How to Record Your Own Customer Service Calls
If there's one thing that's become abundantly clear in the last few weeks, it's that call recording can not only save customers money and hassle, but also make some fairly major companies nervous. Ryan Block recently put call recording to work showing off the impact of a call with Comcast customer service, and Tim Davis likewise showed off its power getting charges taken off a bill with a call recording to play. So that's got some wondering, hey, how can I record my customer service calls for potential later use? There are ways to do it, but it's not always simple.
First, there are legal issues to consider. There are federal laws afoot here that require notification to at least one party—reportedly including you, who is recording the call—but almost trumping this are state laws that require a kind of dual-party consent, which means everyone on the call must give consent before recording can take place. However, it's a general rule of thumb that says that simply notifying the other party and carrying on with the call is sufficient for consent, but it may be best to consult an attorney for the sake of state laws.
Once that is addressed, the only thing left is to address the mechanics of call recording. Users can start with smartphone applications, of which there are several depending on the platform used. Android users have the most options, seemingly, but with iOS, it's made somewhat more difficult. Apple policies don't permit an app to record directly through an iPhone microphone on a call, so the call is instead routed through voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services to perform an end run around Apple. Conversely, there are hardware options on hand as well, with laptop and desktop PCs often having an audio record option for making calls, and some cell phone recorders, like the Esonic Cell Phone Call Recorder plugging into a phone's 3.5mm headphone jack.
The problem, of course, is audio quality. It could be heard in Tim Davis' call, but Ryan Block's call fared better: audio quality on many recorded calls could stand to be better. With many software options, audio quality is reportedly a problem for all but the most expensive options, and that seems to be the case as well for the hardware options as well.
Many likely never thought we'd reach a point where it would become necessary to record our calls with customer service so as to be able to use these recordings against a business charging in error. Many likely never thought it would be necessary to have call recordings on hand to prove a case; how many times has it simply been a matter of calling customer service, explaining that a mistake has been made, and then removing a charge accordingly? Businesses eager to keep customers—which is most businesses in a down economy like this one—generally don't go out of the way to say “we're keeping this money even if it means losing your business for the rest of your life.”
But with such things proving more valuable to customers, it may be worth navigating the maze of legal issues and physical solutions to record more customer service calls. It's already been seen to save money, and who doesn't want to do that these days? Customer service centers may well find more customers saying the same thing the centers say to the customers: “This call may be recorded for quality assurance.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle