1. Why record calls?
Call recording is used for a number of different reasons. It can help a company comply with regulations, prove compliance, pass legal controls, provide evidence of a business transaction, resolve disputes with customers, validate facts, support employee coaching, training or assessment, and ensure customer quality assurance.
In the case of resolving a dispute, when a company has a call recording system in place, it creates three outcomes for any customer dispute:
In the case of employee coaching, training or assessment, call recording and analysis allows the remote observation of:
2. Is call recording legal for ROCKET coaching?
Yes. The interception, recording and monitoring of telephone calls is governed by a number of different pieces of legislation. In the UK these include the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ("RIPA”), Telecommunications Lawful Business Practice, Interception of Communications Regulations 2000 ("LBP Regulations”), the Data Protection Act 1998, the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999, and the Human Rights Act 1998. According to the Data Protection Act 1988, in order to record a call where the identity of either party involved in the call can be identified, you need to:
3. Is call recording ethical for ROCKET coaching?
Yes. The law states there is a clear distinction between what is and is not ethical when recording calls. If all parties involved in the call are aware that your company is in the habit of recording calls for specific purposes (such as coaching, customer service or dispute resolution) and the call is used internally, or with external coaches bound by nondisclosure agreements, or shared with the customer in question, there are no ethical issues.
It is unethical for a competitor to bug your offices or wiretap your telephone lines to learn your commercial secrets. By virtue of this example, the competitor was not a party in the original telephone call, nor would they have notified you that the call was being recorded. UK law rightly makes such third party interception, where neither party to the call knows that the call is being recorded, illegal.
4. Do I need to let people know I am recording my telephone conversation on a private home phone?
Yes. The relevant law, RIPA, does not prohibit individuals from recording private calls as long as the recording is for their own use. Recording without notification is prohibited where the contents of the communication will be made available to a third party, i.e. someone who was neither the caller or sender nor the intended recipient of the private communication, such as a sales manager or coach. If you intend for calls from a home phone to be used for coaching purposes, always inform the other party your calls are recorded for quality and training purposes (as part of your introduction to the call, or as part of your literature to them).
5. Do I need to let people know I am recording my telephone conversation on a company phone?
No, provided you are not intending to make the contents of the communication available to a third party. If you are, you will need to inform the other party that your calls are recorded for quality and training purposes. You can do this in your personal introduction to the call, as part of your literature to them, or as text in your signature. Where calls are recorded for use in a company coaching programme, see paragraph 7 below.
6. Can a business or other organisation record my phone calls?
Yes, for reasons relevant to a business as defined by the LBP Regulations:
7. Do companies need to tell people they are recording a call?
Yes. Advertisements that invite inbound calls, whether the advertisement appears in print, on television or radio, frequently carry a message to the effect that "calls may be recorded for monitoring and quality purposes". Notices may be given in literature, terms and conditions, email footers, letterheads or on websites or other media visible to customers, and construed as a reasonable attempt to inform the other party. For example, even Ofcom itself does not give an announcement that calls may be recorded, because they advertise it on their website in these words: "Please note that calls to the Contact Centre may be monitored or recorded”. This approach satisfies the requirement for inbound and outbound calls.
8. Can a customer access my company’s recordings of them?
Yes. Customers have a legal right to apply to be given a copy of any recordings you make of them. The Data Protection Act provides the right to apply to organisations which hold personal information about you, using a 'subject access request’. This applies to private and public organisations.
9. How long will my call recording be stored?
A minimum storage period for call recordings sometimes applies by industry. For example, the FCA policy document suggests three years be required by law in the financial services industry, where failure to deliver call recordings on request can result in litigation. Companies in industries with no official storage rules typically choose a period that makes sense for their usage of the recordings. A typical ROCKET customer may choose to keep the vocal recordings for three months, but retain the skills score data extracted from those calls for several years to allow for a longitudinal analysis of individual and teams skill development.
10. Factors in the growth of commercial recordings
Several factors have contributed to the growing practice of recording telephone conversations in the workplace. Within the financial services and some professional services or legal firms it has become widely accepted, even where it is not a regulatory requirement. The growth of contact centres has brought significant expansion in the amount of business being carried out via telephone. The need to ensure customer satisfaction, to train and supervise contact centre and sales staff to achieve quality targets, and keep a record of what was said in the event of a subsequent dispute or a need for the usage of voice analytics, have led to the widespread monitoring, recording and storage of calls.
11. Excerpts from Government Legislation
Where organisations desire to record phone calls, the rules under which they do so have been set by the Privacy of Messages condition of two telecoms class licences: the Self-Provision (SPL) and Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences. The most fundamental requirement of this condition is that every reasonable effort is made to inform all parties that a telephone conversation will be recorded. An extract of the Privacy of Messages condition of the Self-Provision (SPL) and Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences states:
Ofcom provided an interpretation of the Privacy of Messages condition of the Self-Provision (SPL) and Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences in its "Explanatory Guide to the Self Provision Licence (SPL) and the Telecommunications Services Licence (TSL)” document, which states:
12. What are the laws for recording face-to-face conversations?
In March 2016, the FCA (which governs the financial services sector) published a discussion paper suggesting the legal requirement to record all client conversations by telephone should be extended to include face-to-face discussions. However, minutes from an FCA roundtable meeting on the implementation of Mifid II showed that face-to-face meetings would not be added to the new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II) rules introduced across all EU nations in January 2017.
Though not mandated by legislation in the financial services sector, workers in that sector and any industry may opt to record face-to-face sales conversations to the extent that local jurisdictions permit. For example, in the United States, 38 states have “single-party” consent laws where anyone can record face-to-face conversations without the other party's consent. In the other 12 states, the customer must be informed of the recording orally or in print literature.
In most countries, face-to-face conversations are entitled to privacy unless held in a public or corporate setting where a “reasonable expectation of privacy” does not exist. Because there is no expectation of privacy in a public lobby, reception area, stairwell, conference room, production floor or office with the door open, recording conversations in these settings is legally permitted.
This freedom to record face-to-face and public dialogue is what allows students to make recordings of university lecturers, or allows members of the public to post recordings made in the home, street or workplace to social media outlets.
Businesspeople may legally record face-to-face meetings, as long as the recording device is visible, the act of recording is evident, and notice is given using one of the methods described on this page.
Salespeople who want to be absolutely certain a customer knows the conversation is being recorded should tell them, but we don't recommend making the topic a major part of the conversation lest it distract from the main reason for the meeting. Two simple approaches are to say, "John, I'll be using my smartphone as a secretary today, so I don't miss anything you say" or "John, just so you know, my phone calls and customer meetings are recorded as part of our commitment to quality and coaching. It also means I won't miss anything you tell me, because I can refer to it later. So tell me about..."