Maybe you are already used to the noise in your call centre but it’s a different story with your customers. Background noise over the phone can be very irritating to your callers. It can also be distracting.
If you want to know how much background noise can be heard during a call, make a test call yourself. Listen if you will be able to hear an agent wearing or removing his headset. Listen for background chatter. Listen if there are desk fans causing excess noise.
If you want to reduce the background noise in your contact centre, here some helpful tips.
In the workplace
Install acoustic ceiling tiles
Ask your engineer if they can install acoustic tiles or get some advice from engineers who build a recording studio. They will be able to advise you on the best way to reduce noise in your office. The acoustic tiles will make a big difference. There are several materials that can be used to reduce sound in your office.
Install an adjustable white noise system
Like the acoustic tiles, a white noise system can also diminish noise. Choose one that can be adjusted based on the call volume your call centre receives.
Put your agents in padded cubicles so they are more isolated from the rest of the team. A higher front panel will also absorb sound.
If you really can’t control office chatter, setup glass cubicles or partitions so that each agent is completely isolated.
The architecture of your office will greatly help in reducing sound. Doors and corridors can be very helpful. You can close off work areas from public areas such as lounges, break rooms and lifts.
Take a cue from nature and install water features and plants around the office. The soothing sound of water will help give a relaxed environment. Both the water features and the plants will absorb the excess sound. If your customers should hear a sound, the sound of water is a much better alternative than ringing phones or conversations.
Nature and art go hand in hand especially in a call centre. Artwork canvasses hung on walls and fabric screens also reduce background noise. They add both form and function to your office.
Keep agent voices down
The best way to reduce noise is to train your agents to keep their voices down. They should be aware and respectful of other agents who are talking on the phone. Train them to have a level tone of voice.
Strictly no discussions in the work area
Tell your agents not to hold discussions or small talk behind or in front of an agent who is currently engaged in a call. If the customer hears this chatter, he or she will have the impression that your company is not professional.
Discourage agents from talking about their personal lives in the work area. Save that for the break room.
Assign a break room
When an agent goes on break, he should not be loitering or staying in the work area. All agents on break must go to the break room. They should leave their desks – no eating, texting or chatting in their cubicles. To encourage your agents to go to the break room, set up a snack bar. You can fill it up with juice, coffee, tea, sweets, fruits, cereals, energy bars, etc. The energy boost will help your agents be refreshed and ready to go back to their shift.
Seat same-shift agents together
People tend to be a bit noisy when they come in or leave for a shift so seating agents who have the same schedules together will reduce noise. They can talk all they want after their shift without disturbing the other agents.
If an agent is noisy or too loud, it might be a good idea to play a recording of his own voice to him. This recording will help him realize how much he is disrupting the workplace. It also distracts the other agents who are on the phone.
Encourage agents to chat online instead of shouting from across the room or getting up to talk to a supervisor. Set up an internal webchat system so your employees won’t be tempted to chat with other contacts in their social networking sites.
If you are still worried about installing a webchat system because it might encourage personal conversations during work hours, just use the good old emailing system to talk to each other.
Restrict smartphones from the work area. This will keep personal conversations out of the office. It will eliminate extra noise such as ringing and text alerts.
Invest in good quality headphones
There is a reason why some headphones are way more expensive than others. They have a built-in noise reduction system. The materials used are also designed to keep noise out. Your clients will also have a better call experience with the right phone system.
Turn up the volume of the agent’s own voice feedback
By turning up the volume of the agent’s own voice feedback in his headset will help lower his voice volume.
There are several reasons why customers hate calling or receiving a call from a call centre and one of them is the background noise. Who wants to hear other people’s conversations while you are currently having one yourself? Also, if your customer can hear another agent’s conversation then you might be committing a breach of their privacy. There are strict regulations regarding a customer’s personal details and if you are not careful, some of those confidential information might be leaked due to poor call and noise management.
Assess the noise level in your office. If you can, call in the professionals to fix it. Fixing your office to reduce background noise is a good investment. You will sound professional over the phone and your customers will thank you for it. They will also trust you that you are handling their concerns and personal details well.