In order to have a complete understanding of the headset population for a corporate client, it is vital to conduct an Equipment Audit and Usage Analysis. This gives you the opportunity to compare the results of the audit with invoices of products purchased over the past few years by the corporation to assess the attrition rate of headsets from Call and Contact Centers within the corporation.
The Equipment Audit is on site and very thorough. The facility manager, telecom manager and/or the Call Center Manger to identify all of the headsets in use, tally the number of units out for repair, the units waiting to be sent to repair, units past their life cycle of usage, etc. In centers where there appears to be a large employee turnover, my experience has found that headsets from previous employees are hidden in desk drawers, lockers, supply closets, filing cabinets. In these cases, run a “Headset Amnesty” Competition – and give “awards” for employees helping us to uncover these products. This is a light-hearted way to allow employees to turn in products without any fear of retribution. Only by having all of the products in a Call Center accounted for can you determine the value these unused products have to the Call Center operation.
Management is often amazed at the amount of product that is found at their facilities, but with the vast amount of responsibility that the Call Center Managers and the Facilities Managers have in keeping a Center running to peak performance, headsets usually end up falling between the cracks. This is perfectly understandable as a worn, used headset is hardly the type of item most business professionals want to handle or deal with enthusiastically. Often times there are boxes, bins or drawers of product that needs attention. A fair percentage of the product is usually in good working condition but needs cosmetic attention before being reassigned. Most employees chafe at the suggestion of wearing a headset that had been worn by someone else previously. This is tantamount to asking someone to use another person’s toothbrush. Either send them to the manufacturer for cosmetic refurbishment or ask your supplier to help you with this task. The products will need a quick testing, cleaning and purchasing of ear cushions and voice tubes or windscreens, but this is far less than the price of a new unit.
The products uncovered during an audit will also contain product that is no longer compatible with the phone system since it has been tucked in a drawer or supply closet for years and years. There will be headsets that are in warranty but in need of repair and there will be headsets that are out of warranty and in need of repair.
All the data from the audit she be presented in a report for the purchasing, materials, and operational Executive Management as well as the Call Center Manager. This is the time to make recommendations on further assisting the Call or Contact Center Manager with setting up a system for warranty optimization and maintenance which can significantly save the corporation money by having an audited baseline of headset inventory, recommendations on maximizing the value of products uncovered during the audit currently not being used, and assisting the Call Center and Facilities Manager in simple troubleshooting and cosmetic refurbishment methods to insure headsets that are in working order are being used by the agents.
While the results from audits in Call and Contact Centers will obviously produce the most dramatic results, do not overlook conducting audits and usage analysis reports for office personnel as well. Again, it is not unusual to find significant amounts of headset inventory to be squirreled away in desks, file cabinets, telecommunications equipment closets, etc. These products may have been come from a variety of sources – and again may been used by previous employees in the organization. In larger corporate facilities, host a “Headset Amnesty” Day concurrent with a new product evaluation session and ascertain what value the existing product may have for the corporation through the manufacturer’s trade-in program.
One of the most cost-effective strategies is the implementation of a simple but effective headset warranty optimization and maintenance plan. Develop a method for quickly identifying headset product age, determining whether it is fiscally wise to have a headset repaired or designated for trade-in credit, or establishing a unit is under warranty and can be returned to the manufacturer for repair work at no charge. Timeliness is the key factor in the management and maintenance of headsets. If product is sitting in boxes or supply rooms, the warranty clock is ticking and often valuable resources are being underutilized by not having established a systematic handling of headsets within a Call or Contact Center.
Ask the manufacturer whose headsets are in your Call Center to work closely with the Call Center Managers on a continuous basis to first establish the headset maintenance program and then ask for periodic follow up on a regular basis so the manufacturer can be continuing source of support to the designated employee who has “headset responsibility” within the facility.