As we highlighted in a recent infographic, the headset market is booming and a big reason for that is the growth of the Unified Communications space. In our ever faster-paced, collaborative, mobile work environment, companies are changing the way they do business and UC is a big part of that. The migration away from deskphones is well underway (Read: The phone is dead, long live the audio endpoint), more employees are working from home or spend much of their time on the road, many have less space and privacy than they used to as companies move to open office spaces (which can negatively impact the ability of knowledge workers to concentrate) and conference rooms are at a premium. Unified Communications can help businesses address these challenges and keep their disparate workforces productive, collaborative and happy. But how to make sure those UC deployments pay off?
There has been a ton of buzz in the press lately about the important role that headsets play in UC adoption. To learn more about this and why professional headsets have such an outsized impact for such a small device, we caught up with Urban Gillis, Sales VP at Jabra. “A recent report stated that 48% of companies implementing a Unified Communications solution expect a return-on-investment in one year, but only 10% realize that return,” explained Gillis. “The primary reason is lack of user adoption, which usually means negative user experience. There can be many reasons for users not taking advantage of the new tech – lack of training, lack of bandwidth or corporate culture, but the reason professional quality headsets are so important is that, more than anything else besides computers, they are the endpoints that connect users to their UC experience and make it come to life.” A recent report from Frost & Sullivan goes even further stating that “High-Quality Professional Headsets Improve the ROI of Collaboration Tools”.
The Business Case For Professional Headsets and Why Your UC Plans Should Include Them
“Knowledge workers expect to have a professional experience when speaking with other business people and businesses demand value and low total cost-of-ownership,” explained Gillis. “This is why companies look towards business grade headsets to ensure employees can hear and be heard clearly, background noise is eliminated and they are able to get more done without ever worrying about the performance of their audio endpoint.” We discussed four ways in which high-end headsets deliver value for businesses.
- Comfort: Whether the user works in a contact center, at their desk, from home or on the road, in a UC environment they will spend hours a day wearing their headset and talking to others. If the headset is not comfortable, knowledge workers are not going to wear it….at least not for long. The more often the users opt-out of wearing their audio endpoint, the less successful the UC deployment will be.
- Quality: This is related to comfort in that consumer grade headsets break down quickly (I have direct experience with this….I’ve gone through several and have duct taped them back together to try and extend life). Businesses want any device they invest in to last. Ideally for the length of the UC implementation without having to worry about replacing it every 12 months. Additionally, sound quality is much higher on business grade headsets with noise cancelling technology built not only into the speakers to keep noisy offices at bay, but also into the microphones to ensure the person on the other end of the phone only hears the party they are speaking with.
- Convenience: When businesses invest in headsets for their UC deployment, they need them to be plug and play and certified to work with their specific UC platform. From the IT team’s perspective, managing and getting service on a fleet of headsets is a key consideration, as is being able to automatically perform firmware updates on all devices when necessary. For employees, having the ability to easily switch back and forth between phone calls and listening to music, cancelling out background noise while in concentration mode and having headsets with a do-not-disturb signals all add up to an experience that matches the way today’s knowledge workers get things done.
- Financing: As we reviewed in a previous post, creative solutions are appearing in the market to allow businesses to finance headsets and other non-software aspects of a Unified Communications deployment via their Operating (OpEx) budget. This approach allows companies to include non-tangible items such as services and soft costs and eases cash flow for the entire solution.
It’s interesting how the little things can often make the difference. Based on all the evidence continuing to mount about the importance of headsets in UC adoption, this is one of those situations. It pays to spend the time to find the right headset solution that will deliver comfort, the right technology, the right support and the right value.