Call Recording in 2021: More Than Just Listening to Calls


Compliance Remains Key

Two, almost three, years on from the introduction of GDPR regulations, new challenges around voice recording compliance have emerged as a result of increased hybrid working across all types and size of business.

The current environment, with more home workers, threatens an organisation’s ability to deliver recording compliance in many ways. A business not only needs to manage policies and facilitate compliance, but also enforce regulations and communicate requirements to customers and colleagues across changeable working conditions. If staff are not able to follow processes properly – perhaps because their technology is inadequate, or they’re working in a new or distracting environment and simply forget – it will result in non-conformity.

For effective and manageable compliance, tools must deliver automation and a strong self-service element. Compliance managers need the flexibility to configure and manage both voice recording and playback policies, alongside the ability to identify areas of non-compliance, understand if anything has fallen through the gaps and know how to deal with exceptions. To be truly effective, policies need to match a business’ regulatory requirements and company policy, with staff educated and informed in how to adhere to those policies.

Automation of call recording rules for call flows and interactions can be established by compliance managers with guidance from departmental managers and customer service leads. This minimises errors because agents and customer-facing employees no longer need to manually inform callers of recording policies during a call. For example, if an incoming call is received on an employee’s personal DDI it may be prudent not to record this call compared to a call received on the customer service number. Similarly, only the outgoing calls made by a telemarketing agent may be set to record.

Self-service capabilities are also vital in giving managers the flexibility to adapt compliance rules according to roles or changes in job functions, for example, when asking an employee to start dealing with payments or other sensitive data. Without this ability to make quick changes, and to correct errors, a compliance solution is inadequate.

The compliance centre dashboard in our iCall Suite solution is a good example of how a visual summary of compliance data can help compliance managers to understand the effectiveness of their policies. This delivers granular visibility of all elements against the policies that have been put in place, with the ability to further edit and audit settings. Users can also check that credit card details have not been recorded and review a playback audit, which shows who has reviewed the calls. It instils confidence alongside the ability to prove to auditors that they are managing compliance in line with both regulations and their own company policy.

It should be noted that a new type of voice recording compliance has entered the frame since the rise of MS Teams and home working. Compliance is as much about internal company policy as it is about industry regulations. Compliance managers now also need to manage policies across multiple voice platforms in order to set permissions, manage storage of recordings, facilitate knowledge share across relevant remote workers and most importantly to consistently promote business continuity in line with company policy.

Isn’t call recording just for bigger businesses?

Although the quantity of data processed varies tremendously between an SMB and a larger enterprise, essentially the regulations are the same across all businesses. A larger company is likely to have a call centre, take payments over the phone, manage a large database and have their own company policies around data security, retention and storage, but they ultimately face the same challenges as a smaller business, just on a different scale.

Tollring has designed iCall Suite to offer flexible storage options in line with an increasing demand to choose where to store call recordings in line with company policy. Also offered is the ability to specify call recording retention policies as well as compliance policies to manage which calls are recorded. Such automated self-serve solutions are key for businesses for whom adhering to compliance can become unmanageable or resource-heavy.

The ability to specify storage and retention policies is particularly valuable for companies that need to comply with MiFIID II, for example financial institutions that need to keep call recordings for seven years. In such highly regulated industries, self-management enables users to override the public storage default from their service provider and specify a secure FTP server. This ensures all recordings sit within the allocated servers that are within their full control. Businesses can also direct how many call recordings they retain and for how long and specify the capture of either inbound or outbound calls, whitelist or blacklist numbers to be recorded and record specific numbers or departments.

However, Microsoft Teams breaks all the rules and is fast becoming an essential business tool irrespective of company size. Traditionally voice recording applications have been designed for one end of the market or the other. Teams, however, is suitable for any business, commoditising voice recording rather than it being a separate proposition only for those that have specific needs to review calls for disputes, quality, training or regulatory purposes. It has shown the value of recording voice as a call, a meeting, a Team-specific meeting and soon a transcription, to every Microsoft user in any business, which will transform the future of voice recording, making it a service for the masses.

Is there room for on-premise in 2021?

Leveraging the cloud is the only way to successfully manage hybrid working and the new challenges that accompany it. Technology in the cloud has become so advanced, with flexibility in data storage, robust security, accuracy in matching call recordings to users, sophisticated self-serve compliance, simplicity in subscription pricing models and infinite scalability. Microsoft Teams is a great example of how the world has embraced the cloud without even labelling it as a ‘cloud-based system’ – there is no doubt that cloud-based systems are the present and the future.

Although some industries currently have a preference for on-premise solutions, this is fast-changing and the benefits of the cloud are starting to far-outweigh those of on-premise solutions.

However, where organisations opt for on-premise solutions because of rigorous legacy company policy, there are now options to sign up to cloud services like iCall Suite that not only integrate fully with their systems but deliver the flexibility to choose the location of their recordings whether in the cloud or in their own data centre, to benefit from the accessibility and security of the cloud, whilst maintaining their on-premise system at the heart. iCall Suite delivers subscription-based cloud call recording and analytics for on-premise PBX phone systems such as Mitel MiVoice Business, E-LG iPECS and Avaya IP Office.

What analytics are available on call recording platforms?

Analytics evolves year on year and recent advances have simplified adoption for improved accessibility. Analytics are no longer a ‘nice to have’ value-add, and instead have become critical to business decision-making. COVID times and hybrid working have highlighted the importance of sharing the right business information at the right time with the right people, no matter where they are working from. Accessibility of this data has become critical for effective management and collaboration.

A strong API framework has become essential for any analytics provider, enabling businesses to meet their specific service levels through easy access to their KPI stats that drive business objectives. The ability to bring analytics into the greater business eco-system adds significant value to analytics tools.

What’s next for call recording and analtyics? 

Collaboration Analytics will become essential to businesses in 2021 as global hybrid working becomes the norm and customer experience becomes ever more a priority.

In February, Tollring is introducing its Analytics 365 solution, initially for Microsoft Teams, to provide an in-depth understanding of collaboration, customer engagement and staff wellbeing. Intuitive dashboards and in-depth reporting for users, departments and sites provide powerful insights across teams and collaboration both internally and externally with customers.

Alongside Analytics 365 collaboration analytics, Microsoft Teams recordings of meetings, Team-specific meetings and calls can be managed, both in terms of storage and permission access, in order to promote better accessibility of data and consistency of company policy for compliance.

The year ahead will also see an expansion in voice recognition and speech analytics which are now becoming accessible and affordable to all businesses. Tollring will be introducing its own Voice AI subscription service for its voice recording propositions, taking analytics to the next level in 2021.

As published in Comms Business.