No 2. Call recording - the Do's and Don'ts.

by Niels Kjellerup. Editor 25.10.00; updated 17.01.08

Why are Calls recorded?

The obvious answer is: " To document what happened in the call and the outcome". Historically banks, trading rooms & 999-services have recorded calls. But as call centres are becoming the key part of most organisations interaction with its customers the need to know what's going on in the calls have grown. Digital technology now ensures that not only are calls recorded, but the workstation screen action is captured along side the call. The digitalisation of calls allows for easy storage and for integration with CRM software ensuring the call ends up in the files where they are needed, ie The customers file, the reps file as documentation. This makes obsolete the cumbersome use of  analog recording systems. For a modern recording system to work at all, it needs to be CTI enabled so it integrates with both both the Voice and the Data system. Sounds easy but is often a major investment.

The Business Case for Digital Recording System ?

To cost justify a digital recording system a business case needs to be built which translates into Cost Savings and improved performance, preferably measured in terms of increased revenue. We're not looking at situations when it's a legal requirement to be able to document calls - probably soon we'll see that all Government bodies will be required to record, as more and more information is provided by phone or internet to the citizens. 

The first question to ask is - What are the desirable Call Outcome upon which the livelihood of the Call Centre depends?  Is it sales ? Is it conflict resolution? Is it providing the right information to the right customer? Up selling, cross selling ?  You're probably already in trouble because you haven't got well defined success criteria for what constitutes a Valuable Call Outcome (VCO). If that is so, you need to go back and  a re-think the vision and why your call centre exists in the first place. You're probably running a Call Centre focussed on producing as many calls as possible at the lowest cost regardless of call outcome. ( go back and read more about your situation here).

The second question becomes - how can we use call recording to produce more VCO's?

By using the actual calls to identify areas of strength and weakness in each reps skill-set and having a training and coaching program productivity measured in terms of VCO can be targeted for major improvement. But to do that you also need 1) Agreement by staff on guidelines on how recorded calls are to be used and what these guidelines are, 2) A training program that ensures the call evaluators have uniform standards on which call evaluations are based & 3) An outline of well defined Valuable Call Outcomes, so everybody knows and understands what is needed and wanted.

The Do's of call recording -

  1.  Develop a strong business case of what the recording system will achieve in terms of added revenue , improved productivity and ROI. remember to include the CTI investment necessary.

  2. Build a detailed Monitoring &  Call Evaluation program which inspires everyone to focus on value creation.

  3. Use the Call recording software to share 'good calls' with managers outside the call centre, feedback on marketing campaigns, sales results. Remember digitally recorded calls can be sent as Emails.

  4. Ensure the Call recordings become part of the Customers CRM system, including the screen capture.

The Don'ts of call recording -

  1. Start recording calls over the top of the staff without clear guidelines or programmes for the use.

  2. Use recording to comply with a ISO 9002 program on quality assurance. It won't work except allow you to sign the item off. recording and listening to 2% of calls is not a way to improve VCO's. Know call qualities you're listening for before doing call evaluations.

  3. Use recordings of calls as a means of intimidating employees. Will only  increase staff turnover and ensure your good producers leave first..

  4. Use call recording to control rather than improve staff. Use it as evidence for dismissals and disciplinary action. ( You are heading straight for the Galley Slave mentality and soon your call centre becomes Toxic).


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