Use Case: Background Noise in Home Office

Background Noise Graph
Background Noise levels should not exceed a defined threshold (here 55 dB(A)).

Introduction

This use case is about call center agents that work in a home office. All agents communicate to customers via Jabra Engage 50 Headsets. Each agent has to ensure individually, that he is working in a quiet environment. This is part of the working contract.

A quiet environment is characterized by no background noise or only insignificant levels of background noise.

Agent's Perspective

The agent is located in his own home office and directly exposed to any background noise from this environment.

Background noise may have following effects to the agent:

  • He does not sound professional in a call
  • He can not concentrate during a full 8 hour workday
  • His general health and safety may be affected (depending on noise levels)

It is thus in the best interest of an agent, to work in a quiet environment.

Customer's Perspective

The customer is not necessarily aware, if an agent is exposed to background noise.

Reason: The headset model Jabra Engage 50 filters out background noise. On average, the customer hears only the agent's voice but no or just little background noise. However, this does not necessarily reflect the real situation in the agent's home office.

Even filtered background noise may affect the customer:

  • Filtering of high levels of background noise can affect the audio quality of the call
  • Background noise can occasionally bleed through to the customer
  • The agent may have problems to focus during the call

Note: It is technically not possible, to filter background noise completely.

Manager's Perspective

A manager has to ensure, that calls between agents and customers fulfill defined quality standards.

Problem: It is an established industry standard to randomly record or survey calls for that purpose. This approach is time-consuming and not a suitable to detect background noise. Background noise in this use case is filtered out by the agent's headset. It is not contained in the audio signals of a call.

Solution: Background noise levels need to be recorded as a telemetry data point in the agent's headset instead.

Using the telemetry data point has several advantages:

  • Background noise levels can be automtaically recorded in an unintrusive way.
  • It is little effort for a manager to track and to continuously analyze background noise levels of many agents simultaneously.
  • Only background noise levels are recorded but not the background noise itself. This protects data privacy for both agent and customer.

Telemetry data is a very efficient way to analyze background noise levels.

Data Point Subscription

Background noise is measured by the dedicated telemetry data point Background Noise in dB(A). You need to subscribe to this data point via SDK.

Threshold Value

Data analysis requires a defined threshold value that marks the upper limit for acceptable background noise.

Rule of thumb: Background noise levels in a "quiet environment" should not exceed 55 dB(A). Higher background noise levels are an indicator for a noisy environment.

Note: The proposed threshold value of 55 dB(A) is based on practical experience but it is not binding. You can define a custom threshold value, if suitable.

Data Analysis

As a general recommendation, it should be distinguished between:

  • Sustained Noise Levels. These events span longer periods of time (>1 second). Example: An ongoing conversation in the background.
  • Noise Level Spikes. These are short events (<1 second). Example: The agent puts down his coffee mug directly next to the microphone.

The analysis should primarily focus on sustained noise levels because these are more likely to affect call quality. Short noise level spikes are hard to avoid and usually have a negligible impact on call quality.

In practice, the individual circumstances of each case must be taken into account.