Plantronics Releases New Headsets and Digital Processors for Contact Centers



Plantronics has released a new family of contact center headset solutions, Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series. In addition, the company announced their next-generation DA Series USB digital audio processors for Plantronics headsets that deliver a more complete audio experience by providing context for every call. With these new Plantronics customer service solutions, organizations improve metrics, attract and retain Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) and create a better customer experience.

Smart phones and self-service have shifted the balance of power in the customer service center; when a customer reaches a CSR, they have likely attempted self-service and have much more information than the agent, the company said. In these situations, customers want to reach someone immediately and have the issue resolved quickly. They consider their call an escalation putting extraordinary pressure on the agent to perform, even while the customer is likely in a mobile environment with questionable audio quality. Furthermore, businesses are using over-the-phone routes for complex, high-value transactions. In these situations, center managers need to ensure that every call sounds high-quality and customers don't overhear other callers' confidential information.

The Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series was built with the CSR in mind. It features a forward-looking, professional grade industrial design that uses new materials and technologies that yield an ergonomic fit that is durable, lightweight, and comfortable for all-day wearing. With fewer reasons to remove the headset throughout the day, CSRs are ready for each call, with the boom being in the right place for a better customer conversation. The noise-canceling technology ensures more focused and private calls, so conversations will be heard clearly with fewer misunderstood words and with reduced background noise from keyboards and close talkers.

The series includes the following models: EncorePro 510/520 (dedicated over-the-head), EncorePro 530 (over-the-ear) and EncorePro 540 (convertible), the latter is unique in its simple design and high-performance audio no matter what the preferred wearing style. All models support wideband audio.

The new Plantronics digital audio processors are designed to connect Plantronics quick disconnect headsets to computers through a USB port. Some incorporate user controls like the ability to answer a call, mute the call and adjust volume. All support Noise @ Work, based on Plantronics SoundGuard digital technology. Not only are CSRs protected from sounds above 118 dBA, but anti-startle protection detects and eliminates sudden increase in sound and Time Weighted Average (TWA) measurement which manages average daily sound exposure for CSRs.

What's more, these new devices are smart. All are support by Plantronics Hub, and each contains firmware that can generate notifications based on hardware state changes. Some models can also generate notifications based on acoustic events or other telemetry that is important to the service center, but has been previously unavailable. For example, the Plantronics DA-90 will offer acoustic event logging so that customers can be compliant with initiatives like Australia's G.616 recommendation. These events are exposed through API's within the Plantronics Spokes suite of software solutions.

The combination of the Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series, Plantronics digital audio adapters, and Plantronics Hub means that events and metrics occurring during the interaction with the customer are actionable; they are exposed in real-time through the API and made available through an SDK to call routing systems and third party applications. This makes possible new efficiencies in a range of areas, such as automation of agent status updates, screen-locking for security when a headset is disconnected, dashboard management of headset inventory and warranty status, tracking of agent use of physical call controls and supervisor alerts to conversational conflict between agent and caller. Alliance partner integrations with vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence; additional third-party software application vendors are expected to enter market during 2015.

"This launch covers everyone -- usability and personal comfort for the agent, agent monitoring of events, ordering, budgeting, and inventory tracking for the supervisor,” said Nancy Jamison, principal analyst, customer contact, Frost & Sullivan, in a statement. “Particularly intriguing is the enablement of event tracking for things such as agent status when the headset is disconnected allowing for actions to occur such as screen locking."