Large European Bank
Contact centre agents were experiencing acoustic shocks caused by sudden and unexpected loud noises / shrieks coming through the telephone network to their headsets. These incidents occurred intermittently across all the Bank’s contact centres.
The cause of the shrieks was the subject of an on-going investigation but could not be pinpointed. Acoustic shock incidents continued over several months. Contact centre agents experienced a range of symptoms such as a mild headache or a slight balance disturbance; while others needed to take time off work due to severe nausea or pain in the neck and ear.
The continuation of acoustic shocks had a ‘ripple effect’ throughout the contact centre with staff in general feeling vulnerable and becoming sensitive to loud sounds. The situation became so serious that the trade union threatened to stage a walk-out if the Bank’s management didn’t resolve the problem.
The Bank trialled all the headset amplifier products from the global brands that claimed to suppress acoustic shrieks, but none were effective. The Bank then approached Polaris via its UK representative and asked them to install a 16 seat trial at the most badly affected site. Tests were run and acoustic noise was introduced deliberately to evaluate the Soundshield. The Soundshield eliminated all unsafe acoustic shrieks and provided the Bank with sound exposure graphs to demonstrate the noise levels that staff were exposed to.
The Bank deployed Soundshield across all their contact centres nationwide. All incidence of acoustic shrieks and shocks has been eliminated. Staff are protected and sound exposure records are kept.
Building on this success, the Bank has extended the use of Soundshield into their branches to safeguard all their staff who use the telephone.
Acoustic safety is now guaranteed. Staff, unions and management put their confidence in the Polaris Soundshield to deliver total protection.
Large national marketing services company
The company commissioned a new softphone telephony system from one of the world’s leading UC solution providers. This was installed across all areas of the business in order to improve efficiency and bring down cost by using VoIP.
As soon as the installation was complete and staff moved over to the new telephony platform, many started experiencing acoustic shock incidents. Random acoustic shrieks were travelling down the network and since staff were using basic USB headsets which connected straight into their PCs, they were not protected from acoustic shock in any way.
The company reported this to its telephony provider who, after investigating the issue, contacted Polaris to further help with the investigation. Polaris had previously collaborated with the telephony provider on numerous occasions to overcome this type of problem.
Polaris installed Soundshield 4G Acoustic Safety devices on all desks along with its Soundpro Wideband Corded Headsets. The Soundshield 4G’s total shriek rejection ensured that the high pitched sounds coming down the network never reached the ear of the user, and they were also protected from long term noise exposure.
The Soundshield 4G connects straight into a PC therefore full UC / Softphone functionality was maintained by the company.
There have been no acoustic shock incidents since the Soundshields were installed. Staff feel protected and looked after.
Emergency Services: Fire Command and Control Centre, UK
The Fire Command and Control Centre call handlers of this Fire Service were struggling to hear callers due to the background noise from fire alarms when fires were being reported by the public. The call handlers routinely increased the volume of their headsets above a safe level to hear callers. On one particular occasion, the noise level was such that a 999 call had to be abandoned. This was a situation that could not be repeated.
After a number of trials were conducted, the Fire Service installed the Soundshield Acoustic Protection device, confident that it would provide complete acoustic safety to call handlers and enhance call quality in this critical environment.
Since the award-winning Soundshield has been installed, call handlers have been protected from all acoustic incidents.
Soundshield intercepts and removes the background noise of alarms and sirens during calls, allowing clearer, more effective communications and a more rapid response to the public. Indeed communications between the control room and fire engine crews have also been improved.
Soundshield works seamlessly between telephone and radio systems, removing fire engine sirens so that call handlers can speak to the crews on the ground more effectively.
Hearing damage to call handlers from malicious calls has also been eliminated. As the Soundshield detects and removes alarms, it also removes bells and whistles frequently used to provoke an acoustic incident by troublesome callers.
Uniquely, Fire Service management are now able to demonstrate their duty of care to staff and compliance with the European Noise at Work Directive through the use of Soundshield’sSoundstat software.
Hearing damage amongst their call handlers has become a ‘thing of the past’. Staff can now take calls in life threatening situations without having to jeopardise their own well-being.