Things you should know about remote call answering with wireless headsets

handset lifters and electronic hook switch cables

handset lifters and electronic hook switch cables

Everyone who uses a telephone in an office will occasionally miss important phone calls. For sure, it’s one of Murphy’s Laws that’s alive and well. When using a telephone without a wireless headset, missing calls is hard to avoid unless you chain yourself to your desk in anticipation of the phone to ring. Most of us don’t like being anchored to our desks if given a choice, so what’s the best way to have some mobility while not missing calls?

cartoon character asking so, what's the answer?

A)  Get an office wireless headset and equally important

B)  Get the remote call answering option.  What’s remote call answering?

word art saying here's the scoop

Office wireless headsets offer an option that allow you to be away from your desk but get an audible alert whenever you receive an incoming phone call. A quiet, discreet beep tone is placed into the headset earpiece that notifies you of an incoming call. Once detected, you can take the call by pressing the call control button on the headset top. When the call is completed, press the call control button a second time and the call is disconnected. You continue on with your work without the need to sprint back to your desk to “catch the call” hoping you don’t trip over the cord that’s in your path.

highway to horizon with heading of how far can you go?

How far from my desk can I be and still get an incoming call? This is completely dependent on the range provided by the wireless headset you’re using. Some headsets provide a wireless range “up to” 350 feet while others provide a range up to 1200 feet. So, the model of headset you’re using (or considering) will dictate how far away from your desk you can be and still be able to take a phone call.

What’s the optional device being recommended in this Blog that gives remote call answering capability? There are two key products available that provide this capability.

handset lifter device for telephones

images of headset electronic hookswitch cables

So, what are these things anyway?

HANDSET LIFTER. As the picture in #1 above shows, a lifter adheres to the surface of the phone, beneath the handset receiver. This device is kept in place via double-sided tape. Though this sounds as though it wouldn’t hold it in place, they actually stay in place pretty well. This changes though whenever the lifter is removed and reattached as the stickiness of the tape begins to lose its grip. Fortunately, spare double-sided tape is included with lifters for this very reason.

cartoon of road runner saying beep beep

On the bottom side of the lifter there’s a sensor. The purpose of this sensor is to detect ring vibrations when receiving an incoming call. Once detected,

  • a quiet beep tone is placed into the earpiece of the headset. This alerts the wearer that they’re receiving an incoming call.
  • The call control button is pressed to take the call
  • The call control button is pressed a second time to end the call. If the call is not taken, it will go to voicemail or however unanswered calls are handled on your phone system.

wording that says how does it connect to the headsetHandset lifters get power from the wireless headset charging base. Lifters have a cable that plugs into the base.

Some Handset Lifters, like the Plantronics HL10 use a 3.5mm connector as shown below.

Plantronics HL10 handset lifter


Other manufacturers like Jabra and Discover use a modular connection as you’ll see below.

Discover DHL110 handset lifter


In both cases, they plug-in easily and receive a steady stream of power needed for it to work. No batteries required.


3 makes of wireless headset handset lifters

Once the Lifter is adhered to the phone and plugged into the wireless headset base, minor adjustments are required in order to get the proper alignment. Proper alignment allows the Lifter to efficiently raise the handset out of the cradle to the correct height, and equally important, hang up the handset properly.

Realizing that phone designs vary as does the angle or slope of the phone, getting the Lifter adjusted properly will avoid Handset Lifter related troubles that can include:

  • Hanging up on your caller. This is generally created when the height adjustment is set too low. Easy to correct by adjusting the height control button one step higher. Available settings are typically, low, medium and high with the low setting being the most common setting when this issue occurs.
  • Tossing the handset onto your desk top. Many phones today are mounted at an angle making for an easier viewing area for the employee. The issue here, as it relates to lifters is an improper setup and height adjustment causes the handset receiver to roll off the phone and on to the desk top. The typical correction to this problem is normally to lower the height adjustment setting.
  • Phone receiver won’t hang up properly. This can be very irritating and can be caused by a couple of things. First, you may need to realign the position of the handset lifter, moving it up is typically helpful. Once done, do not press firmly on the double-sided tape in case you need additional adjustments. Once tested and found to be operating correctly, pressure can be applied to the Lifter so that it makes a firm connection to the phone. The other thing that can cause this is in cases where the phone has a steep angle and the handset receiver doesn’t have a molded cavity to hold the mouthpiece portion of the handset receiver in place. Once the handset receiver is lifted out of the cradle, the handset slides downwards towards the desk not allowing the handset to hang up correctly due to improper handset/cradle alignment. To correct this, try lowering the angle or slope of the phone if the phone allows for this. You can also try lowering the height adjustment button on the Handset Lifter. Lastly, as in the case of some Polycom iP phones, you may need to acquire an “L” bracket L bracket for Polycom phone This device adheres to the lower left portion of the phone giving the handset receiver a resting place that ultimately prevents the handset from sliding down when lifted.

L bracket and Polycom SoundPoint iP phone



ELECTRONIC HOOKSWITCH CABLES. These cables perform the same function as a Handset Lifter, but are manufactured for specific phone makes and models. Though they perform the same function, they do it in a completely different way. Unlike the Handset Lifter, EHS cables are not electro-mechanical. Instead, they’re an interface cable between the phone and wireless headset driven and controlled by firmware. You get remote ring detection and remote call answering and ending, just like you do with a Handset Lifter but without the need to “lift” the handset receiver from the cradle.

Without question, EHS cables are more efficient and less problematic. Best of all, they cost about the same. You should expect to pay between $50 – $80 for most EHS cables.  There is a catch though…..

image with fish in water with saying that says what's the catch


desk phone image saying you need to have a phone that's compatible

The different headset manufactures have a compatibility listing that shows the various phone makes and models that are compatible with EHS cables. If the phone you’re using is on this list, then you can use an EHS cable. If your phone is NOT on this list, then a Handset Lifter would be used instead. If you’d like to know if your phone is EHS compatible, just contact us and we’ll look it up for you. No obligation whatsoever.

EHS cables have specific connectors and these connectors vary by the make and model of phone they’re connecting to. Below you’ll see a few examples of what I mean. In reviewing this, you’ll see that the cable connectors vary and aren’t cross compatible.

3 examples of headset hookswitch cables

So what does it all mean?

Using wireless headsets is a great idea. Using wireless headsets with a Handset Lifter or EHS cable is even better. You’ll get more done, you’ll experience better ergonomics, on on-the-job injuries will be reduced and phone tag will be nearly eliminated because you can take calls even when away from your desk.

Most people who purchase office wireless headsets include the remote answering feature. It’s the piece that makes a wireless headset an even more valuable and versatile business tool. Just try to take someones remote call answering away and see how happy that makes them. The truth is, remote call answering is a feature that ranks high on the must- have list of anyone wanting to be more productive when at work.

If you have questions on remote call answering or would like to get some fresh ideas, contact us! We’ll be happy to help you in any way we can. No cost and no obligation of course.

Looking for new headsets? Why not trade in your old ones and get credit towards new? You’ll save money, eliminate some office clutter and help the environment too. Just click on the banner below to request your free trade in quote today.

CTA Trade in v1


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