Background Noise

Background Noise
Background Noise: All audio signals in the environment of an agent that might distract his attention.

Introduction

This use case is about a call center agent that works in a home office. He communicates to a customer via a Jabra Engage 50 Headset. The agent hast to ensure, that he is working in a quiet environment. This is part of his working contract.

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

Different Perspectives on Background Noise

The headset Jabra Engage 50 automatically filters out the background noise in an agent's home office. This results in different perspectives on the same audio call.

Agent Customer Manager
Call Perception The agent hears both the unfiltered background noise and his own voice. The customer hears only the agent's voice. He is usually not aware, if an agent is exposed to background noise.

Reason: The headset automatically filters background noise.
The manager has the same perspective as the customer (if surveying the call from remote).
Perceived effects of Background Noise
  • Agent does not sound professional in a call
  • Agent can not concentrate during a full workday
  • Agent's general health and safety may be affected
  • 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.
The manager has the same perspective as the customer (if surveying the call from remote).
Objective An agent should work in a quiet environment for his own health ans safety. A customer wants that his agent can fully focus on the call. A manager needs to ensure that the agent is working in a quiet environment. And he has to ensure best call experience for the customer.

Surveying Calls

It is an established industry standard to record or survey calls for quality control. This time-consuming approach is not a suitable to detect background noise in an agent's home office. The background noise is filtered out by the agent's headset. It is not contained in the transferred audio signal of the call.

Telemetry data points are are a more powerful alternative to manual call monitoring.

Telemetry data points have this advantages:

  • Background noise levels can be automatically recorded.
  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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.