Telling which call recording solution is the right one for your organization can be a frustrating experience. There are a lot of solutions on the market that seemingly offer the same thing and each provider's website rattles off a number of features that all sound the same.
But, once you dive a little deeper, it quickly becomes clear that they can mean very different things, and it gets confusing quickly. For example, every call recording solution allows you to retrieve and download calls as a standard feature. But does that mean the file is available in an open readable format or is it in a proprietary format? Is it watermarked and encrypted with a military-grade encryption technique? How easily can these files be shared in a safe and functional way?
Below, I tried to untangle the mess a bit by listing some of the features that are usually standard features and capabilities but also require some further digging as they can mean different things to different people. This way, you can determine which solution is below or above average. So, let's have a closer look at these bare-minimum, must-have features.
Automatic Call Recording
By now, almost all solutions offered on the market record 100% of your calls automatically. The only small difference is if and how you can configure selective call recording, e.g., never record calls between internal agents.
Basic Granular, Role-Based Access
Most vendors offer a few predefined roles that have very limited options to customize the permission levels. Sometimes, the default role is not restricted and users have to be added to the restricted user list manually. Look for platforms that allow you to define and customize the roles and the access rights on a very granular level to fit your organization's needs.
As basic as this may sound, there are huge differences when it comes to administrative control capabilities and ease of use. Think about a few use cases (e.g., How easy is it to configure the retention policies that reflect your current policies?) and try to set them up in the tools you are considering. Also, check that the audit logs cover all administrative activities.
Remember that while every solution will require a few Professional Service days to get you started and get some customizations done, you will have to pay someone every time you want to change something if the administration is not easy to use.
Call Recording Retrieval, Download, & Sharing
While it is more common now to be able to retrieve, download, and share your audio files quickly and easily, it is worth mentioning that the solution you choose will need to provide you with an audit trail and encryption to remain functionally safe.
Audio files must be in an open and readable format. Be aware that some companies will lock up call recording files in proprietary file formats and gouge you when you need to produce the files quickly for court proceedings, etc.
Searchable Call Tags & Notes
Almost all call recording platforms will provide you with one way or another to manually attach post-call summaries and tags to call recordings to make them easily findable. However, the question is this: How easy is it after the fact to find and retrieve calls?
For many of our customers, this is a starting point and as they grow, they want to move to AI-driven Voice Analytics (see below) to automatically attach speech-to-text transcription and keywords to each call.
Diarized Call Recording
Diarized call recording provides you with the ability to tell which party is saying what and when because it records both streams of the conversation as two overlapping yet separate streams.
While this is a standard feature, it is worth pointing out that you should check whether newer technology, like Microsoft Teams, is recorded as a diarized call as I have seen issues with early deployments. It is just a matter of time until this isn't an issue anymore, but for the time being, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Watermarking & Audit Logs
File integrity checks (watermarking) and audit trails for all user activities (including administrative) are crucial because they guarantee that your files have not been tampered with and are therefore intact and will stand up in court.
End-To-End 256-Bit AES Encryption
The vast majority of call recording is done for compliance reasons, so file encryption is crucial in allowing organizations to store and share their files in a safe way.
Platform vendors usually refer to it as military-grade or bank-grade encryption, but all it means is that files are compressed and encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256) before they are transmitted or stored. While this is relatively standard, you should be 100% sure your provider offers this.
Now, here is where things get hairy! I don't know of a single call recording solution that doesn't claim to offer PCI compliance. But this can mean anything from allowing your agents to manually stop and restart the recording while they take payment cards, social security numbers, or account numbers to deploying Artificial Intelligence to redact the number string from not only the call recording audio but also from the screen capture and the written transcript.
There are huge capability gaps, so be sure to explore this feature in detail if your organization is taking any sensitive data over the phone.
Over the next weeks, we will further explore compliance and security features that should be on your must-have list of requirements, as well as look at strategic options you should take into account when narrowing down your call recording solution shortlist and making a decision.