How GDPR Impacts American Contact Centers

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Sep 10, 2018 10:58:11 AM

In the digital economy, there is perhaps no commodity as valuable as data, so robust safeguards must be implemented to ensure this information is protected. Two years ago, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union approved the most sweeping changes to EU and UK data protection laws in over two decades—the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The regulation is designed to protect the data of individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area and will impact any organization conducting business with much of Europe. Even multinational companies based in the United States with contact centers that handle calls from the EU and UK must comply with the GDPR or face significant fines.gdpr-contact-center-1024x580

What is the GDPR?

Social media companies, financial firms, retail giants, government agencies, healthcare organizations, and numerous other services rely on collecting, analyzing, and storing personal data. This data includes names, mailing addresses, contact info, IP addresses, credit card information, bank account numbers, HIPAA records, and information regarding the things we buy and even the websites we visit. And a lot of this information is contained within call recording systems.

Prior to passage of the GDPR, the 1998 Data Protection Directive guided each of the 28-EU member states in enacting their own disparate data protection laws. The GDPR standardizes these data protection laws while imposing stringent regulations on how personally identifiable information is controlled and processed. It declares that organizations engaged in data collection must gather it under strictly defined conditions, safeguarding it from misuse and exploitation while respecting the rights of data owners. The reforms also cover breach notifications, opt-in consent, and transferring data outside the EU.[1]

Penalties for Non-Compliance.

Under the terms of the GDPR, organizations that fail to comply with the laws face maximum fines as high as €20 million or 4% of total global revenue, whichever is larger. While this stiff penalty is reserved for egregious violations such as insufficient customer consent, companies can still be hit with large penalties for failing to keep updated records, failing to inform proper parties of data breaches, and failure to conduct impact assessments. Both data controllers and processors must ensure they are in compliance to avoid penalties.[2]

Call Recording

Companies in the U.S. and all around the world rely on the call recording industry for quality assurance, training, security, and compliance. When these calls occur with an individual based in the EU or UK, recorded voice data must be gathered and stored in accordance with the GDPR. Failure to do so could open the offending party to heavy fines.

Choosing Proper Call Recording Software

OrecX designs the world’s most open and affordable call recording solution. We’ve developed our voice recording software to promote adherence to the GDPR. The software is offered in both open-source and commercial applications, which can be easily downloaded and installed in just 30 minutes. It’s fast, simple, and free of implementation costs. Visit our webpage to learn more about our innovative solutions for contact centers.


[1] https://www.gdpreu.org/

[2] https://www.gdpreu.org/compliance/fines-and-penalties/

Do's & Don'ts for Selecting a Call Recorder

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Sep 6, 2018 11:55:16 AM

Organizations of all sizes today employ call recording software to help optimize sales, service and compliance; and when chosen and managed correctly, these solutions can be invaluable in this regard. However, call recording software is not always selected or utilized properly, and when this happens, its effectiveness can be significantly stifled.Do's and Don'ts

Do This:
  • Uncover what business challenges you are trying to solve…
    • Customer experience
    • PCI/HIPAA compliance
    • Dispute resolution
    • Order verification
    • Agent performance
  • Consider everyone in the organization who can benefit from call recording…
    • CEO/business owner
    • VP customer service/care
    • Call center manager
    • Compliance manager
    • Sales manager
    • Marketing manager
  • Decide how many of your physical locations you want to record. Some recording solutions don’t support multi-site.
  • Consider the vendor’s expertise with companies your size and with businesses in your industry.  The more they know about your specific business issues, the more they can help customize a solution to your specific needs. If you’re a small business, e.g., you ought to look for a vendor that specializes in SMBs. Same goes for larger companies.

  •  Uncover any hidden costs – Some vendors charge per seat or per user costs.  However, these do not include the costly implementation support you’ll need for the install, and ongoing professional services support you will require for customization, etc.
  • Ask about pricing flexibility – Does the vendor offer monthly subscriptions, e.g.? This way you can avoid a large upfront capital expense.

Don't Do this

  • Don't decide to purchase call recording without carefully considering all the ways in which it can be used and for whom.
  • Don’t just consider how call recording can be used by your organization today.  Consider your anticipated growth and how you might need it down the road. Will you need multi-site capabilities, will it scale to more users, does it support mobile call recording?

  • Don’t forget to free up select staff’s workload to manage the system – if necessary.  Some solutions require no maintenance.

  • Don’t choose your vendor/solution without first trying it out.  Ask for a short trial period so you can see how the software works in your own environment. If they refuse, find a different vendor.

  • Do not assume the software will automatically support your compliance needs.  For example, to help with PCI Compliance, some recording systems will pause the recording while sensitive personal information/data is being discussed.  Not all solutions do this, however.  You need to be sure the one you choose supports all of your regulatory needs – e.g. PCI, HIPAA, Telemarketing Sales Rule, GDPR, MiFID II…
  • Do not simply expect the software to easily mesh with your existing environment/systems.  Check to see if the vendor has verified integrations with your PBX vendor or your CRM system, for example.  An open API will ensure interoperability with any application.

Free 30-day Call Recording Trial

Call Recording for BPOs and Call Center Outsourcers

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Aug 15, 2018 11:35:00 AM

As a BPO or call center outsourcer, you are potentially taking over a role your clients cannot manage on their own or don’t want to handle any longer.  Therefore, you are under enormous pressure to over-perform each and every day or you risk losing business.BPO ladies

With the help of the right call recording, screen recording and quality monitoring software in your arsenal, you stand a far greater chance of satisfying (if not wowing) your clients.  But first you need to pick the right solution(s) to fit your specific business requirements, which can be dramatically different from other types of businesses.

Here are the top 18 call recording features to consider when purchasing a recording solution, if you are a BPO or call center outsourcer:

Call and Screen Recording

  • Centralized management of all recording data (voice and screen)
  • Multi-tenancy so you can manage multiple clients independently, yet simultaneously
  • Precise search querying to find the exact call recording you need to prove compliance, share with your client, settle a dispute and so on
  • Scalable to thousands of seats (whether through one logger/server or by linking multiple devices)
  • Open platform (i.e. open API) so you can easily integrate the recorder with your clients’ existing applications (CRM, ERP, SFA)
  • Compliance-ready – Ensure the system has masking or muting capabilities to protect personally identifiable information for PCI-DSS and HIPAA
  • Subscription-based, affordable pricing so you can activate and terminate licenses when necessary to support your dynamic project workload
  • Same-day installation so you can be up and running immediately in support of your new accounts; this serves as a competitive differentiator for your business

Quality Monitoring

  • Customizable evaluation forms so you can tailor them to your clients’ specific and varying requirements
  • Custom coaching agreements commensurate with specific agent performance goals
  • Calibration tables to standardize service level expectations and measure quality across sites, teams and agents
  • Ability to attach agent evaluations to voice and screen recordings so they can hear what went right and wrong
  • Report filtering (e.g. by date, group, department, agent, supervisor, etc.) so you can extract meaningful intelligence to improve performance
  • Detailed reporting including form-level summaries, section-level details and question-level details
  • Standalone product or it includes simple and multiple integration points to the call/screen recorder
  • Open API so you can pull data from your CRM system into the quality monitoring system
  • Open file exporting to share reports and recordings with agents and clients
  • KPI tracking to measure service level, customer satisfaction, average handle time, calls handled per hour, first call resolution, adherence to protocol and others

Free 30-day Call Recording Trial

What to Expect from a Call Recording Solution

Posted by Craig McCue on Aug 6, 2018 11:10:00 AM

Selecting a call recording solution for your business's needs typically involves reviewing several recording products that do a lot of the same things. All of these products will all allow you to:What to Expect in a call recording solution

  • Record 100% of calls or just a subset of calls
  • Record on-demand
  • Search for calls based on certain criteria
  • Achieve compliance recording with regulations (PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, MiFID II, etc.)

The list of common features among recording platforms goes on. These are merely a few basic functions you should absolutely require with your recording solution. While these common features will meet a firm's basic recording needs, we rarely/never see a firm whose recording needs are just basic.

Your needs are unique, and therefore, you should expect more from your recording solution. As part of your search for a recording platform, be sure to get beyond all the common basic features and get to the points that are important to you. Our experience tells us that, among other things, you should also expect the following from your recording platform:

  • More security of your voice data, including OWASP Level 2 security
  • More flexibility and more access to your voice data
    • The ability to leverage voice data with other enterprise data and not have the data locked away in a proprietary recording file format
    • The ability to customize your voice data/speech analytics and leverage the best speech analytics platform for your needs
  • REST API (with access to the ENTIRE platform)
  • More versatility around your deployment strategy - choose your  preferred hardware, operating system (Linux or Windows) and database, as well as the ability to export recordings in open file formats
  • Quick deployment methodology that will have you up and recording in a few minutes, not weeks (or months in some cases)

Making sure these points are covered as part of your search for a recording platform will give you peace of mind that your recording solution offers the security and flexibility that will allow you to meet both your current and future recording requirements.

Questions to Ask Recording Vendors

  • Is the solution designed to address my specific industry and regulatory requirements?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Who are some of your similar customers?
  • What makes your business/solution unique?
  • What is your innovation roadmap?
  • What features come with the product and which are add-ons?

Free ebook:  How to Select the Right  Call Recording Solution

Growing Prominence of the SIPREC Call Recording Standard

Posted by Craig McCue on Jul 30, 2018 12:11:25 PM

Companies record calls for a several reasons – Regulatory Compliance, Improve Agent Performance, Improve Customer Satisfaction, Dispute Resolution. The growing number of use cases for call recording has companies expanding their use to more and more departments, and in some cases, throughout their entire organization. With this expansion, companies are looking for a more efficient, scalable and cost-effective way to record calls - SIPREC is the answer. 

Session Initiation Protocol Recording, (SIPREC) was created by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) as a framework for session border controller (SBC) and call recording vendors to use when establishing an active recording session and reporting the metadata of that session.

According to IETF:

The Session Recording Protocol (SIPREC) working group was chartered to define a SIP-based protocol for controlling a session (media) recorder.

Session recording is a critical requirement in many business communications environments such as call centers and financial trading floors. In some of these environments, all calls must be recorded for regulatory and compliance reasons. In others, calls may be recorded for quality control, business analytics, or consumer protection. Recording is typically done by sending a copy of the media to the recording devices. The working group determined requirements and produced a specification for a protocol that manages delivery of media from an end-point that originates media, or that has access to it, to a recording device. This standard protocol – SIPREC – reduces the complexity and cost of providing such recording services. 

There are two key components of SIPREC interactions:

1. Session Recording Client (SRC) – the SBC or PBX
  • Avaya, Cisco, Broadsoft, Metaswitch, Ribbon/Genband, Oracle, Sonus are some of the telephony platforms that support SIPREC.

2. Session Recording Server (SRS) – a call recording platform

  • OrecX is the most widely used SIPREC call recorder.

SIPREC interacts between the SRC & SRS. The SRC establishes the recording session with the SRS and passes the media streams and the metadata to the SRS. SIPREC has several deployment models (Enterprise, Service Provider, Cloud - all supported by OrecX). The basic SIPREC call flow is seen in the diagram below:

SIPREC call flow







Benefits of SIPREC:

  • Highly efficient (configure only the traffic you need to record, not the entire VLAN)
  • Extremely scalable (thousands of concurrent calls on a single server)
  • Auto-provisioning of users (much easier to administrate)
  • Lower cost of ownership

OrecX has deployed SIPREC to over 300 clients, with some exceeding 100,000 recordable users.

Contact OrecX today if you are considering SIPREC or want more information on SIPREC.

 SIPREC vs. Packet Interception

Call Recording Laws Around the World - Updated and Current

Posted by Kevin Levi on Jul 20, 2018 12:16:19 PM

Any organization which employs call recording software must be aware of the legal requirements that govern the use of such tools. Call recording laws differ among geographic regions. Failure to comply with these legal restrictions could result in severe penalties, both financial as well as reputational.

Here is a brief summary of laws in several countries:

USA - 12 states in the U.S. require full consent from all parties on a call in order to lawfully record. The remaining states do not. Click here to view a state-by-state chart on state-level call recording laws.

Acceptable Forms for Notification about call recording include:

  • Verbal (oral) notification before the recording is made.
  • Prior verbal (oral) or written notification of all parties to the telephone conversation.
  • An audible beep tone repeated at regular intervals during the call.

UK and European Union - Call recording laws in the U.K. (which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the 28 member countries in the European Union (EU) differ from those in the U.S. The UK and EU now follow two strict privacy laws which include mandates and guidance for recording calls:

  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
  • MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II)

 MiFID II and GDPR banner

 Australia - You cannot record.

Canada - You can record but need consent.

Hong Kong - You can record with consent.

India - You can record but consent is unclear.

Japan - You can record but consent is required.

New Zealand - You can record. No consent required.

Singapore - You can record. Consent is unclear.

RomaniaYou can record. Consent is unclear.

Call Recording Laws ebook

Why Do I Need to Add Speech Analytics to My Call Recording Software?

Posted by Kevin Levi on Jul 2, 2018 2:31:49 PM

Written by Call Finder

Call recording is used by companies in a wide range of industries to improve customer experience, measure agent performance, ensure compliance, monitor marketing and sales efforts, settle customer disputes, and the list goes on. But call recording is only part of the quality assurance equation. Businesses that understand this are now taking their call monitoring strategies a step further by implementing speech analytics to automatically categorize and analyze recorded calls.CLF Search Highlights 3 cropped

The Business Value of Call Recording with Speech Analytics

Incorporating call recording that is combined with speech analytics technology into daily operations provides enormous value to the business overall, as well as to the many departments within a company that field incoming calls, which hold a wealth of valuable business information. When a business adopts a speech analytics solution, they have access to the following:

  • Call recordings of every conversation in real time.
  • Call categorization, based on search definitions and the content of the call recording, along with the context of the conversation taking place between an agent and customer.
  • Scorecards and reports with metrics on agent script compliance, agent team performance, regulatory compliance, and more.
  • Insights for agent performance evaluations for training and coaching sessions.

Here are some specific ways speech analytics can add value to a business.

Speech Analytics Increases Efficiency

While many quality assurance metrics can be acquired through reliable call recording software, manually listening to every single phone call is both time-consuming and costly, especially for companies that have call centers with hundreds (or thousands) of agents. Realistically, only a handful of calls can be reviewed by call center managers, which unfortunately doesn’t provide a full profile of how their customers view the brand, nor does it provide an accurate picture of their agents’ performance.

The addition of speech analytics provides a more efficient and comprehensive approach to gaining business and customer insights through keyword searches and dynamic reporting.  A speech analytics solution scans thousands of phone conversations to quickly access in-depth business intelligence contained within each conversation. This provides companies with direct insight into the customers’ experiences, their agents’ performance, customer satisfaction levels, purchase patterns, customer loyalty and retention factors, etc. 

Improve Customer Experience with Speech Analytics

Speech analytics software allows customer service managers to review metrics that indicate how individual agents and entire teams are performing. Because the company using speech analytics chooses the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), it is crucial to take the time to pinpoint which words and phrases that business wants the software to find in order to yield the specific type of intelligence the business seeks to obtain and understand.

Some keyword examples for customer metrics could be negative or positive phrases, such as “I need to speak to a manager”, “Cancel my account” or “You have been very helpful.” The software flags those calls for further review so that managers know what’s working, or not working, in their agents’ customer interactions. It’s also important that the call recording software has the capability to record the customer and agent on separate channels (i.e. stereo recording) if the company wants to use call scoring.  Agent scorecards are extremely useful in comparing agents’ performance across various soft and hard skills, and pinpointing who needs more training or a reward for a job well done.

As a final similar note, to truly enhance your customers’ experience with your agents and your brand, a good speech analytics solution should be user-friendly and designed to easily be customized. It should also include training and ongoing support to ensure the solution is fully utilized to manage key business metrics and meet company goals.

The extent of business intelligence that becomes available once call recording with speech analytics is in place will improve operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience, improve the bottom line, and play a key role in keeping a company on a course for continued growth.

Questions to Ask Call Recording Vendors

Posted by Kevin Levi on Jun 26, 2018 12:44:19 PM
Call recording software and quality monitoring software can bring tremendous value to any contact center and/or enterprise, but how do you know which vendor/solution to choose - or better yet - which questions to ask? Right now there are over 100 call recording/quality monitoring vendors in the industry. Not all are created equal. You need a set of questions to ask each vendor to determine who's a contender and who's a pretender. Hands raised

Questions to Ask Yourself...

  • Does this vendor seem to really understand my unique business challenges, and does it have relevant experience it can speak to?
  • What do I primarily need this solution to help me with?
    Quality Assurance
    Regulatory Compliance
    Dispute Resolution
    Agent Training
    Order Verification
  • Do I want to capture all calls or merely a sampling of calls?
  • Am I considering the needs of all my constituents? Managers? Business users? Technical staff? Sales? Marketing? Product Development? Legal?
  • What is my budget? Do I have additional budget for implementation and support?
  • How many seats do I need?

Questions to Ask the Vendor...

  • Is the solution designed to address my specific industry and regulatory requirements?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Who are some of your similar customers?
  • What makes your business/solution unique?
  • What is your innovation roadmap?

Questions About the Product...

  • Is the solution designed primarily for my size/type of company?
  • Am I going to pay for features really designed for a different size organization?
  • Does this product support multi-site and multi-tenant capabilities in case I need them?
  • Can the solution scale to support my organization’s growth?
  • What does the implementation process look like? Does it cost anything?
  • What is required to manage and maintain the system?
  • How open and interoperable is the solution, given my current IT environment?
  • What capabilities does the solution have to support my regulatory and industry requirements (e.g. HIPAA, PCI-DSS, Telemarketing Sales Rule, TCPA, GDPR, MiFID II etc.)?
  • Does the solution come with all the functionality I need, or do I have to purchase separate modules for each business requirement?
  • Which PBX switches are supported?
  • Is there an open API to integrate to/from third party CRM, analytics, etc.?

11 Positions that Benefit from Call Recording

The 7 Roles that Benefit from Call Recording

Posted by Kevin Levi on Jun 1, 2018 12:10:05 PM

By recording your conversations with customers, you are generating an invaluable piece of intellectual capital, which you can use to assess the customer experience, ensure PCI and HIPAA compliance, resolve disputes, verify orders and even uncover critical sales and marketing intelligence. In fact, call recording can add value to almost every area of your business.

Here are the seven primary roles within an organization that benefit from call recording. For each job title, this piece will highlight how it is used and the value derived. Org chart of benefitors

  1. Call Center Agent: Reviews a sampling of his/her own customer interactions (voice and screen) to assess his/her own customer service performance and potentially uncover workflow trouble spots. Also reviews best-practice calls from top-performing agents to learn how to better perform in various situations. 
  2. Quality Supervisor: Reviews a sampling of calls per agent each month and fills out quality monitoring scorecards to rate various metrics, including first call resolution, proper greeting, resolution handling, politeness, up-selling, etc. The goal is to assess agents on skills and customer service performance, identify skills gaps and best practices, and assign training courses where necessary. 
  3. VP of Customer Service: Listens to a few calls each week just to keep his/her finger on the pulse of how well the company services customers and to also experience the voice of the customer. Also plays select segments of best-practice calls during team meetings to highlight peak performers and motivate all staff. 
  4. Call Center Manager: Receives and reviews daily customer service performance reports from the call recording system showing first call resolution, average handle time and other soft metrics like customer satisfaction, problem resolution, etc. With this insight, he/she can then direct quality supervisors to focus on specific skills areas and can also reward and/or incentivize supervisors and agents accordingly. The Manager also identifies and shares select, relevant calls with other departments.
  5. VP of Sales: He/she has the call center manager share specific interactions which provide meaningful sales intelligence, such as competitors' promotions. The VP of Sales also plays select calls at the start of each sales team meeting to motivate staff and enable salespersons to hear the actual voice of the customer. The call center manager also forwards periodic reports which detail the performance level of a new campaign or product/service to help guide future sales efforts.
  6. VP of Marketing:  He/she has the call center manager share specific interactions which provide meaningful marketing intelligence, such as how well a new promotion or feature is doing. The VP of Marketing also plays select calls at the start of each marketing team meeting to allow marketing staff to hear the actual voice of the customer. The call center manager also forwards periodic reports which detail the performance level of a new campaign or feature to help guide future marketing efforts.
  7. Compliance Officer: When a compliance infraction arises, the call center manager forwards the specific recording, and the Compliance Officer listens to it (and reviews the agent screen activity) to better understand what went wrong. He/she also listens to occasional calls - also forwarded by the call center manager - to assess how well specific compliance practices are being embraced within the call center agent's workflow. He/she can then use this intelligence to train supervisors and agents accordingly on relevant compliance procedures. 

There are certainly other roles within an organization which can benefit from listening to recorded customer calls, such as Product Marketing Managers, Produce Managers, Sales Trainers, etc.

ebook - Insights from 70+ Professionals  on Why Companies Record Calls










Are you Monitoring what your Debt Collectors are Saying?

Posted by Kevin Levi on May 30, 2018 10:56:55 AM

The regulatory environment for the collections industry worldwide doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for collections agencies. In the U.S., Canada and the UK, there are many laws and agencies overseeing your

  • U.S. Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Do Not Call List
  • Canada – Manitoba Consumer Protection Act, Collection Agency Act, Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, Collection Practices Act, Collection Agencies Act and Debt Collectors Act, Act Respecting the Collection of Certain Debts
  • United Kingdom – Administration of Justice Act (agencies fall under guidelines more than regulations and they are used to determine if the agency is fit to hold a credit license.)

paid in fullThe other aspect that makes your life at a collections agency difficult is all of the consumer-driven personal
lawsuits claiming the agency did not accurately introduce/represent themselves, or the agent was misleading in the information given about the debt. Other agencies may be sued over unprofessionalism and foul language.

What an agent can and can't say can be confusing. Here are some highlights of some of the primary stipulations many of these mandates state:

  • Agent must identify him/herself accurately and notify the consumer that he/she is a debt collector.
  • Agent must accurately disclose the name and address of the original collector.
  • Agent must notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt.
  • Agent must not falsely represent or implicate that the consumer committed any crime in order to disgrace the consumer.
  • Agent can’t use obscene or profane language.
  • Agent can’t mention legal action will be taken, unless the agency really plans to do so.

As a collections agency you need to ask yourself, “Are any of our agents violating even one of these laws?” If the answer is “yes”, then you need to find ways to better monitor your collections agents.

The easy answer to abiding by all of these regulations is to make sure your agents are doing what they are supposed to do. You can accomplish this with call recording software that will capture every single call your agents are involved in and store it for you to recall later if necessary.

You will be able to pull up any call regarding any person and can search through the database of recorded calls according to agent name, customer, phone number, time of day and so on. Search queries are customizable so you can be sure to get your hands on that very specific call you need to access to settle a dispute, demonstrate an issue to an agent, and so on.

A nice add on to compliance recording software is screen recording software which integrates with the call recorder to also capture the agent’s screen activity during every interaction. You will be able to hear their conversation with those you are collecting from and at the same time you can see what the agent is doing on their screen. You can easily identify compliance infractions or errors of any kind and quickly address them so no further violation occurs.

As the regulatory environment surrounding the collections industry continues to evolve, one thing will remain constant, and that is your need to monitor what is being said to customers. Therefore, recording and monitoring should become a permanent process in your firm. 

Compliance Recording AND Quality Monitoring ebook

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