Freedom and flexibility aren’t necessarily words you’d associate with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet thanks to the bright sparks at Krisp, their industry-leading noise cancellation and echo removal solution has delivered just that to millions of employees around the world, whether they work from the office, at home, in a contact centre, in a shared working space, at a café, or beyond.
With innovation being the foundation of this forward-thinking, advanced AI provider’s core values—and following the overwhelming success of the Krisp “virtual microphone and speaker” app—they’ve made yet another breakthrough in their mission to empower people to become better, more effective communicators in the digital era, COO Robert Schoenfield tells us.
“What we have here simply doesn’t exist in the industry,” Schoenfield begins, an excitable grin breaking out across his face as we chat over Microsoft Teams.
And his joy is contagious I find, as I can’t help but beam right back at him as he explains how the idea for competing for noise cancellation was born.
“We’ve been working on the product for about two years, and the real challenge for us was having to pinpoint, in real-time, the primary voice speaking from other background voices and noises—and then parse them out, so that we could shine a spotlight on the primary speaking voice only,” Schoenfield explains.
Previously, Krisp treated CX Today to a live demo that saw Schoenfield remove both the shrill of a screaming baby and horrendous street traffic noise with a click of a button via their bi-directional noise-cancellation app, allowing him the complete silence required to have an uninterrupted discussion with us.
The state-of-the-art solution was hailed as a game-changer for professionals far and wide—especially work-from-home contact centre agents—due to its ability to rid any workspace of loud or distracting sounds. Quiet, calm workspaces make it easier for agents to give customers their undivided attention and offer more positive customer interactions overall. This has been shown to both improve CSAT scores and reduce agent churn.
This new feature that Krisp shared with us today, however, goes another step further. By cancelling competing voices—whether from family members sharing the same workspace at home or an on-premises agent struggling to be heard over a supervisor speaking loudly nearby—it gives agents added peace of mind that their interactions with customers won’t be interrupted or sidetracked by voices in their immediate vicinity. And what’s more, the app’s noise-cancelling superpowers are processed locally on an agent’s computer, meaning no conversations ever get stored in the cloud.
Schoenfield says: “When you’re the customer on the other end of a sensitive call with an agent and you can hear other people talking clearly in the background while you’re trying to explain a personal matter or share private financial details, that can be really concerning. On the flip side, it can make the agent feel really uncomfortable, too.”
He added: “In the early days of COVID-19, this didn’t matter so much because customers were a bit more tolerant of the challenges of working from home. They would ask, “Hey, are you at home, I can hear you’ve got a dog?” But as the months went on, post-call customer feedback started to turn negative because customers lost their patience with unwanted background noise.”
This had a catastrophic impact on CSAT scores, with agents also being made to look like they weren’t delivering the best possible CX.
Schoenfield offered up another example: An agent working from a contact centre with many other agents working in close proximity to each other. The customer calls in about a healthcare matter of great sensitivity. As the customer explains the situation, laughs can be heard in the background from other agents and call centre supervisors having their own conversations. The damage is off the scale. This scenario, Schoenfield says, actually happened to a customer before they began using Krisp’s background noise cancellation solution.
“When there are other human voices in the vicinity of the agent that is of equal signal strength and equal volume level, it causes a real problem,” Schoenfield says.
This is because agents’ performance—and therefore, the success of the business—is measured by metrics and KPIs. Constant distractions and interruptions, whether in the form of competing voices or surrounding noises, can negatively affect these figures, fast. This happens regardless of whether agents are able to ignore background noises on their own. They could provide the best possible interaction with that customer imaginable, even with all that noise in the background, yet all it takes is for the customer to be put off by it enough to complain, which can affect a business’s reputation.
As for rolling out this new solution, the company anticipates doing so globally, as it can benefit professionals in all industries—well beyond contact centre agents alone.
Schoenfield reminds me of a large number of contact centres in the Philippines and other high-density call centre markets. “Additionally, we see the US as a priority market for our solutions because of the breadth of their contact centre operations. We’re seeing a lot of demand and emergence out of Central and South America too.”
The Krisp app will be updated later this quarter to include this new feature, Schoenfield explains. More details will be shared with customers prior to its launch. For more information on Krisp’s new competing noise cancellation feature, click here.