Agent VoIP headset selection guidelines

To help agents select headsets, 8x8 Contact Center recommends professional-quality equipment manufactured by leading companies such as Plantronics or Jabra (AKA GN Netcom).

Consider the following criteria when selecting an agent headset:

Headset Component Description
Connection interface Manufacturers of high-quality telephone headsets offer products that can be connected to either:
  • Different models and brands of desktop telephones.
  • Computer-based softphones via a computer’s USB connector.
Avoid PC sound card analog headsets that require the use of separate headphone and microphone plugs. These headsets generally do not deliver high-quality sound, and tend to have poor-quality microphones.
Microphone sensitivity
  • Select a headset that is suitable for the agent’s work environment (e.g. quiet or noisy surroundings).
  • Avoid headsets that use omnidirectional microphones, as they can pick up too much background noise.
  • Conversely, be sure the headset microphone is sensitive enough to transmit the full spectrum of the human voice. Test with external callers.

Note: Consumer-grade headsets are generally not suitable for contact center agents due to inferior audio performance, lack of all-day comfort, and limited durability. Agent productivity and customer frustration losses quickly negate any benefits of low-cost and ill-suited headsets.

8x8-suggested headsets

8x8 recommends using any of the professional Plantronics models listed on the 8x8 web store. You may also use alternative brands such as Jabra. Professional headsets are sometimes sold in two parts. In this case, the TOP PART is the headset itself, and the BOTTOM PART is the interface adapter (which is either USB for softphones, or an adapter designed for a particular brand and model of desk phone).

8x8 suggests the following professional headsets with USB connectors for softphones:

Headset Description
  • TOP PART = headset
  • HW261N binaural noise-canceling microphone
  • HW251N monaural noise-canceling microphone
  • BOTTOM PART = USB adapter
  • DA55 USB-to-Headset Adapter
GN Netcom or JABRA
  • TOP PART = headset
  • GN2125 binaural noise-canceling microphone
  • GN2120 monaural noise-canceling microphone
  • BOTTOM PART = USB adapter = Jabra Link 220

Important: The headset components listed above are suitable for a USB softphone connection. For a desk phone, substitute the headset BOTTOM PART with a desk phone adapter. Refer to the headset manufacturer’s web site for the BOTTOM PART adapter that is designed for your brand and model of desk phone.

Tips for choosing headsets

  • Many alternate TOP PART headset styles are available from Plantronics and Jabra (GN Netcom), and can be respectively substituted for the TOP PART models listed above.
  • For environments with high ambient noise, select models with noise-canceling microphones and binaural ear speakers.
  • Select TOP and BOTTOM parts from the same manufacturer. TOP and BOTTOM parts from different manufacturers do not interoperate.
  • Avoid using units with built-in line volume controls. Adjusting the volume between the headset and PC/softphone can be confusing in these units.
  • An agent’s preferences for in-ear vs. over-ear headset designs should be respected.
  • Select hardwired or wireless models based on need. If you choose a wireless model, be sure that local radio frequency congestion is not excessive (check the manufacturer’s recommendations).
  • Select a headset interface based on need for use with a softphone or desk phone, or both.

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