Friday, February 08, 2008

Call Recording - both sides of the equation

A subject I've not written much on previously is call recording. I'm slightly surprised as it's a very significant part of contact centre operations and there are high profile vendors like Nice and Witness/Verint.

Most customers are familiar with the recorded announcement they get at the start of a call saying, "...please be aware that call may be recorded for monitoring or training purposes" and understand (especially in Financial Services) why call recording can be necessary. There's a lot more to be said about the financial services aspect of call recording in a future post but my interest today is in the use of call recording as a record of the transaction.

It might surprise readers, but many organisations do not record calls consistently, or use recording as a record of transactions. Instead they rely on the agent to enter the call content in a free text space in the CRM or call logging system. While cheap, this has big problems if there is at any point a dispute over what was said as opposed to what was written by the agent.

Traditionally, most organisations have relied on the fact that if they kept no record of the call, it was unlikely that the customer could prove that the agent had said anything different from what was written in the free text box. Yet this has often led to disputes where agents have over-promised and (obviously) not typed the details into the call record. One trend I have started to see is consumers making there own recording of calls. This is particularly the case in industries like travel and utilities where promises (or engineer's calling times) can be given out cheerfully by rogue agents who know that without call recording it is unlikely they will be held to account. What is interesting to see is that where the consumer has made a recording and kept details of the call, these organisations settle without question when challenged.

From my perspective this trend highlights two worrying comments on the state of the call centre industry. The first is that it highlights the poor customer service (or consumer expectation of poor service) from call centres. The second is that current performance metrics and agent management techniques may deliver short term business results, but clearly in many cases aren't working at delivering what organisations intended their customer service to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Blog, Alex. Was referred by a colleague doing research who found your essay on agent desktop neglect - Welcome your contact details to connect further. - Brian