Can I Record My Customers?

Anwesha Roy

Here is what the law says

Can I Record My Customers?

Call recording has now transcended mere compliance. The data gathered via call recordings, combined with voice analytics and sentiment analysis, opens up a whole new world of value generation for contact centres. Last year, in conversation with the CEO of Tollring, it was revealed that there is an ongoing boom in the call recording market. Tollring alone has witnessed around 222% growth in call recording endpoints/license sales. 

However, organisations shouldn’t jump into recording every customer conversation without adequate preparation. There are detailed compliance norms around call recording, which often vary from one legal jurisdiction to another.  

To benefit from call recordings, in your contact centre, here is what you need to remember.  

Different Rules Apply to Individuals and Businesses 

In regions like some US states and Canada, individuals may record a call in which they are a participant even if they haven’t informed the other party of the same. Companies, on the other hand, must always declare their intent before initiating a call recording. There are also regions like Australia (except Queensland) where the general rule is that calls may not be recorded, although companies are sometimes exempt from this rule.  

Call Recording Without Consent is Illegal for Ordinary Businesses 

If there was ever any doubt, GDPR demonstrated exactly how important it is to obtain consent and allow customers to retain control over their data. In most countries, it is illegal for ordinary businesses (i.e., non-government organisations) to not ask for consent either through a live agent or an automated bot. In the US, a repeated audible beep may also be considered a recording notification.  

How You Use Call Recordings May Also be Subject to Legal Oversight  

As a result of tightening data regulations, organisations must also carefully plan how call recordings are stored, utilised, and shared. In Denmark, for example, forwarding or playing back conversations that are considered private, can be found illegal. In Finland too, the use of recordings, depending on their content, might be governed by libel laws, trade/national secret laws. And laws around non-disclosure agreements.  

Be Mindful of One-Party and Two-Party Consent 

The US is an excellent example of this law. In some states, the affirmation of consent from a single party is enough to make the call recording valid under the law. In others, like California, Maryland, Florida, etc., requires both parties to consent to be recorded. Here too, there might be deeper nuances, such as requiring two-party consent even in a one-party state like Wisconsin if the recording is to be used as evidence in court.  

Consult a Legal Expert and Err on the Side of Caution 

Call recording laws are extremely intricate, and for companies with contact centres in different locations, it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why it is always advisable to work with a law and compliance expert, carefully documenting your specific compliance requirements, and training agents on the same.  


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