Binaural vs Monaural Headsets in the Contact Centre

Binaural headsets vs monaural headsets
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When considering which headsets to use in your contact centre operation, the decision often comes down to a choice between binaural (dual-ear) or monaural (single-ear) options.

In this article, we will compare binaural and monaural headsets in the contact centre environment, exploring their benefits and how to make an informed choice.

Binaural vs Monaural Headsets

The general explanation is that the key difference between a ‘Binaural’ headset and a ‘Monaural’ headset is that ‘Binaural’ headsets have two earpieces, whereas ‘Monaural’ headsets have a single earpiece.

Fun Fact: Monaural headsets tend to be cheaper, and so are the most common type of headset found in contact centres in the UK and USA, whilst binaural headsets are the style preferred in continental Europe.

What Is a Monaural Headset?

Monaural headsets, with a single earpiece, offer distinct advantages that are well-suited for contact centre operations.

Let’s explore the benefits of using monaural headsets in the contact centre:

Cost-Effectiveness

Monaural headsets often present a more budget-friendly option compared to binaural headsets, making them an attractive choice for contact centres aiming to equip their teams without sacrificing quality or functionality.

Collaboration

Monaural headsets allow agents to keep one ear free, promoting collaboration and facilitating simultaneous conversations with colleagues. Agents can easily seek assistance, engage in internal discussions, or stay aware of important announcements without removing their headsets.

Environment Monitoring

The single-ear design of monaural headsets enables agents to monitor their surroundings while on calls. This is particularly useful for contact centres that emphasize teamwork, where agents need to stay connected and participate in impromptu discussions.

Comfort and Long-Term Wear

Monaural headsets tend to be lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods, reducing the risk of fatigue and discomfort. Agents can focus on their tasks without the distraction of an intrusive or heavy headset, leading to increased productivity.

What Is a Binaural Headset?

Binaural headphones, with their two earpieces, provide agents with an immersive and focused audio experience.

Here are some key advantages of using binaural headsets in the contact centre:

Enhanced Focus

The dual-ear design of binaural headsets creates a focused audio environment by minimizing distractions. Agents can concentrate on customer conversations without being easily disturbed by background noise or conversations from colleagues.

Background Noise Reduction

Binaural headsets offer excellent noise isolation, reducing the impact of ambient noise and allowing agents to hear customer voices more clearly. This feature is particularly valuable in loud or busy contact centre environments where concentration is crucial.

Improved Call Quality

The dual-ear configuration helps agents better discern subtle nuances in customer conversations, such as tone, pitch, and emphasis. This leads to improved comprehension and enables agents to respond more effectively, resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction.

In a contact centre design, the two headphones usually emit the same replicated sound in each ear – and are not stereo. This is due to the simple nature of a phone conversation.

Multifunctional for Listening to Music on Breaks

Multifunctional ‘binaural’ headphones tend to also support stereo, so wearers can listen to music on breaks or between conference calls.

Examples of Binaural and Monaural Headsets

Binaural Headsets

Binaural Headsets Poly HP Encore Pro 500 (left) - Jabra BIZ 2400 II Duo UNC Corded Headset (right)
Poly HP Encore Pro 500 (left) – Jabra BIZ 2400 II Duo UNC Corded Headset (right)

Monaural Headsets

Monaural headsets Poly HP Encore Pro 700 (left) - Jabra Pro 930 Series (right)
Poly HP Encore Pro 700 (left) – Jabra Pro 930 Series (right)

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Headset for Your Contact Centre

When deciding between binaural and monaural headsets for your contact centre, consider the unique requirements and preferences of your agents.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

Call Volume and Noise Levels

Evaluate the noise levels in your contact centre environment. If background noise is a concern or if agents handle a high volume of calls that require focused attention, binaural headsets may be the better choice.

Collaboration and Teamwork

If collaboration and internal communication are crucial aspects of your contact centre, monaural headsets can promote seamless teamwork and maintain awareness of the surrounding environment.

Agent Preferences

Involve your agents in the decision-making process. Understand their comfort preferences, work habits, and communication needs to ensure their satisfaction and productivity.

Did you know? Most contact centres offer their agents a choice of headset.

According to The Headsets chapter of our ‘What Contact Centres Are Doing Right Now’ 2021 survey report, 71.2% of contact centres enable agents to purchase whatever model they want, compared to just 5.3% who give a standard model to all agents – as seen in the graph below:

2021 Survey graph Do You Offer Your Advisors a Choice of Headsets?

Both binaural and monaural headsets have benefits. Ultimately, it is best to let the advisor choose the headset that works best for their environment.

For more information on headsets, you should read these next:

Author: Jonty Pearce
Reviewed by: Megan Jones

Published On: 26th Jul 2023 - Last modified: 18th Dec 2023
Read more about - Technology, , ,

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