Any company offering telephone customer service or telephone selling should consider recording its telephone conversations with customers. Appropriate use of the recordings will not only drive business profits but also improve customer satisfaction.
Small and medium-sized businesses are often reluctant to record customer telephone calls. Their doubts concern the very need to record the calls, lack of time to replay them and the legality of call recording. Let’s take a look at them, one by one.
Why record customer calls?
Recordings are useful in three key areas:
- customer service efficiency,
- telemarketing performance,
- conflicts with customers.
Low customer service efficiency
in other words, customer service that is too slow and often requires too many interactions could be caused by a range of factors, the most important of them being poor communication skills of employees, lack of product knowledge and procedural knowledge, insufficient decision-making authority and inappropriate communication tools (such as lack of call queuing). Poor service level affects customer loyalty, resulting in lower sales. On top of that, we face excessive labour costs in the customer service department (not enough issues handled within a specified period) and… poor employee motivation.
Call recording helps improve customer service efficiency in a number of ways:
- identification of problems – listening to recordings allows to check why few issues are resolved right away.
- presentation of “challenging moments” to employees during training. Many consultants need to see specific examples of poor customer service behaviours to understand the problem.
- creating good practice – recordings allow to develop schemes that improve customer service, for example to identify a set of information that an employee has to obtain from a customer who reports an issue.
largely depends on the design of the script and agent communication skills. Recording analysis is the basic tool for the assessment of script effectiveness and development of agent competences.
Call recording helps improve the performance of telemarketing by:
- assessing script effectiveness – if conversation flow tends to be obstructed or the customer tends to be “blocked” in the same part of the script, poor script design could be the culprit,
- development of agent communication skills – recordings are an excellent input for training. Guidance based on examples is much better absorbed by agents than pure theory.
Resolving conflicts with customers
goes smoothly if we have recorded the calls. It happens that the company is to blame, but very often customers forget the arrangements made during their earlier conversations with a company representative. Listening to the call often ends even with the customer apologising, and in any case it helps resolve the dispute in a short time.
How to make effective use of the recordings?
Imagine a situation where we aim to improve first call resolution. We strive to handle customer complaints quickly, so we listen to recordings for hours, and it can even take us several days to finally collect the input for consultant training… Does it make any sense?
To use the recordings in an effective manner, tagging is an essential tool. Tagging of call recordings means assigning tags to pre-determined points of the conversation. These are the points that we find particularly important, for various reasons. It could be a request to provide personal data, asking for permission to send an offer or informing the customer that he/she needs to incur certain expenses. In order not to distract the agent from the conversation by tagging, the tags are automatically attached to the recording once the agent fills out certain fields in the script, in those systems that offer online script builders, such as Focus Contact Center.
Listening to tagged recordings is quick. You can choose to listen to selected key fragments, which not only makes the analysis of recordings faster but also allows to thoroughly examine any potential problems with customer communication.
When we use recordings for employee performance assessment, our judgment must be based on unbiased criteria applicable to the entire agent team. Quality Assurance, also available on the Focus Contact Center platform, is an excellent tool for that purpose. A line manager listens to randomly picked recordings of calls handled by an employee (most effective when tags are used), enters the values of individual criteria in a form, and then, for each replayed call, the average rating is automatically calculated and displayed in the recording database. Such individual reviews allow to identify the weaknesses of each employee as a starting point for improvement.
Listening to recordings by tags – Focus Contact Center (on the right-hand side it is possible to assign an overall rating to each recording using a set of criteria – Quality Assurance)
Is call recording legal?
Two rules of the Polish law are the most relevant to the regulation of customer call recording. They are:
- Article 267 of the Penal Code (of 6 June 1997) which permits us to record conversations in which we participate in person (meaning that company representatives take part in the conversation). The assumption used here is that by recording the call, we do not obtain any information that is not intended for us – the customer has shared the information himself or herself, so the information is intended for our company. Certainly, recording of a conversation in which we do not participate without the consent of its participants is penalised.
- The Act on personal data protection (of 29 August 1997), which obligates companies to inform their customers about call recording. This is due to the fact that customer data is subsequently retained by the company. This includes information shared during the call or even the voice itself, which allows to identify the persons talking.
Recordings are worthwhile for improving customer communications
Recordings are an excellent tool to improve customer service quality, speed up customer service, drive sales and facilitate the resolution of disputes. With the tagging functionality, the time needed for the analysis and use of the recordings is minimised. An appropriate phrase used during the conversation is sufficient to make call recording legitimate The conclusion is that it is really worthwhile to implement call recording in the telephone communication channel with your customers.