Call Center Sound Masking
Last week, I had to call the local cable company – on a Sunday nonetheless. I held my breath and prepared myself for a very excruciating conversation (as many of the phone calls made to this company are). But what I was most preoccupied by was not their ineptness; I was more distracted by the amount of background noise that I heard over the phone. The customer service representative clumsily tried to rectify my problem and the intense chatter heard in the distance was so distracting that I actually felt sorry for her. Why don’t these companies with giant call centers use proper sound masking techniques?! Imagine being at a bar on a Saturday night trying to have a conversation with your friend while sitting next to the band. That’s about how bad it was. I understand, call centers by nature are loud – it’s expected. But it’s more likely that the consumer is calling with a problem and is already frustrated. Eliminating the communication barrier is paramount to creating a more positive experience. It’s a hard enough job for these call center reps, why make it harder with off-putting background noise?!
Get Cubicles or Partitions
A call center must have cubicles for privacy with partitions installed for sound reduction. Putting a whole bunch of people at desks in a room does not work. The sound easily carries to everyone around you! Cubicles provide good acoustic baffles as well as providing a degree of discretion. You can also increase the distance between the spacing of agents, giving each representative their own breathing room.
It’s amazing at how poorly call centers are designed. Having a contemporary glass or steel building may look great but it does nothing for absorbing sound. Bouncing sound waves off hard walls and wooden floors will raise the sound levels in your call center by a significant amount. Replace wood flooring with carpet and introduce some plants to help absorb ambient noise
Call centers can also reduce background noise by adding sound-absorbing material between agents or on floors and walls. This can lessen the impact of neighboring conversations and heighten their ability to hear customers.
Noise Canceling Headsets
Noise canceling headsets will filter out background noise from your environment so the customer gets an improved audio experience but the additional effect is that the general noise level on the floor will be lower. A duo headset is particularly good as it reduces background noise and ensures a crystal clear conversation. When using a duo headset, sound is directed into both ears of a user on the telephone. Employees are fully focused on calls and will not try and speak even louder in order to hear the person on the other end.
Remove Noisy Machines
Sitting near a fax machine that is constantly beeping to inform you it is out of paper would certainly irritate even the calmest individual. The same could be said about the coffee or vending machine. So think about your call center layout. Consider placing all office appliances in another room so no one can hear these irritating and loud sounds.
Working as a call center representative can be a thankless and stressful job. But it’s a very important one because how you assist and diffuse your irritated customers has a direct impact on the success or failure of the business. Therefore, it’s important for the call center atmosphere to be a productive and positive work environment. Using the proper call center sound masking techniques to reduce background noise can make a world of difference.