SOURCE: Plantronics, Inc.

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October 01, 2014 09:32 ET

Plantronics Announces New High Performance Headsets and Digital Processors to Create Smarter Customer Service Centers

SANTA CRUZ, CA--(Marketwired - October 01, 2014) - Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) today announced a new family of contact center headset solutions designed for the future and built on experience. The Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series is an all-new generation of headsets for customer service centers and offices that deliver greater comfort for all-day wearing, superior noise-canceling for clearer calls, and increased reliability to help manage costs. 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. 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. You can read the Plantronics white paper on the evolution of customer service here

Comprehensive Solutions for Customer Service Superheroes
With customer expectations rising, the CSR needs to effectively communicate with the customer to solve their problems. 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 extraordinarily 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.

Create a Better Customer Experience
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 and 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. 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," said Nancy Jamison, Principal Analyst in Customer Contact, Frost & Sullivan.

"We are building on the world's most successful professional grade headset, the SupraPlus, and this is a challenge we did not take lightly. Our deep understanding of the new business needs and role of Customer Service, and the availability of new materials, design philosophies, manufacturing techniques and core technologies resulted in a new portfolio that is not only state-of-the-art by today's standards, but also future-proofed to adapt as the landscape changes," said Bill Loewenthal, vice president, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Plantronics. "It's no longer just about a first-class audio experience. With our new portfolio, organizations will immediately see the value that we bring by providing equipment and intelligence which enable operations to be more effective, and create a positive experience for both the CSR and the customer."

The all-new Plantronics Customer Service Solutions include:

Cutting-Edge Design

  • Brand new, stylish, and ergonomic design

Custom Noise Canceling Microphones

  • Next-generation, noise-canceling microphone
  • Flexible boom with positioning guides

Superb Audio

  • Wideband audio with SoundGuard® technology

Comfort and Convenience

  • Adjustable fit with all-day comfort
  • Quick Disconnect™ feature provides walkaway convenience

Robust and Reliable

  • Proprietary material and construction for unparalleled robustness

Integration with Softphones

  • Plantronics technology that captures and reports on key call events

Call Control

  • Easy, at-your-fingertips access to call functions (Plantronics DA-80, DA-90 only)

Noise @ Work and antistartle, G616 Compliance

  • Help achieve compliance with legislated regulations to protect your CSRs

Firmware Updates

  • Firmware updates that aid in inventory management through Plantronics Hub or in early 2015 through Plantronics Manager Pro

Extraordinary Service

  • Industry-leading global service and support

Pricing and Availability
The new EncorePro 540 (convertible) and Encore 530 (over-the-ear) models are immediately available. EncorePro 510/520 (dedicated over-the-head monaural and binaural models) will be available in both noise-canceling and voice tube versions in December. The DA-80 USB Digital Audio Processor will ship in December with additional models following a short-time later. Visit www.plantronics.com/contactcenter for information and pricing.

About Plantronics
Plantronics is a global leader in audio communications for businesses and consumers. We have pioneered new trends in audio technology, creating innovative products that allow people to simply communicate. From unified communication to Bluetooth® headsets to gaming solutions, we deliver uncompromising quality, an ideal experience, and extraordinary service. Plantronics is used by every company in the Fortune 100™, as well as 911 dispatch, air traffic control and various mission-critical applications for those on the frontline. For more information, please visit www.plantronics.com or call (800) 544-4660.

Plantronics is a registered trademark of Plantronics, Inc. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Plantronics is under license. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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