Kevin Levi

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Hi-Fi Audio Capture Powers CX through Speech Analytics, BI and AI

Posted by Kevin Levi on May 20, 2020 12:19:45 PM

Enterprises and customer service organizations use speech analytics today to analyze customer interactions to assess agent performance and identify service gaps. That likely isn't news to you, but what might be is that speech analytics results rely IMMENSELY on the quality of the audio recording. That's right, with poor quality audio capture, the transcription engine struggles to discern what was said by the customer and the agent, and the results are flawed.hqdefault

What's more, many audio capture solutions are proprietary and keep their recordings restricted from porting to transcription and analytics solutions. Moreover, they also keep businesses from augmenting their recordings with 3rd party data from CRM, ACD or desktop applications e.g. This makes "openness" another huge factor in audio capture.

Here are some customer service stats to illuminate the importance of these points:

48% of customers want to communicate with companies via phone (HubSpot Research)

So almost half of all customer interactions still rely on the telephone. Therefore, high quality, open speech analytics data that can be extracted from these calls (and combined with 3rd party data) is critical to derive the best customer insight. This requires full media/metadata access and system control - which not all audio capture platforms enable.

A 60% increase in profits is possible with a mere 5% increase in customer retention rates (Bain and Company)

It is six to seven times more expensive to land a new customer than to retain an existing customer. To help organizations retain existing customers, speaker-separated audio capture (which then feeds the transcription/analytics engine) helps to identify at-risk customers. Mono recording makes it difficult to distinguish over-talk, which is common during contentious interactions when a customer is highly dissatisfied. Stereo recording separates each party into their own channel for clear, distinguished playback - which helps uncover unhappy customers. The best audio quality supports upper-end audio sample rate formats including G.711 and OPUS.

Learn more about high fidelity, open audio capture here.

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"Open" Audio Capture for 'Speech Analytics as a Service'

Posted by Kevin Levi on May 4, 2020 12:56:04 PM

Several speech analytics vendors are now offering their solutions as a service. So-called Speech Analytics as a Service (SAaaS) presents a unique opportunity for businesses to mine their customer interactions for business intelligence and customer insight without the significant capital outlays and time required with premise-based approaches. Moreover, with so many agents working from home these days, SAaaS can also mine remote interactions. cloud-speech-analytics

Regardless of where the interactions take place, however, it all starts with audio capture and recording. To most effectively leverage a cloud analytics platform, you want to ensure you're choosing an audio capture solution that offers hi-fidelity audio, unrestricted access to your recordings and control over how that unstructured data is shared with a transcription and analytics engine.  

With this level of audio quality, access and control, your business can easily and effectively uncover root causes of service failures, potential compliance infractions, customers at risk of defecting, agents in need of additional training, and so on.

What's more, with the right audio capture system and SAaaS solution, you can be up and running with recording and analysis in mere days, instead of weeks or more with premise based products. Any updates to the software will be instantly accessible, and your IT team is freed up to focus on other projects.

A non-proprietary audio capture solution not only provides unrestricted access to (and control over) your recordings, but it can also be used with several speech analytics vendors at the same time. Suppose you use one vendor for real-time authentication, another to monitor 'voice of the customer', and yet a third for advanced analytics?  The same audio capture engine can work across all of these vendors simultaneously. This helps you reduce costs and streamline your analytics program. 

Interested in learning how a standalone audio capture solution can impact your business? Click the button below.

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At-Home Call Recording & Management

Posted by Kevin Levi on May 1, 2020 10:13:35 AM

With so many employees and call center agents working from home these days, it is important to ensure at-home staff’s work interactions are being recorded, monitored and managed. At the same time, you want to be able to analyze these conversations for customer intelligence and assess staff’s performance to ensure high customer service levels.

Most of these individuals are utilizing VoIP, softphones, mobile phones or landlines - and sometimes a combination thereof. You want to capture these conversations remotely and be able to leverage them freely and openly for compliance, customer service, order verification and dispute resolution purposes.at-home-call-center


Monitor, Manage & Control

Some vendors make it difficult or even impossible to share your recordings with an analytics solution, restricting your ability to get the most out of your interactions. You want full control of/access to your recordings so they can be shared with the best 3rd party AI vendors for customer experience and speech analytics.


Key Features

  • Remote site recording
  • Quality monitoring (with scorecards)
  • Live monitoring
  • Create teams/groups on the fly
  • Browser-based access to recordings
  • Pause/resume
  • Active recording (SIPREC, BIB, DMCC)
  • Cloud call recording
  • Mobile recording methods:
    1. VoIP softphone technology
    2. Conferencing the recording system as a PSTN number
    3. Working a mobile-ready infrastructure like SIPREC
  • Screen recording
  • Call exporting
  • PCI and HIPAA Compliance
  • VPN support
  • Fine-grained privileged access to recordings


Questions to Ask Yourself

There are several questions you can ask yourself to assess your need to record your at-home agents:

1. Are your agents processing orders with credit cards? [PCI-DSS]

2. Are your agents collecting sensitive customer information? [GDPR]

3. Are your agents offering medical advice? [HIPAA]

4. Are your agents offering legal advice?

5. What types of potential customer disputes could arise?

6. What telephone script are your agents using to collect debt? [Fair Debt Collection Practices Act]

7. Are your agents properly disclosing interest rates on loans? [Truth in Lending Act]

8. What types of orders are your financial agents taking? [MiFID II]

9. What times of the day are your agents making telemarketing calls? [TCPA]

10. What types of promises do your agents make regarding refunds?


Examples of At-Home Interactions you Should Record


  • Stock orders from investment clients
  • Financial advice from stockbrokers and financial planners
  • Collections calls on overdue debt


  • Conversations around specific reimbursement amounts for a filed claim
  • Annual premium quotes for new coverages
  • Registration of a new vehicle


  • Primary care physicians prescribing over-the-counter medication
  • Doctors offering medical advice to a patient
  • Physician assessing a patient’s symptoms


  • Interactions involving a heated discussion
  • Transactions in which a large refund was promised
  • Conversations during which the customer promised to pay

ebook - Call Recording Laws Around the Globe

Expand Your Speech Analytics Possibilities

Posted by Kevin Levi on Apr 14, 2020 12:13:24 PM

Speech analytics relies on spoken word transcription (from recorded calls) of the customer and the agent to arm contact centers with customer intelligence such as buying behavior, competitive insight and so on. What many don’t realize is that when it comes to the transcription engine, ‘garbage in equals garbage out’. That is, if the engine cannot clearly distinguish what is being said by each party, it cannot accurately transcribe the conversation and yield usable intelligence.Man-Callcenter

Consider a talk-over scenario when both parties are talking at the same time. The transcription engine has a difficult time deciphering the two streams of voice. Also, suppose the quality of the recorded interaction isn’t crystal clear, the same thing happens. The transcription engine can’t accurately distill what it hears.

The ability to yield accurate audio all comes down to the call recording software. When selecting a call recorder to feed your speech analytics software, you need to consider various elements, including:

  • Stereo recording – Dual channel stereo call recording provides much higher audio quality upon playback. The transcription engine hears each call participant through its own channel/speaker – the agent on the right and the customer on the left, for example. This dramatically enhances the sound and quality and avoids talk-over. This could be particularly important if a discrepancy arises or if a potential HIPAA or PCI compliance infraction may have occurred. You need to be able to prove who said what, and when.
  • Enhanced audio quality – In addition to speaker-separated audio, you want your recording solution to support upper-end audio sample rate formats including G.711 and OPUS. This provides a higher level of audio output.
    • “G. 711 is a narrowband audio codec that provides toll-quality audio at 64 kbit/s. G. 711 passes audio signals in the range of 300–3400 Hz and samples them at the rate of 8,000 samples per second” [wikipedia].
    • “OPUS is a lossy audio codec which provides remarkable audio quality, especially at low bitrates” (auphonic).
  • Metadata augmentation – The ability to augment your speech analytics data with additional data sources enhances the value you derive from your analytics. Collecting non-audio data from CRM, ACD or agent desktop applications enables your call recorder to further append audio recordings with such intelligence, beyond the spoken word garnered from the transcription engine. This improves your ability to correlate, discover sales and marketing patterns and easily pinpoint specific types of interactions.

What this article shows is that there are various elements that come into play which can dramatically affect the value your speech analytics solution provides. It’s not solely dependent on the capabilities of your speech analytics software or the transcription engine it utilizes. The call recording software is vital to the entire process.

Learn about OrekaAC Streaming Audio Capture Service to bolster the value of your speech analytics solution. 

Covid's Work-at-Home Impact on Financial, Insurance & Medical

Posted by Kevin Levi on Apr 6, 2020 12:25:44 PM

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the day-to-day working landscape of the Financial, Insurance and Medical industries. While its impact on Medical may seem a bit more obvious, there are various scenarios which you may not be thinking of. The same goes for Financial and Insurance professionals. Most of these individuals are having to fulfill their work duties from home, utilizing VoIP, softphones, mobile phones or landlines - and sometimes a combination thereof. This can cause some unknowing issues.

What this means is that many critical business interactions with customers, prospects and partners are going unrecorded. This absence of proper call recording software can have a significant impact on an organization's ability to capture some or all of these conversations to ensure regulatory compliance (HIPAA, PCI-DSS, GDPR, MiFID II, TCPA...) or prove what was said in order to resolve a potentially costly dispute.health-insurance-concept-doctor-hospital2 

Just think for a minute about the types of interactions professionals in these industries might be having, which their organizations would surely want (or need) to capture and store: 


  • Stock orders from investment clients (these interactions must be recorded under MiFID II and similar U.S. financial regulations)
  • Financial advice from stockbrokers and financial planners (again, many of these conversations must be captured)
  • Discussions around prices, solicitations, bids and/or offers (must be recorded under MiFID II and similar U.S. regulations)
  • Collections calls on overdue debt (must be recorded under the U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to ensure protection against abusive debt collection practices)


  • Conversations around specific reimbursement amounts for a filed claim
  • Annual premium quotes for new coverages
  • Registration of a new vehicle (significant liability issues could arise if proper coverage was not granted and an accident occurs)
  • Interactions about life insurance policy payouts with bereaved loved ones who lost a family member



  • Psychiatrists diagnosing a severely depressed patient
  • Primary care physicians prescribing over-the-counter medication to a sick patient 
  • Doctors offering medical advice to a patient showing signs of Covid-19 infection
  • Veterinarians advising dog owners how to care for their sick pet

It is very easy to see how problematic some of these critical discussions can be if they are not properly recorded, stored and accessible when needed to resolve a dispute or prove compliance, for example. What's more, some of these interactions must be recorded under regulatory guidelines. Still, some conversations must be captured, while only recording certain portions of the calls. For instance, financial interactions in which a credit card number of given over the phone cannot have that portion of the interaction recorded. The same goes for insurance or medical interactions in which sensitive patient information, e.g., is given. These sensitive interactions require call recording software which can properly pause/resume or mask or mute sensitive portions of conversations. 

During these times of worry and uncertainty, make sure your work-at-home employees are being properly recorded for peace of mind and to mitigate avoidable liability issues.


Call Recording Laws Around the Globe




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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