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Huddle Rooms: STOP! Collaborate & Listen

1/19/2018 - 0 Comments
 
“Alright, stop! Collaborate and listen… " These wise words from Vanilla Ice circa 1989 still hold true today, especially in today's work climate. With employees working some or all of their week from home, and the Open Office design making private collaboration difficult to accomplish in the office, huddle rooms have seen an increase in popularity.

Huddle rooms, defined by AVI Systems, Inc., as "small conference areas that are equipped with audio, video and display system technology," support group collaboration at a small scale. These informal team collaboration spaces are a place to “huddle” together for impromptu and scheduled meetings, and to collaborate on projects. Typically, an average huddle room houses 5-7 people, and contains a table, TV, and some type of speakerphone and USB video camera arrangement. White boards are also prevalent (and even some smart boards) to complete the tools available.

With the limited space comes requirements for equipment that not only allows for meetings and content sharing, yet doesn't cost a fortune. Organizations typically have more than one huddle room to equip.

The wall-mounted Yamaha CS-700 (MSRP: $799) from Revolabs is a new all-in-one video and sound collaboration system that allows for simple USB connection to PC. The CS-700 is easy to use, but don't let the simplicity fool you: it's a powerful tool. A beam-forming microphone array, and four speakers provide clear, rich sound. The 120-degree ultra-wide angle camera captures all meeting participants in one field of view. Audio, video, and screen sharing are all accomplished with one USB cable!

According to Revolabs co-founder and former CEO, JP Carney: "What this means for IT teams is a simple to use, set-it-and-forget-it meeting room audio and video system. No longer will they get calls asking how to connect to meeting room equipment, how to use camera controls, or worry about control pads walking out the door." This means that "the remote monitoring and provisioning of this unique system simplifies installation and control, reducing the number of IT service tickets and enabling simple collaboration for their customer base,” said Carney.

Any video conferencing software may be used. Common applications include Microsoft Skype for Business, Vidyo, Zoom, BlueJeans, and many more. The CS-700 provides a SIP interface to the corporate call manager, replacing the need for a separate conference phone in the huddle room. USB and SIP communications can be easily bridged in the CS-700, expanding the communication opportunities even further. And Bluetooth allows for fast and easy audio connections, instantly turning a mobile or computer call into a conference call.

If you're unsure about how to set up a huddle room, contact us for recommendations. The CS-700 is just one of the many options we can put together to best fit your requirements. After all, Communication is Our Business.

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There's a Headset for Everyone!

1/8/2018 - 0 Comments
 

Choice is good.

The act of choosing, making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities, gives us a sense of control and satisfaction. Life would be pretty boring if there was only vanilla ice cream to eat (and not the 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins), or we all drove the basic black Ford Model T's. Yikes! Fortunately, we are afforded many choices in not only what we eat, wear and drive, but also in our headsets. Given the personal nature of a headset, which is used for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, it makes sense that user preferences are accounted for when purchasing headsets.

Fortunately, headset brands have heard the call, and have answered it, with the wide variety of headset wearing styles that are out there. No longer is it just the one-ear, over-the-head headband style headset. Today, in-ear wearing styles, over-the-ear, behind-the-neck, convertible and yes, the traditional over-the-head wearing styles give users plenty of choices.

First, a look at the variety of styles available.

























Now, the fun part: choosing a headset.

Ideally, using a headset for a few days is the best way to determine if the headset is right for you. If this isn't possible, the next best thing to do is to consider these questions:

1. Do you mind having something in your ear (ear buds)?
2. Do you wear glasses?
3. Will a headset interfere with your hair style?
4. Do you want to be completely immersed in the call, or do you need to be more aware of your background environment?
5. What is your budget?

Wearing style, of course, is just one of the considerations when choosing a headset. The most important is, what device are you using the headset with? Desk phone, cell phone, tablet, PC/laptop? This is the starting point for each headset purchase. We feel like Oprah when we say: "There is a Headset for Everyone!" because with all of the options available, there IS a headset that you will love.

Choosing the right headset is important. We are Headset Experts, and here to guide you through the process. Contact us today to get started on the headset that you will use AND love!

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2017: A Look Back

12/21/2017 - 0 Comments
 

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Why Scripts Don't Always Work

11/20/2017 - 0 Comments
 
One of our employees received a personal message a few months back from an acquaintance who had started a new business: “Hey! Hope all is well! I am reaching out as I have recently joined [Company X]. Let me ask a few questions: are you currently using any face wash, do you have any dark marks, acne, fine lines/wrinkles, or sensitive skin? If you currently have a skincare regimen that you love, great! If you are looking for a new one or don’t have one (or even looking to even out your skin tones), let’s talk more. I would love to tell you more about [Company X] and would love your support in my new business endeavor.”

When our reply was “Congratulations on your new venture, we too love this brand and have been using it for a year” there was no reply. Not even a “Darn! Wish I was able to help you” or a “Way to go! You chose the right products!” We were a bit surprised by this and it then became very obvious that this new business person simply sent out a blanket message that was scripted from her company, with no thought beyond the initial message. Keep in mind, this person is a new Brand Ambassador for this company and a face of these products, and while surely disappointed in our reply, a quick response would have gone far in keeping a positive impression of this brand.

This got us to thinking about scripts in general. A script enables quick communication and can be useful in some situations. Learning a new job can be overwhelming; providing sales scripts can be one of the ways to ease the burden of learning everything all at once. A framework and guidance in situations where nerves may get the best of you provide some peace of mind.

However, there are times when scripts are not useful, appropriate or well-planned. Interacting with others should be a natural process and not "forced." What happens when the other person doesn't answer the way the script says they should? Then what? Continuing to go down the path that the script lays out can be frustrating and counterproductive for both parties. Knowing when to go "off-script" is critical in building relationships. This values everyone's time throughout the process. Another key is to be sure to round out the conversation and always provide a genuine response.

When our potential customer doesn’t reply as we would hope they would (and let’s face it, this happens daily), let’s be sure we’ve formulated a plan of action for these types of responses and not leave the customer to think we don’t care. This is going to require a more natural, human response. I think we can all handle that, right?

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Happy Employees Equal Happy Customers

11/17/2017 - 0 Comments
 
Our contact center staff is on the front lines every day. Plantronics uses the term “Brand Ambassadors,” as these staff members are the face of your company to the outside world. They are the first, and sometimes final, point of contact for customers.

We are in the middle of the “most wonderful time of the year“ and you are probably looking around your call center right now and wondering if you’ve done everything you possibly could have to ensure a successful, positive holiday season for your staff, and in turn, for your customers. Long hours, sleep-deprived customers and staff, and faulty equipment can contribute to poor morale.



Whether you are at this point in the year completely immersed in the holiday season in your contact center, or just gaining steam, one of the most important pieces of equipment your staff uses is their headset. Are they working with broken-down, pieced-together-with-Scotch-tape headsets? Or, are you equipping them with a quality headset that’s comfortable and one they feel confident with using every day?

Our recommendation for staff members who are on the phone for the majority of their work day: the Plantronics EncorePro HW520. Plantronics took the best from the SupraPlus family and updated the technology, fit and comfort level into a stylish, lightweight headset with high quality sound.

Why Should You Choose the EncorePro HW520?

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable fit
  • Laser-welded construction: Aircraft-grade aluminum joints
  • Dual ear cushions completely cover the ears for total immersion in calls.
  • Large, soft foam ear cushions (Leatherette cushions an optional purchase).
  • Noise-cancelling microphone
  • Flexible boom with visual and tactile positioning guides for precise positioning and clear conversations/voice clarity
  • Compliant with OSHA/Noise at Work regulations
  • SoundGuard (acoustic limiting technology present in all headsets from Plantronics that protects against sounds above 118dBA)

Enjoy a wonderful holiday season, a productive staff, and happy customers, with the help of new Plantronics EncorePro headsets! Happy Holidays!

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