Studies have confirmed that too much noise in the workplace can be distracting and stress-inducing, and even cause physical pain. In customer service centers, noise can also be bad for business in a number of ways. When a service rep can't clearly hear a caller or the caller hears excessive noise in the background, customer satisfaction and sales are at risk.
In addition, a 2015 study commissioned by the audio communications technology company Plantronics found that a vast majority of office workers said noise have an adverse effect on them and the quality of their work. Noise problems have been exacerbated by the trend toward open-space office designs, the company also found.
Growing concerns about the impacts of workplace noise have led to such laws as the Control of Noise at Work Regulations that went into effect in the U.K. in 2006. The issue has also been the focus of scientific research, government summit discussions and other actions in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Workplace Noise Raises Privacy Concerns
In addition to being distracting to employees and callers, noisy contact centers can also create problems around information privacy and security, Plantronics spokesman Woody Mosqueda told us. Those concerns pose particular challenges for businesses that handle information related to healthcare or finances, he said.
A February 2015 Opinion Matters survey commissioned by Plantronics found that office workers agreed the toughest task to deal with in noisy environments was handling telephone conversations. Such challenges have increased as more people find themselves in flexible work environments and open-office layouts without traditional fixed-desk and office spaces.
For instance, last year Facebook opened what is considered to be the "largest open floor plan in the world" -- a 430,000-square-foot collaborative space in Menlo Park, California, that can accommodate up to 2,800 engineers and other employees.
Such spaces represent a "shift among businesses large and small to ditch cubicles with high walls and private offices in favor of everyone sitting side by side out in the open or in very low-walled cubes," wrote Plantronics' Judi Hembrough, who leads marketing and strategy efforts for the company's small and midsize business customers.
Serving Customers on the Go
The rise of mobile work on the road and in cars, train stations, airports and elsewhere has also contributed to more noise issues for workers, Plantronics found. In response, the company has come out with several new products, including the Blackwire 725 (pictured above), its first unified communications-designed stereo headset with active noise canceling.
Mobile customer engagement is likely to continue growing in the coming year, according to Lisa Durant, a Nemertes Research Group analyst who focuses on contact centers and customer engagement.
"I absolutely expect to see mobile grow in importance in 2016," Durant said recently in offering her predictions for the new year. Durant expects IT leaders to encounter a whole new set of challenges specific to serving customers on-the-go, in addition to the typical challenges faced by contact centers and service reps handling customer engagement.
She also expects to see conversations about mobile customer service evolve as more people adopt Internet of Things technologies. "I'm absolutely watching this space as I continue to see more people buy new 'smart' and connected devices," Durant noted.
Posted: 2016-02-01 @ 8:46am PT
Noise becomes a serious issue when customers get irritated and end the call with a negative note and this happens most of the time. In my opinion, we should install soundproof solutions in call centers of large scale such as soundproof glass cabins, sound baffle or active noise control.