A feature of modern business communications with the potential to greatly benefit your organisation is call recording. As long as laws and other regulations governing surveillance and data privacy are respected, the recording of phone calls and the keeping of call transcripts can bring several advantages.
But many businesses may not be enjoying these benefits, because of the ways in which they actually implement call recording and, to an extent, the financial burden associated with these methods.
As we'll see, there are several ways in which call recording may be achieved with some being more economical than others.
The Benefits of Call Recording in Business Communications
Business communications systems built on VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol or IP) usually come with in-built tools for recording calls and transactions. Having transcripts and audio files documenting the interactions between staff members, customers and suppliers can bring several benefits to the enterprise, including:
- Having legally acceptable evidence of actual encounters and transactions with supply chain partners and consumers.
- Reference material for clearing up misunderstandings and disputes, or troubleshooting problems.
- Good and bad examples of how exchanges and transactions with customers should be handled, for performance reviews and employee training.
- Having recordings to use as evidence in settling internal disciplinary matters, or resolving disputes.
- Having audio files and transcripts to satisfy the audit or other requirements of industry standards and regulatory compliance regimes.
If you intend to monitor your business communications in this way, don't forget to inform call participants beforehand, to clearly ask for and receive their consent to having their conversations recorded. This is especially important if you're operating in the UK, or have callers from Europe, under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
But what about the costs?
We've noted that call recording tools now come as standard with IP-based business communications systems. But call recording technology has been around for a while and commercial enterprises have been using various devices for creating transcripts and audio files for years.
Standalone recording devices have been widely used by many companies, but they're not necessarily the most cost-effective option.
The earliest devices were manually operated machines using first tape reels then later, cassettes. Users had to start and stop recordings and change tapes by hand, using equipment that was often unreliable, expensive, and difficult to maintain. Sorting and storing archive recordings was typically a nightmare, and live call monitoring was impossible.
Systems consisting of proprietary electronic hardware and recording software evolved to replace tape machines. Units come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from single desktop units to rack-mounted servers capable of recording hundreds of channels.
What they have in common is that each system originates from a specific manufacturer or vendor, so repairing, upgrading, or maintaining a unit has to be done through that particular supplier. If the company goes out of business, you can be out of luck and out of pocket. And if technology overtakes the hardware (which it has), you could find yourself scrambling to buy replacement recording devices that are compatible with the prevailing systems.
A better hardware alternative is the computer or PC-integrated voice recorder. This packs the capabilities of a multi-channel telephone recorder into a desktop computer, with call recording software for making archives, playback, call monitoring, search functions, and (with some systems) custom reporting and assessments. Corporate network or internet connectivity may be used to allow multiple users to gain access to recordings, or to do live call monitoring.
Costs are lower than for proprietary hardware, as many of the components and software required for upgrading and maintaining desktop computers are now mass-produced and priced for the consumer market. Maintenance and service costs are also lower - but users still have to take on the price burden of doing this themselves, in addition to the initial costs of purchase and installation.
In all cases, provision needs to be made for the physical and / or digital storage of audio files and call transcripts, which over time could translate into a warehouse full of cassette tapes, or the need to install a rack or room of dedicated file servers.
Call Recording in The Cloud
Hardware purchasing, on-site upgrades of recording equipment, service costs, and maintenance are all done away with, if your business communications system incorporates call recording in the cloud.
On-site networking and hosted VoIP providers such as LG Networks take on the burden of infrastructure management, security, upgrades, and maintenance of the business communications systems they provide, and give their customers easy administration tools for gaining access to the cloud-based resources they need, including the implementation and management of call recording.
And with multiple, geographically-dispersed data centres at their disposal, the issue of running out of storage space for recording transcripts and large audio files doesn't come into it. Access to call recording archives and resources may be had by any authorised user with an internet connection or dedicated mobile app. The same devices may be used in conjunction with your administrative software, to configure all call recording preferences.
Payment for cloud services is usually on a per-month subscription basis with itemised billing, so expenses can be easily monitored and adjustments made to your account settings to optimise your budget.
Even if you possess the financial means and infrastructure to host your own VoIP installation on-site, the associated costs of installation and maintenance are far lower than those of a traditional phone system. And the call recording tools provided by your VoIP system will be correspondingly cheaper to run and manage than the older hardware-based techniques.
Call Recording Per Minute
One of the two most common pricing models associated with cloud-based call recording is the per minute charge. Here, the service provider charges a standard monthly fee for the basic subscription to its business communications service, with call recordings billed as an additional expense, per recorded minute.
If the volume of calls that you expect to be recording each month is fairly small (an assessment you'll need to make in comparison to your overall telephone activity), this type of billing may be a cost-saver.
Call Recording Per Package
Providers like LG Networks are also in a position to offer specialised service plans, with business communications packages tailored for small, medium-sized, or large-scale enterprises. These business packages may have call recording factored in, also on a package basis.
Such plans might typically offer call recording packages in blocks of 30 days (one month), 90 days (one financial quarter), or 365 days (a full year), with a fixed price and unlimited minutes of recording time (usually within some kind of "fair use" policy definition).
Businesses that offer call centre facilities or who run extensive customer service operations may find these package-based call recording offers a more cost-effective option. Companies that rely heavily on quality control (and might therefore make extensive use of call transcripts for assessment and training purposes) can also benefit from this pricing model, as can organisations that have to operate under strict regulatory compliance regimes.
Whichever approach works best for you, there are call recording options to enable you to get the most out of your business communications system.
If you'd like to learn more about call recording, business communications based on VoIP and data networking, get in touch with the experts at LG Networks.