Everything You Need to Know About Recording Phone Calls

a phone in an office

They say that knowledge is power. But in the business world, information is power. Your data, and how it’s interpreted and applied, is crucial for strategic decision making.

To get the most out of their data, businesses understand the importance of identifying the right KPIs to achieve specific strategic goals. They also know that useful data can come from a variety of sources, like the calls their employees make and receive every day.

Recording phone calls can unlock a treasure trove of useful data, but it can also create legal and operational vulnerabilities. Here we’ll look at everything you need to know about call recording and its effective implementation.

 

phone call headset

What is call recording?

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Call Recording is, as the name suggests, the process of recording inbound and outbound calls to leverage the information contained within the calls for strategic purposes. 

In virtually all use cases today, this process is automated and carried out by software that enables the recording of telephone conversations that take place over a phone network. It can be implemented within both PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or VoIP (Voice over IP) telecoms frameworks. 

Data is automatically collected and stored in a digital audio file format. The same software also enables users to retrieve, playback, share and store the call data from their recordings. Please note that call recording technology differs from Call Monitoring, which is more concerned with gathering data pertaining to the calls rather than the content of the calls themselves. 

 

downloading call data

How recording your calls
can benefit your business

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Call recording is popular among many different types of businesses, for a number of reasons. It’s fairly cost effective and easy to implement, and in most cases can be deployed within minutes. What’s more, it has the potential to collect large quantities of useful data which can be leveraged in line with key strategic and operational goals. 

Some of the most common applications of Call Recording include:

Quality monitoring 

In an increasingly competitive business landscape, enterprises of all shapes and sizes need to know that they’re consistently delivering value to their clientele. Call Recording is an efficient way of monitoring customer interactions to ensure that customer-facing staff members are delivering value.

It is also a means of ensuring that operational procedures are adhered to, and that phone operators remain “on message” without deviating from operational protocols in ways which might compromise the integrity of the brand.

Employee training and development

Call recording can be very useful when training employees at the point of onboarding and beyond. While employees may not relish the idea of hearing conversations with customers played back to them, reflecting on the data in recordings can yield useful insights.

Working together with their line managers, staff members can identify areas of strength within the call, thereby giving them confidence and self-belief. They can also identify areas in which they might still improve or how they could have handled the call differently.

Market research

Call recording can also be used to generate useful insights from customers when conducting market research. These kinds of In Depth Interviews, or IDIs, take place over the phone and can either be used as a substitute or supplement for exit polls. Insights are recorded over the phone and reviewed later. 

This data can be difficult to parse in an audio format, however, which is why businesses often choose to transcribe their call data, especially in this use case.

Expert network industry

The burgeoning Expert Network industry, and its clients, benefit a great deal from call recording. Expert networks provide guidance to businesses of all kinds when they have needs that cannot be met in-house. From the provider’s point of view, recorded calls provide a complete record of consultations, helping them to stay on the right side of compliance. And because the client has access to call data, they can ensure that they always have access to the insights that can benefit their businesses. 

Dispute resolution and risk management

Dispute resolution can be a difficult process for businesses, especially when dealing with unhappy customers. However, sticking to the facts and helping the customer to move away from knee-jerk emotional reactions can be critical to successful dispute resolution. 

Logging calls with difficult or unhappy customers can provide a clear record of good practice while also protecting both customers and staff members from “he said, she said” conjecture. 

Prevention of crime or misuse

Another important use case is when businesses suspect that a crime has been committed or company assets have been misused. In this instance, call recording may yield data that is pertinent to internal or criminal investigations.

 

judge's hammer

The legality of
call recording

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When it comes to personal use, pretty much anybody can record a private phone call. It’s when the contents of that call are distributed to third parties that complications arise. Needless to say, the legal ramifications of the use of call data for business are more complicated than those of private individuals. Even though the same laws apply to both.

In the post GDPR era, consumers and businesses alike are more cognizant than ever of the power and importance of personal data. Call Recording is perfectly legal, but there are strict legal guidelines that need to be followed to ensure that a business complies with regulatory procedures. 

There are a number of distinct pieces of legislation governing the recording of phone calls and the use/distribution of data from the same. These are:

  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (“RIPA”)
  • Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 (“LBP Regulations”)
  • Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Human Rights Act 1998

Do businesses need to disclose when calls are recorded?

Under UK law, businesses are not legally required to provide notification of call recordings if the call is being recorded for the purposes of crime prevention, maintaining national security, ensuring the proper use of the telecoms system or verifying a business transaction. In all other use cases, however, businesses need to inform all parties that the call is being recorded and verbal consent needs to be obtained. 

Your business’ obligations

The laws and legislation surrounding the recording of phone calls are complicated. However, there are certain principles which, when borne in mind, can make future compliance easy. By rule of thumb, your business will stay on the right side of compliance if it keeps the following in mind:

  • Data should be gathered for a specific purpose. And can only be used for that intended purpose. 
  • Customer data cannot be released to a third party without their consent, unless there is a legal reason to do so e.g. to prevent or detect a crime.
  • Your customers have a legal right to access any data you hold about them. Again, the only exception to this is if the data is used in the detection or prevention of criminal activity.
  • You cannot keep any personal data for longer than is necessary.
  • Customers have a legal right to correct any data you hold about them which is factually incorrect.
  • You are expected to have appropriate technical and operational measures in place to protect the security of customer data e.g. network firewalls and appropriate employee training.
  • Call data cannot be transferred outside the European Economic Area unless the customer it pertains to has given their consent.
  • Any other organisations that process call data (like transcription services) must be enrolled onto the Register of Data Controllers database, which is managed by the ICO. 

Your call data can be a valuable font of information. But it’s up to you to ensure that you have the technical and logistical infrastructure in place to ensure that it is used in a way that is legally compliant and ethically sound. 

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Take Note

Take Note is a UK-based transcription service with world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security and ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and On-Site Note Taking.