How much is too much when it comes to ambient noise in a Contact Centre?
Most agents agree that some background noise is necessary to concentrate on knowledge work, without the sense of deafening silence. On the other hand, too much noise can get in the way of customer interactions. That’s why it is so important to measure and optimise ambient noise in a contact centre, staying within an appropriate threshold.
Ambient noise (also known as background noise) is a crucial component of contact centre acoustics. It can be defined as the steady background sound pressure level that serves as the baseline for any new intrusive sound source that qualifies as “loud” in comparison to the ambient level.
There is no industry-wide benchmark for the ideal ambient noise level, but studies indicate that you should aim for somewhere between 50 and 65 dB to help employees focus on knowledge work. On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) lays down noise level recommendations in different environments at about 35 dBA, speech in “relaxed conversation” is 100% intelligible, and additional vocal effort is needed only beyond 65 dBA.
To measure ambient noise in contact centres, one typically uses a sound level meter, capable of evaluating sound within a limited radius.
There are industry-grade sound level meters available in the market, like the Handheld Quest for industrial and enterprise use. These devices tell you what the ambient noise level in your contact centre is in real-time, ensuring that it does not exceed healthy thresholds.
Because of the unique nature of their business, contact centres have to strike a careful balance when it comes to ambient noise.
Multiple shifts could be occurring simultaneously. This influx and outflow of agents in a contact centre, coupled with a variety of headsets, causes a high level of ambient noise. A sophisticated sound level meter can help you measure ambient noise in real-time, and flag instances of too-high or too-low noise levels for a prolonged period of time.