While almost everyone has heard the phrase: “This call may be recorded for quality control purposes,” while waiting to speak to a business service representative or call centre operator, businesses are starting to appreciate that the effective and compliant recording of conversations has evolved from humble beginnings into a strategy to provide a strategic business advantage.
“Compliant call recording not only improves customer experience, but it also provides efficiencies that boost a business’s competitiveness,” says Telviva chief commercial officer Rob Lith.
As the long-awaited date of 1 July 2021 approaches, which is when the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) comes into force, compliance becomes vital. Many organisations have been edging closer to compliance, most often with the help of a compliance officer, but there are outliers who are scrambling at the last minute.
“We have been a trusted partner in compliance for years and we have certainly seen an uptick in questions relating to POPIA over the past few months,” says Lith. The message is clear: the best time to have started the journey to compliance was some time back, but the next best time to get legal and regulatory advice is today, he says.
Ultimately, says Lith, the responsible party is the accountable party, which means that businesses must have a handle on the Act and all its ramifications, especially as it relates to their own industries. Beyond this, they need to work with partners who understand the Act and how to provide services compliantly.
“The Act is detailed, but at its essence, it says that a business can collect and retain data only for the purpose of the services being rendered, and once that service is over, that data can no longer be stored unless there is a regulation which trumps that. An example is the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (RICA), in which case there may be information that needs to be retained for a timespan of, for example, one year after the period of the use of that data expires.
“Other Acts in other industries will have their own requirements specific to those industries and can vary from five years to four decades in at least one instance. This needs to be understood by businesses to be compliant,” he explains.
He says that when Telviva serves a customer in the financial or legal industry, for example, the responsibility goes a step further. “Imagine a case goes to court and it needs to be proved that the recording has not been tampered with – this can only happen with encryption, which is why encryption is an important part of our offering,” he says.
Lith says that once businesses are in the cloud, compliance becomes far easier because they have core support. Service providers who operate in the cloud such as Telviva – and who use cloud-based third parties – have the benefit of experience, already having dealt with compliance requirements in the US and EU, for example. “It then becomes a case of applying the specifics of POPIA to the best practice already learnt,” he says.
Lith says once a business is compliant it can unlock a host of benefits. “After all the time and resources invested in becoming compliant, an organisation is able to take advantage of a host of business benefits designed to optimise processes and create the efficiencies we all aspire to achieve – there is a treasure trove of incredible tools that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to add a layer of intelligence and agility to a business,” he says.
Compliant call recording provides several benefits. The first is the ability to transcribe a call which can be consumed by managers and executives later and at a time convenient to them. “If I miss a meeting, I know I will get a transcription to peruse at my convenience,” he says.
“Beyond that, we know that for a call centre, recorded calls offer a host of advantages. These range from quality assurance to dispute resolution. Once these are stored compliantly, they can provide a host of other benefits,” he explains.
These include sentiment analysis, which can be used to optimise processes and improve customer experience. Another is making use of the contextual cloud, which means that when a person calls in, the smart software can pull up their history and context, reducing the number of times the same question needs to be asked, or the number of operators a customer needs to deal with to resolve an issue.
“This kind of power means a business can work towards the ideal scenario: that each call ends with a favourable resolution, and if it doesn’t, processes can switch into action to find a solution for that customer and prevent similar problems happening in the future,” he says.
“That’s the target of compliant call recording: enabling quality conversations through more context, speed and accuracy,” he says.