Telephone technology is developing as rapidly as all other kinds of technology today. I find that many organizations do not consider their telephone system as important as other technology platforms used in their organizations.
This could be a mistake.
Even with all the digital communication options available, many people still rely on a personal phone call to get things done. Modern telephone systems can provide tremendous advantages to an agency that will help them streamline their internal workflows.
This TechTip was prompted because of an increase in the number of questions I am receiving about the advisability of recording all inbound and outbound phone calls within an agency. Recording all phone calls could be a very good idea that would save a tremendous amount of time by reducing the amount of typing necessary to document phone calls into the client file.
I recently received an email from Ed Higgins at Thousand Islands Agency stating,
“We also just implemented blueC integrated call recording software and have discovered a lot more wasted time.
“The system is expensive, but we expect it to pay for itself solely in providing guidance/counseling for better customer service on a daily basis; identifying the clearly wasted time on personal calls is an ancillary benefit. The unfortunate reality is that the larger an agency becomes, the more standardized procedures and systems, and general personnel policies have to become.”
Ed is correct. Standardizing policies and procedures within your organization is one of the biggest issues managers face to make sure clients consistently receive a great experience.
You can see a blueC blueButler demo video here:
I have not done a deep dive review for the blueButler product, nor have I done a comprehensive review of other options that are available. My purpose is simply to highlight this as an area for you to put on your “we should look at this” list.
I have been a bit concerned about how E&O underwriters would view phone recordings as appropriate client documentation. I had the opportunity recently to ask both an E&O consultant as well as an E&O attorney about my question. They both indicated they did not see an inherent problem with using phone call recordings as the primary documentation.
If your phone system supports recording all inbound and outbound phone calls, or you are considering replacing your old system with a new telephone system, here are a few suggestions for transitioning to phone call recordings as client documentation:
- Make sure you understand the capabilities of your phone system. How does the recording process work? Where are the audio files physically stored? Are they attached to the agency management system client file? If not, how are those files backed up?
- Provide additional training for your staff. The potential downside of recording all phone calls is that what your employees might say to the client is also recorded. There may be some situations where you do not want what the CSR said as part of your documentation! Providing additional training for all staff on telephone etiquette could go a long way to help prevent any embarrassing moments.
- Check with your E&O underwriter. It would be prudent to check with your E&O carrier for their input on how you propose to change how you document client phone calls.
- Include customer service phone call reviews. As Higgins indicated above, one of the benefits of recording all phone calls is the training that can take place to either streamline the conversation or enhance the client experience.
- Check state requirements for recording phone calls. Several people made comments that some states have laws regarding required notification of a phone call being recorded. Check with an attorney to make sure, but generally when you put an announcement at the beginning of every call that you are recording the call and the caller continues to stay on the call, implicitly they are consenting to the recording of the call.
The technology to record phone calls has become commonplace. Adding phone call recording capability could be a great enhancement to your organization that would improve customer service and, at the same time, provide productivity improvements.
Are you currently recording all inbound and outbound phone calls? If so, how well does the process work? Any pushback from clients or staff? Let me know in the Comments Section.