This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes. We practically dread hearing this phrase in our personal lives, but it exists for good reasons. As consumers, call recording is for our protection. As call center operators, it’s not only for our protection, but it also creates a framework for improving performance of call center agents. To help you improve your call center performance, we’ve assembled a few best practices for call recording in call centers.
First, calls may be legally monitored or recorded as long as a business has permission from employees who participate on calls. In general, call recording can be complicated because of these regulatory compliance issues along with industry standards. In addition, several states require the permission of *all* participants on a call for the call to be legally monitored or recorded. For example, California law requires “two-party consent” in Penal Code § 632, making it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including private calls, without the consent of all parties. It gets even more complicated when your company makes interstate calls. As a result, it is worthwhile researching applicable federal and state laws for your businesses and consulting an attorney.
GOALS OF CALL RECORDING
- Regulatory compliance
- Capture lost details
- Review performance of call center agents
- Improve skills of agents (and quality of calls)
- Determine quality of sales leads
- Deliver a better customer experience
BEST PRACTICES IN CALL RECORDING
Get agent permission
Ask all your agents to sign a “notice and consent” document acknowledging that they were notified that their conversations may be “monitored and recorded.” Many call centers use an employment agreement to acknowledge that the employee understands that their business phone calls may be recorded or monitored.
Include the disclaimer for inbound and outbound calls
In most states, the caller must notify *all* parties before recording. Ensure that all parties are advised that they will be recorded (or monitored if you use whisper and barge). You must provide an option to opt out if they do not wish the call to be recorded or monitored.
Explain the WHY of legal issues to agents
Since compliance is complex, invest in teaching your agents the rules (based on what your particular compliance issues may be). Your training program should include written standards for call agents, explaining handling “personal identifiable” information(credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc.). For example, if you take credit information on calls, it is against PCI-DSS standards to EVER store the CVV2 number. If you’re recording calls, you must programmatically or manually stop voice recording when the customer provides the CVV2.
Use call scripts
It is helpful to use automated call scripts in your CRM. Training agents to follow call scripts and workflows helps minimize human error and reduce overall training requirements.
Focus on constructive criticism
When you review recordings with agents, stay positive as much as possible. With the positive intent, staff who deal with customer calls can be trained to improve, giving them better job satisfaction. Ask “How would you feel after that call if you were a customer?”.
Show agents real-life examples using teachable moments
A great way to help agents improve is to review good examples from prior calls. If an agent made a great save or a particular sales technique worked, use that to teach.
Develop soft skills
The way your agents speak to customers has a great impact on their response to your offering. Monitor what they say to customers and how they say it.
Develop skills-based call queues
Taking performance review one step further, you may want to allocate calls to the agents you find with specialized knowledge or skills. Then callers are routed to agents who can most effectively address their needs. You may find that you have agents that are better with selling, with service (e.g., troubleshooting), or with both.
Use the results to improve the entire customer experience
Don’t forget that the customer may be experiencing difficulty that isn’t agent-specific. Perhaps the marketing message is confusing, the product needs a new feature or the call center needs a new process. Listen not only for ways to improve our agent, but also your business. Note, the agents may offer suggestions on how to improve too.
Never “set it and forget it” (PS: call recording retention policy matters!)
Periodic review of both call recordings and your call recording practices is paramount. The rules change more often than you may like, and failing to comply or forgetting to review can be problematic. You should have a call recording retention policy. You also may need to monitor recording retention guidelines for compliance.
USEFUL LINKS FOR CALL RECORDING
California Two-Party Consent
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Telemarketing Sales Rule
In your research, you will find numerous articles, but none should be taken as proper legal advice. Consult a business law or corporate law attorney to set up your call recording guidelines properly and save you significant expense & headache.