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The challenges of noise in the contact center

Plantronics has spent the past 50 years developing and proving our solutions in contact centers. Our long-standing experience has helped us create products and solutions that are industry-standard across the world — breaking down the barriers to open communication to enhance employee productivity, customer satisfaction and business performance.

The top three facts you need to know


73% of consumers surveyed prefer to deal with a person to resolve service issues.2

Despite the fact that customers are using more digital channels to seek support, voice still remains the most critical channel.2 It continues to be the quickest way to get an issue resolved, and the easiest way to explain or describe a situation.

Today, more than ever, your customers expect an excellent experience when they engage with your brand on any level. In fact, poor customer experience is the reason 66% of customers quit doing business with a brand.3 While a number of factors contribute to the quality of customer engagement in the contact center, managing background noise goes a long way to ensuring your CSRs are focused on the customer experience. Distracting noise can result in longer calls, repetition of questions or customers being able to hear the conversations of others. All of these scenarios have a negative impact on customer experience and brand perception.

Ensuring that your employees can communicate clearly with the customer on the other end of the call is a critical component in creating a positive customer experience.

Exposure to background noise affects employee health.4

Workplace safety regulatory bodies in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia all warn of the dangers of prolonged exposure to background noise. And, in a contact center, noise is the sound of work happening.

Taking steps to reduce noise is one answer — by measuring sound levels in individual workstations as well as collaboration areas, ensuring people are sitting further apart from each other, and modifying these spaces by using sound-absorbing furniture and materials like soft high-back chairs and acoustic tiles. The other is providing the right equipment such as headsets specifically designed for contact centers, delivering clear conversations and protecting employees from sound spikes.



63% of employees of employees agree that noise reduces their productivity, satisfaction and well-being.5

Reducing background noise not only ensures employees’ well-being, it also allows them to focus on their most important job: providing an exceptional customer experience. Less that 20% of employees say they have the tools they need to reduce distracting noise around them.5

Noise also reduces employee satisfaction and productivity. Managing it requires an understanding of how it affects employee workstyles and productivity needs.

1 Accenture Strategy, “Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement: The High Price of Obsession – Has Digital Reached its Tipping Point?,” 2015.
2 Dimensional Research for ZenDesk, “Customer Service and Business Results: A Survey of Customer Service from Mid-size Companies,” 2013.
3 Great Britain: Control of Noise at Work Regulations; U.S.: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Controls for Noise Exposure; Australia: National Code of Practice for Noise Management and Protection of Hearing at Work.
4 Oxford Economics, “The Always-on Economy: Survey Analysis Prepared for Plantronics by Oxford Economics,” December 2015.
5 Oxford Economics Study 2018.