, you can even use these surveys to test headsets from different manufacturers.
Also, make sure to view Jabra’s latest white paper titled “Exploring the Post-COVID Contact Center Market.” Download a copy here.