At some point in your business’ growth, there’ll be a moment when dispute resolution and call recording will join each other in a sentence. That sentence will hang in the air before you as your manager waits to know if:
- Said dispute is the company’s fault
- If you’ve reviewed the phone calls surrounding the dispute
You did record those calls, right? You know, for quality assurance and stuff? Assuming you did, how did those calls go? Did your agents clearly deliver your compliance statements? Did they get permission from the customer to proceed with financial transactions? Maybe your industry requires you to inform clients that you’re not providing legal advice, or that they’re entitled to various data rights. You know your industry, and each call connected to your dispute needs to pass muster.
How Call Recordings Drive Dispute Resolution
Nobody gets into business to have a dispute, but they are unavoidable. There are multiple ways companies resolve disputes, but, there are typically three paths to resolution: mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Mediation is where a neutral third-party fosters communication to bring a non-binding conclusion to the dispute. Arbitration is very much the same except that the resolution is legally binding. Litigation is war. It’s the one we want to avoid because it’s usually expensive, typically drags on, and can leave scars.
Interestingly, a one-size solution most definitely does not fit all. There is no single best path to success for all disputes. The nature and details of the dispute may cause a company to choose the litigation option because it will trigger favorable features of the dispute for the company.
Proof (Hold the Pudding)
In any dispute, both sides will start to fortify their claims with the most persuasive ingredient—tangible proof. To that end, your call recordings are the equivalent of surveillance video. Let’s say upon review of the call recordings you realize that your company is 100% at fault. You’ll save time, money, and customer confidence by settling and staying out of court. You may even keep your customer and win their loyalty because you dealt with the situation honestly.
In another scenario, your call review reveals both the company and the customer made errors leading to the dispute. There’s no need for any he said she said misinterpretations of the dispute. With a complete transcript of the call, you can prove where the customer was wrong and take full responsibility for where the company failed. It’s the coveted path of least resistance to settlement or simple mediation. As before, it saves time, money, and avoids reputation damage.
Unfortunately, you may run into customers who cannot be appeased by your efforts or may wish to take advantage of your company. Your call review reveals an aggressive or downright manipulative customer. When they threaten you with a subpoena, your call recordings are the first and best line of defense. However, they are not “get out of jail free cards” either. First, the court has to admit them.
What Makes a Call Admissible?
So it’s court they want, eh? Then to court, we must go. But first, we need a flight-check of our legal assets. Your legal team has listened to the recordings and has a victory strategy in place. But the fight could be over before it starts, and not in your favor if your recordings are inadmissible. Why might that happen? Your evidence must pass a predicate for admission; in other words, convince the court of its reliability.
You’ll Need to Prove Call Validity
Your counsel will need to demonstrate that the disputing party really is the other voice on your call recordings. A high-quality recording coupled with PBX meta-data that includes caller ID and time stamps can help you solidify your call validation. Not every PBX reports this data, but if yours does, hold on to it.
Next, You’ll Have to Exhibit Recording Reliability
Your opponent may challenge your recording methods in order to have the court deny admission. When money is on the line, very few ideas are off the table. You should be ready to demonstrate that your recordings are made in a uniform way, securely stored, and not tampered with. Our CallCabinet product securely records all your calls to the Cloud and encrypts them with 256-bit encryption. Is that a bit of sales slipped into the blog? Sure, but it’s also a prime example of a reliable recording source. Whatever method you’re using to record your calls should be demonstrably uniform and secure.
Finally, You’ll Demonstrate Authenticity and Continuity
As we march headlong into the era of deep fakes, forensically authenticating recordings is becoming its own industry. In my work, I edit audio daily. Believe you me it is never difficult to manipulate a conversation, a phone call, an interview, or a podcast with freeware audio editing tools. Any audio forensic expert will tell you this. Fortify the authenticity of your recordings by having alternate views of the call. For example, captured screen recordings show a consistent timeline for a call but in a completely different medium. Adding a video of your agent’s screen during a call significantly bolsters your call’s integrity. And once again, your PBX might help you out here, too, by reporting call lengths and other details that can be corroborated against your recordings.
Laws like GDPR and CCPA have had a profound impact on the issue of consent. Customers have the right to know when you’re recording them, and simply telling them “this call may be recorded for quality assurance” doesn’t necessarily make you compliant. And even if your recording is admissible, you may need to get your customer consent repeatedly during the call, depending on your industry. Whatever your individual compliance needs are, there’s no substitute for well-worded call scripts from adequately trained agents.
End the Dispute
At the end of the day, we know you’re not looking to hold your call recordings over your customers’ heads as a way of saying don’t mess with us. You want to keep your customers happy, and you want to protect your bottom line as well. A robust call recording system does precisely that. Call recordings put everyone on gentle notice. Your customers know that they can rely on that recording as proof of promises made by your company. Well trained agents are also happy there’s a recording. There is no better performance review for your call staff than well-executed conversations with your customers. And for you, the company owner, the call center manager, the compliance officer, sleep comes a little easier when you know your call recordings are done right.
If you’re not sleeping that well, maybe you just need a little help with your call recordings. Come chat with us now and learn about CallCabinet.
Brian is a freelance technology writer and media editor based out of Central New Jersey. He’s logged 20 years of experience in the Telecom industry and side-hustles in the record industry. Brian started his career in technology at a company that made analog modems. He migrated to a marketing career in the call recording industry where he learned exactly how and why calls are monitored for quality assurance. These days Brian fuses his skills together to deliver his researched observations about telephony and compliance laws in polished articles and videos. He’s also composed the music for a long list of big Hollywood trailers. He does not miss the sound of analog modems but he is endlessly fascinated with phones.