Recordings: the contact centre security hole

The management and security of contact centre recordings tends to be sorely neglected, says Karl Reed, Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer at Elingo.

April 18, 2013

The management and security of contact centre recordings tends to be sorely neglected, says Karl Reed, Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer at Elingo.

Most contact centres record voice calls and interactions, but few manage and utilise the resulting data effectively.

In line with legislation, and to protect themselves in the event of customer complaints and queries, most companies have recording systems installed in their contact centres. However, in our experience, recording is not among the top priorities for contact centres, and tends to be a ‘grudge purchase’. This is a mistake.

Installing ‘cheap and nasty’ off the shelf recording tools simply to record and store conversations defeats the object of recording, and leaves gaping holes in enterprise security and risk management.

Business tends to overlook the importance of the confidential information captured in the recordings, as well as its potential strategic business value.

Recorded data from customer voice calls, emails, faxes and SMSes contains a great deal of personal information about clients and their transactions with the enterprise. The potential losses and reputational damage if this data should fall into the wrong hands is huge. While most systems do include some form of tamper record, recorded data is simply not treated with the same levels of security as other enterprise data. Too many contact centres are vague on how the data should be stored and even the length of time the recordings must be stored for – even though, by law, some must be kept for up to ten years.

As enterprises increasingly offer contractual transactions via various channels – including voice and email – the voice or electronic communication has become the binding contract, making security, storage and management of these recordings increasingly important. It is becoming critically important that all recordings are monitored for action points or potential problems, and that these are attended too quickly.

Besides the data security issues, there is business risk and customer retention to be considered. Recorded contact centre data contains vast amounts of valuable information about customer sentiment, potential customer losses and even about the abilities of the contact centre team.

If the recording is not quality managed and integrated into other enterprise systems, there is every chance it will simply be stored, burying valuable insights in a virtual vault. Without effectively using this recorded data, the enterprise is left to rely on the contact centre agent alone as the face of the company, responsible for interpreting sentiment and flagging any concerns. When an agent is managing hundreds of calls a day, they may not be effective in flagging problems and retaining customers.
However, with a quality management team in place to analyse calls, in addition to word spotting functionality and alerts built into the system, the contact centre is able to thoroughly analyse the interactions and respond in a proactive way.

As enterprises look to expand their insights into customer sentiment, they may be ignoring the reserves of information they already have access to. By managing these insights correctly, enterprises can reduce customer churn, grow their customer bases and even respond more timeously to market demand.

Some contact centres are becoming aware of the need to better manage interaction recordings, but may delay upgrading to high-end integrated systems due to the investment required. It’s necessary to consider the costs of not doing so; as well as the potential return on investment in a system that allows the contact centre to deliver better service, increased customer satisfaction and improved business practices. Business management needs to understand how critical it is to maximise the recorded data, to enable a complete, 360 degree view of the customer, for ultimate business success.

Recording needs to be a lot more than a tick in the box. Considering the risk mitigation and customer insight value it can deliver, the management and security of recordings of all transactions, correspondence and conversations needs to be taken seriously.