Kevin B. Levi

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Is Call Recording Illegal Now?

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Feb 25, 2019 10:53:26 AM

Recording calls is not illegal in the U.S. or in most countries in the world. However, in many instances you need to first ask for consent. Some regions require notification by only the caller, while others (primarily in the U.S.) require 2-party consent - meaning everyone on the call must give their consent before a recording can start.sales-call-recording-map-0818-1024x713

Here are some highlights of laws in different regions:

  • In the U.S., 11 states mandate two-party consent: California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. The remaining states require single-party notification. Other laws such as PCI-DSS (credit cards) and HIPAA (health information) impost additional restrictions.
  • In India, there is no mandate on recording calls in general
  • In Australia, you can't record calls at all, according to The Federal Telecommunications Act 1979.
  • In New Zealand, you can record and no consent is required.
  • In England, the laws have recently become much more stringent with the advent of two new regulations: GDPR and MiFID II.

Learn more by downloading our comprehensive ebook.

ebook - Call Recording Laws Around the Globe

Speech Analytics Starts with Call Recording

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Jan 30, 2019 10:11:12 AM

Speech analytics technology requires quality audio going in for quality transcription and analytics to come out. This all starts with the call recording itself. The audio must be crystal clear or the transcription will be off and the resulting intelligence will be flawed. call-recording-audio

The clarity of the recorded call comes down to several factors, including the audio acquisition itself. Most call recording solutions capture telephone calls in mono format. This means both parties on the phone are recorded on the same channel. This can cause problems when it comes to transcription. The system cannot always ...

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Call Recording: An Agent Empowerment Tool

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Jan 23, 2019 11:54:55 AM

Call recording software most certainly provides value to call center managers, supervisors and even business users in the form of customer intelligence, agent performance, sales and marketing data, etc. The same holds true for agents themselves. Sure, it is true that many agents don't like the fact their customer interactions are being recorded. This means that their supervisor, team leader or even senior managers can listen to their calls, and who likes that?Call-center-agent

Looking at call recording from a different perspective, however, sheds a whole new light on its potential value to agents. For aspiring and self-aware customer service/sales agents, call recording can be one of their best utilized tools in terms of their overall job performance. 

These assertive and performance-conscious agents can directly benefit from call recording in a number of ways, including:

  • Performance - A self-starting, diligent agent can go back and review his/her past calls to review select portions of interactions to see what went right and what went wrong. For instance, if the agent has a customer cancel his/her order, perhaps there was something the agent could have said to retain the customer. Going back and listening to the call will help the agent understand what was/was not said so he/she can perform better in the future and perhaps avoid cancellations. 
  • Liability - With their calls being recorded, agents have a record to prove what they said and did on a particular call, should their actions ever come into question. Suppose a customer claims one thing was said and the agent knows that isn't correct. He/she can access the call to prove what really happened and avoid accountability.
  • Senior Management Visibility - Suppose a sales call center agent closes a big sale or miraculously retains a would-be cancelling customer. The agent is likely to receive praise from his/her supervisor. With the recorded call, he/she may also gain some visibility at the senior management level. Vice Presidents of Sales (as well as VPs of Customer Service and Marketing) have been know to listen to select call recordings to gain a pulse on what customers are saying about buying behaviors, product preferences, competitive offers and so on. They also can listen to these all-star sales calls, thus giving the agent senior level visibility which can go a long way toward his/her advancement in the company. What's more, these calls also have the potential to make their way into the best-practice calls library for training new agents. This provides even further visibility for the agent.

If you are a call center manager or supervisor, make sure your agents (sales or customer service) are leveraging their recorded conversations in these ways. It is sure to boost morale and improve their performance.

     Download "Critical Business Intelligence from Call Recording" ebook



13 Call Recording Reports You Should Be Generating

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Jan 4, 2019 11:30:19 AM

It's a new year and that means new opportunities! Put your call recording system to work for you. Here is a list of potential call recording reports to consider generating in your contact center to garner the customer intelligence you need. To take advantage of some of these report ideas, you need to integrate (easily with an open API) a third-party speech analytics solution with your call recorder. Together, you can uncover much more specific business insight. Report_Image

Focus of Call Recording Reports:

[Does not require speech analytics...]

  1. Calls resulting in an up-sell (use these as best-practice calls)
  2. Calls resulting in cancellation (identify root cause)
  3. Calls in which a credit card number was taken (ensure proper compliance)
  4. Repeat calls from the same customer in a given time frame (was their issue not correctly resolved?; ensure customer satisfaction)
  5. Calls with more than 2 transfers (are the agents not properly trained?)
  6. Calls lasting more than 10 minutes (is the agent having issues addressing the caller's needs? Is there a need for retraining?)

[Requires speech analytics...]

  1. Calls in which "not happy", "unhappy" or "ridiculous" was spoken by the caller (immediately identify at-risk customers)
  2. Calls in which "competitor" or the names of competitors was/were spoken by a caller (uncover competitive intelligence you can share with sales and marketing teams)
  3. Calls in which a specific promotion was mentioned by the caller (garner feedback to share with sales and marketing teams to assess promotion performance/success)
  4. Calls in which "never said", "never authorized" or "not true" were mentioned by the caller (identify calls in which a potential dispute could arise)
  5. Calls in which "privacy" or "private" was mentioned by the caller (identify data privacy concerns from customers to enrich your privacy policy)
  6. Calls in which the agent or caller's voice exceeded a set voice-pitch threshold (identify at-risk customers)
  7. Calls in which "don't understand", "do not understand" or "I'm confused" was mentioned more than once (identify agents in need of more training)
     Download "Critical Business Intelligence from Call Recording" ebook



OrecX Listed as One of Top 8 Open Source Call Center Software and Applications

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Dec 17, 2018 10:58:00 AM


Throughout the course of a given day, call centers agents make use of a seemingly endless number of solutions, tools and applications in an effort to better address the needs of the customers they work with. Generally speaking, a trend has emerged over the last few years that has seen the functionalities of these applications combined into single, seamless platforms. 

Yet there still exists (and there will likely always exist) a sizable user base that is searching for alternatives to traditional call center software, specifically independent applications to empower their efforts. They’re looking for solutions that support the way they like to work, rather than being forced to change the way they work to make up for certain absences in the technology they have in front of them.

For those people in particular, open source applications have emerged as one of the single best ways to enable businesses and their IT departments to not only customize and modify their tools and functions, but to transform and integrate them into the systems they’re already using to bring everything together.

NOTE: OrecX appears toward the end of the article in the section titled "The Best Open Source Call Recording".

Read the full article.

How are you Improving Service in 2019?

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Dec 12, 2018 11:39:09 AM

While customer self-service is a growing trend, and many business-to-consumer interactions are taking place more and more online (email, FAQs, online chat...), voice is still the number one communication channel. Additionally, customers are growing discontent with their vendors and suppliers and cite poor customer service as the reason.


Heading into 2019, you need to ask yourself, "What am I going to do different this year in my call center to improve my customer service levels?" You can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Recall Albert Einstein's quote about insanity. 

A good place to start in 2019, if you haven't done so already, is to consider deploying quality monitoring and screen recording software, so you can begin assessing your call center agents' performance when interacting with customers. These invaluable tools will provide much-needed visibility into the customer experience, so your call center managers can fix what isn't working. Suppose your agents are being slowed down by complex desktop navigation through the various customer service apps they must access. This is a correctable issue, but without this type of software, you would never know uncover the root cause of your increasing average handle time (AHT).

Here are some important customer service statistics to get you motivated to try something new in 2019:

  1. 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago (2017 State of Global Customer Service Report)
  2. 73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own. (Aspect Software)
  3. Companies lost $75 billion in 2017 from customers switching to competitors due to bad customer service. (Newvoicemedia.com)
  4. Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%-90% (Bain & Company)
  5. Customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020 (VisionCritical)
  6. U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. (Newvoicemedia.com)
  7. After one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again. (Newvoicemedia.com)
  8. It is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. (Harvard Business Review).
  9. After having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend. (Temkin Group)
  10. 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. (Harris Interactive)

Let 2019 be the year you hit your customer service numbers out of the park.


35 Call Recording Questions (infographic)


Selling CRaaS Yet (Call Recording as a Service)?

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Dec 3, 2018 11:37:55 AM

Cloud service providers (aka communication service providers) are becoming commonplace in business today as companies seek to migrate much of their data, storage and applications from premise to cloud. Service providers who can offer the broadest range of services have a better chance of attracting and retaining customers, as it is all about average revenue per user (ARPU). The more complete your portfolio is, the more competitive advantage you will have.5-tips-for-choosing-a-cloud-services-provider_0

The business world is also adopting cloud call recording technology at a similar rate. Most Fortune 10,000 companies already have it, but many small to medium-sized businesses do not. As a service provider, you have a grand opportunity to start offering call recording as a service (CRaaS) to your existing customers and to net-new ones. The added service will enable you to increase ARPU and expand your stickiness with current users and allow you to attract a new set of customers, and therefore, extend your customer base. You can begin targeting new industries, buyers (VP of Customer Service, Compliance Officer, Call Center Manager) and regions.

While almost any industry will find value in a call recording system, the more highly regulated industries tend to be heavier adopters, such as financial, healthcare, insurance, legal and utilities. 

As a CRaaS provider, you will be helping businesses address a number of critical business challenges that continuously cause headaches, including:

  1. Customer service quality
  2. Dispute resolution
  3. Compliance (PCI, HIPAA, TSR, GDPR, MiFID II...)
  4. Order verification
  5. Risk mitigation

Here are some questions you should ask your cloud call recording provider to ensure you are selecting the best partner:

  1. How many cloud service providers do you currently have as clients?
  2. How long have you been serving the cloud service provider market?
  3. What margins can I expect when reselling your call recording solution?
  4. How flexible and affordable is your licensing model?
  5. How long have you been in business?
  6. What makes your cloud call recording solution better than the rest?
  7. Can I re-brand your call recorder as my own?
  8. What compliance capabilities do you offer?
  9. What does the installation/procurement process look like?
  10. Do you offer SIPREC recording?


ebook: Increase ARPU  with Hosted Call Recording





10 Questions to Ask Before Buying/Upgrading a Call Recorder

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Nov 29, 2018 11:26:08 AM

Not all call recording systems are created equal. How can you separate the real vendors from the mere pretenders when purchasing or upgrading a call recording or quality monitoring solution? You need to know what questions to ask.10Questions

Here are 10 top questions to consider:

  1. Is the product mainly a small business solution or really intended for large enterprise?
  2. Am I going to pay for features really designed for a different size organization?
  3. Is the solution designed to address my specific industry and regulatory requirements?
  4. Does the product offer capabilities to help me maintain HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, MiFID II, TCPA, etc. compliance?
  5. Which of the following features (e.g.) are important to me?
    • Voice recording
    • Screen recording
    • Quality monitoring
    • Call evaluations
    • Customized reporting
    • Live monitoring
    • Mobile-phone recording
    • Speech analytics
    • Multi-site recording
    • Multi-tenancy
    • Call tagging
    • Audit trail
    • Multi-criteria searching
    • Selective recording
    • Call exporting
    • Custom coaching agreements
    • Report filtering
  6. Am I considering the needs of all my constituents? Managers? Business users? Technical staff?
  7. How long will you have to wait for the implementation to get started? How long does implementation take?
  8. How difficult is it to integrate the solution into your existing environment (PBX, CRM, etc.)?
  9. What are the costs for implementation, training and support?
  10. For speech analytics, do you own your interaction data, and can you share it with third parties for speech analytics, business intelligence and data visualization platforms to create a richer data set?


35 Call Recording Questions (infographic)



Top 10 Reasons to Record Agent Screen Activity

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Nov 19, 2018 11:41:56 AM

Call recording systems have been around for decades and their utility is proven. The same goes for agent screen recording systems, although you may not know it. Many organizations which have deployed call recording have yet to deploy screen recording, and in not doing so, they are really only capturing half of the customer interaction, as much of the agent activity happens on-screen.Screen recording agent pic

Since your call center agents are on the front lines in terms of interacting with your customers, you want to be able to monitor how well your agents are servicing their needs. When your agents are on the phone with your customers, they should be serving their needs quickly and effectively, by swiftly and accurately navigating the necessary screens on their desktop to access and input customer data, find product/service information, etc. Sometimes, however, these screens or workflows can be interrupted by navigational problems (by the agent or the system) or application glitches (not the agent's fault).  Other times, unfortunately, agents may engage in unauthorized or even illegal activity on their screens. With screen recording software, you can monitor these workflows and actions to identify any system or agent issues and remedy them at once.  These remedies can translate into substantial time and cost savings as well as risk mitigation for your contact center and enterprise.

Here are the top 10 reasons to record agent screen activity during customer interactions:

  1. Identify application or system breakdowns that affect agent screen navigation and overall performance and productivity
  2. Discover areas to improve agent efficiency through additional skills training (for example, increasing proficiency with certain applications or workflows)
  3. Uncover unauthorized personal activity by agents (for example, checking their own facebook or playing Solitaire during a customer interaction)
  4. Identify PCI, HIPAA or GDPR compliance issues upon data entry (such as the agent's screen erroneously displaying the credit card information upon entry when it's supposed to be masked).   
  5. Record best-practice agent screen performance to share with under-performing agents
  6. Record worst-practice agent screen performance to share with newer agents to help them avoid similar mistakes
  7. Gain a comprehensive view of customer interactions as they occurred
  8. Prove compliance to regulators by sharing the full interaction - audio and screen video - in order to avoid costly penalties
  9. Identify any fraudulent behavior by an agent
  10. See all of the promises and/or commitments agents make to customers 

Agent screen recording solutions today can capture full motion video of the agent's desktop throughout the entire customer interaction.  This recording, synchronized upon playback with the corresponding agent and customer audio recording) gives supervisors and managers a clear, 360-degree view of exactly what transpired during a given customer interaction.  

For ease of retrieval, recordings (screen and audio) can be identified and accessed by date, user name, agent, phone number, and so on. These same recordings can be shared and viewed in industry-standard MPEG4 format and played or viewed on any desktop or capable mobile device.   


Compliance Recording AND Quality Monitoring?

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Nov 5, 2018 11:24:08 AM

Today’s contact center is a complex organization with a number of moving parts, all designed to help customers and sell prospects.  As such, contact centers need various tools to help them facilitate day to day operations and to continue to move the needle toward being a “profit center” and away from being a “cost center”. compliance3

In addition to Workforce Management and Customer Relationship Management software, there is a real need for compliance recording and quality monitoring software – sometimes one or the other and sometimes both.  Respectively, these tools help the contact center maintain regulatory compliance and mitigate costly disputes; and also improve agent performance and deliver quality customer service.

Ideally, contact centers should have both compliance recording and quality monitoring. Together, these tools fully empower the contact center to be a real asset to the organization, and at the same time, protect it from undue scrutiny and liability.

Compliance Recording

Companies across many industries (primarily healthcare, financial, insurance, utilities and government, retail) choose to record ALL OF THE CALLS their employees/agents are having with customers and prospects.  These audio recordings are then stored securely and kept for a predetermined period of time in order to:

  • Protect the company from he-said/she-said disputes
  • Verify order authorization given by a customer, in case a question arises as to whether the customer gave such authorization.
  • Verify industry or regulatory compliance, for such mandates as PCI-DSS (credit card number privacy), HIPAA (health information privacy), Telemarketing Sales Rule (solicitation protection), GDPR, MiFID II and others.

Having the ability to access a specific recording from a particular conversation can be a lifesaver for the company in terms of proving its innocence.  Without such a record, businesses can suffer lofty penalties, fines and loss of privileges (loss of credit card merchant capabilities, for instance) and so on.

Some companies choose to record just the audio of every customer conversation, while others elect to capture both the audio and the agent’s screen activity for more visibility into the actual interaction.

Quality Monitoring / Assurance

Contact centers are only as effective as the service they provide to customers and prospects.  As such, most contact centers elect to employ quality monitoring software which automatically records a SAMPLING OF CALLS per agent so those interactions can be evaluated for quality purposes.

This so-called “selective recording” can be triggered in a number of ways, all predetermined by the organization.  Three calls per week per agent can be automatically captured, for example, or administrators might elect to capture five calls per month, one from each part of the day, for instance.  The idea is to only capture a sampling of calls and later evaluate them for quality assurance.

These captured calls can also serve a number of other purposes for the contact center, such as:

  • Assessing how well agents are interacting with customers
  • Identifying agent skill gaps and areas for additional training
  • Understanding how effectively your processes and technologies support customers
  • Identifying areas to improve operational performance and customer interaction workflow
  • Generating customizable performance reports to enhance decision making
  • Improving business processes
  • Identifying root causes of issues so immediate action can be taken to remedy the problem.

Compliance Recording + Quality Monitoring:

By far, the most comprehensive way to ensure the contact center is operating at its highest level across the board is with a combined solution of both compliance recording and quality monitoring software.  This arms the contact center with all the tools it needs to ensure compliance, mitigate risk, improve agent performance and ensure the very best customer service possible.

Compliance Recording AND Quality Monitoring ebook

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