The chatter of voices. The ringing of phones. The clacking of keyboards. Call centers are full of distracting sounds.
Thankfully, there are effective ways to reduce background noise in a call center. If you want to create a quieter environment where your agents can be more productive, read on.
1. Increase Space Between Call Center Agents
To reduce background noise in your call center, put more space between your agents. Realistically, though, I know that’s not always possible, especially if you’re trying to maximize the number of employees you can fit into one office. Thankfully, there are more ideas below if this suggestion isn’t feasible.
2. Invest in Sound Masking Technology
When you think of sound masking, you might think of white noise, but they’re actually not the same thing. Sound masking technology involves engineering a sound that will result in a unique blend of frequencies that makes background conversation unintelligible. Installed correctly, sound masking equipment may still allow you to hear people talking—but you will not be able to make out what’s being said. This is crucial for call centers where sensitive information is being discussed on the phone.
If you want to get sound masking technology installed at your call center, technicians will put speakers in or above your ceiling tiles that will emit this “white noise” type of sound. The sound it emits should not be disruptive; it may not even be noticeable. But when it’s turned on, it will mask conversations to maintain privacy.
3. Install Acoustic Panels
Most often seen on the walls of recording studios, these sponge-like black panels work well to reduce background noise in a call center too. Acoustic panels are placed on the walls to absorb sound, reducing echoes in the room and making it quieter.
However, acoustic panels on the walls are just one option. If you have high ceilings that are also causing a lot of echoes, you can purchase acoustic ceiling clouds or hanging baffles. These are fabric-wrapped items that hang from your ceiling and absorb sound.
4. Choose the Right Headset
The headset is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment for a call center employee. Having a headset with a good microphone and active noise cancelling is essential. Look for a headset with a cardioid microphone; this picks up only what’s directly in front of it (the call agent) and should not pick up sounds in the background. Need help deciding on a good one? Check out our picks for the best call center headsets.
5. Use the Krisp Noise-Cancelling App
The quickest and simplest way that you can reduce background noise in a call center without doing any modifications to your office space is to use a noise-cancelling app like Krisp.
Simply install the app, and it works automatically in the background and offers two-way noise cancellation. That means that your customers will not hear background noise coming from your call center, and likewise, your agent will not hear background noise coming from your customer’s phone line.
Which Noise Is Annoying You The Most?
Krisp works alongside any software that you currently have and can also work alongside the headsets that you use.
6. Put Up Partitions Between Agents
Most call centers consist of cubicles with multiple employees lined up side by side. This is essential for making use of the space and fitting as many employees as possible into one office.
However, this also makes for a lot of noise. One way around this is to put partitions made of sound-absorbing material between each of your agents. Many call centers do this, and it can work really well—even when you have employees sitting right next to each other in cubicles.
7. Get Silent Keyboards
A classic call center sound that you might want to block out when you’re on calls is the tapping of keyboards. To fix this, you can purchase silent keyboards that don’t make the click-clacking sound of traditional ones. Consider getting these for your call center to cut down on background noise.
8. Pick the Right Call Center Software
Of course, another essential piece of equipment is call center software. To cut down on noise, try to get software that includes incoming call notifications that pop up on the computer screen and ring through to the headset so you don’t get a room full of 20 phones ringing at the same time.
9. Reconsider Your Flooring
To make your office quieter, redo or add to your flooring. Adding area rugs can help absorb sound so the office doesn’t echo. The flooring material itself can make a huge difference in the amount of sound bouncing off the ground in your office. Soft fabrics absorb sound. So installing carpet in your call center might be a better choice than tile or hardwood flooring.
10. Train Agents on Appropriate Voice Volume
Another way you can reduce background noise in a call center is to train your agents on appropriate voice volume. Some people naturally talk more loudly than others. But, with the right kind of microphone and by following these noise reduction tips, this really should not be necessary.
Conduct training to make sure that your call agents know how to appropriately control the volume of their voice so they’re not contributing to excessive background noise in your call center.
11. Have Several Smaller Offices Instead of One Big One
Rather than one large space to put all of your agents, consider getting several smaller, perhaps adjoining, offices. That way, it’s easier to control the noise levels between each smaller space.
12. Offer Alternatives to Phone Calls
Is your call center a customer support service center? There are many ways to cut down on the number of calls that customers need to make in order to receive support from you.
Here are some ideas:
- Knowledge base: Expanding your online knowledge base Can reduce the number of questions your customers have in the first place. Be sure to include thorough documentation and answers to commonly asked questions.
- Chatbot: Give your customers the option to chat in real-time with an agent without having to pick up the phone. Chatbots are an excellent option for cutting down phone calls and making your call center quieter.
- Email: Email is yet another silent option for customers who don’t need immediate support. You should, of course, still respond to the email in a reasonable amount of time, such as less than 24 hours.
- Text message: Yet another way to cut down on phone calls is to allow your customers to text you for support. In our daily lives, most of us are more comfortable texting someone versus calling them anyway.
13. Have Separate Conference Rooms
For one-on-ones or group meetings, you need conference rooms in your call center. That way, attendees can move to a quiet space and avoid disrupting any active phone calls.
14. Let Your Agents Work From Home
The number one way to reduce background noise in a call center? Don’t have a call center at all! Of course, I’m kidding. There is one big advantage to having a dedicated office space: maintaining company privacy and security standards across the board.
Many call centers were negatively affected during the pandemic because the downside to allowing agents to work from home is that it can be harder for them to protect sensitive information they’re discussing with callers, such as credit card information.
As long as it is not a security concern, allowing your agents to work from home can be quieter because there aren’t nearly as many people in their house as there are in the call center. Of course, there might be dogs barking or children crying, but that can all be ameliorated with something like a noise-cancelling app like Krisp.
Which Tips Will You Use to Reduce Call Center Background Noise?
As you can see, there are many ways to cut down on call center background noise—and they don’t have to cost you a fortune! By far, the easiest and quickest thing you can do is install a noise-cancelling app that’ll work alongside your existing software and headsets. You don’t have to make major modifications to your office to make it a quieter, more productive place to be.