Can You Record a Business Phone Call?

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and this post is not legal advice. Consult your legal team before beginning any call recording program.

If you’ve ever heard this: “This call is being recorded for quality and training purposes,” you’re being put on notice that whatever you say is being recorded and stored somewhere.

Most people have called at least one place that wants to record their phone call. Typically, you get notified at the outset. If you continue, it means you consent to the recording. In other cases, you may not receive notification, depending on the company and its location.

There are laws surrounding the recording of phone calls. Each state treats them differently. States like Texas and Louisiana only require one party to consent to record and are known as “one-party consent.” Similarly, federal law also only requires the consent of one party.

Why Record Phone Calls?

Your company may have a legitimate reason for recording business calls such as using the recordings for training or to help motive your sales team. It’s is especially true if you have customer service reps answering the phone from a call queue or training or an “escalated” customer call. The recordings allow you to hear everything in real-time, just as it happened, in the event of a conflict.

Call Recording is a service offered by many VoIP hosted PBX services that make it easier to:

  • Monitor your employees’ communications with customers, and ensure that they are following company policies
  • Improve your service or product
  • Create and improve customer personas
  • Track important customer metrics and data
  • Protect your company and employees in dispute resolution in a conflict between a customer and an employee

Mitigating conflict with a customer or employee is easy with a recording of the interaction. Before you record your first business call, you must make sure that your company uses it correctly and complies with applicable laws.

What The Law Says

Like anything else, it’s vital to follow the laws in your state. Federal law requires that at least one participant in the call consents to allow the recording.

Thirty-eight states have laws that are similar to federal law. That is, only one party has to consent to record the call. But in 11 other states, all parties have to give consent first:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

Although known as “two-party” rules, calls with more than two individuals must have consent from all attendees before starting.

Vermont has never passed a state statute on consent. So federal law applies to calls in or out of Vermont and requires one party to consent to the call recording. Massachusetts prohibits recordings made in secret rather than require the consent of all parties.

Different State Rules

Recording a phone call can become complicated if a person in a one-party state engages with a person in a two-party state and vice versa. Ideally, those calls should follow the “two-party” rule.

Violating the laws surrounding recording calls can lead to lawsuits, fines, and even criminal charges. California, which requires two-party consent, has strict laws surrounding the recording of calls. Someone not notified of the recording beforehand can sue for criminal and civil charges.

Recording a call by someone who is not a party usually falls under wiretapping, including:

  • A private conversation that one would not normally overhear
  • Recording a discussion that’s private or a phone call that one is not involved in
  • Recording a call without consent from at least one party
  • Placing a recording device in a phone (or a place) to secretly record a conversation without either party’s permission

Your company’s legal counsel can offer guidance on compliance for recording your company’s business calls

From Where Are They Calling?

Mobile devices and VOIP make it harder to figure out the caller’s location.

You may make or receive a call with a specific area code, but that caller may or may not there. For instance, a call to or from a phone number in the 480 area code only means that the number is from Phoenix, AZ. The caller on the other end may be:

  • Relocated from Phoenix to another city or state
  • Living in Phoenix but on business or personal travel out of the state and using their cell phone
  • Using a VOIP number from a company that’s located in Phoenix but is working remotely in a two-party state like Montana

So employees should never make assumptions based on a caller’s phone number.

The easiest way to get consent to record sales calls involving two-party consent states is simply to ask. Build call recording disclosures into your phone scripts to ensure reps are asking at the beginning of the conversation.

Examples of Compliant Call Recording Disclosure Scripts

The easiest way to get consent to record sales calls involving two-party consent states is simply to ask. Build call recording disclosures into your phone scripts to ensure reps are asking at the beginning of the conversation.

Here are examples of compliant call recording disclaimers in action:

“Hello, this is [name] calling from [company] on a recorded line…”

The benefit to this version is it’s unobtrusive. When reps master sounding natural with this new opening, most prospects will carry on with the conversation without hesitation.

“Hi, this is [name]. May I record this call so I can complete my notes later?”

This version allows reps to get explicit consent from the other parties. When you provide reasoning for your ask, 93% of the time you will get a positive response.

Another way to ask for permission: “Do you mind if I record this call so I can focus on the conversation and check my notes later.”

Tips For Recording Business Calls

Once you know your state’s laws for recording calls to and from your business, there are some other tips.

  1. Identify everyone on the call. Whether it’s two individuals or several, ensure that you have everyone identified once the recording begins.
  2. Listen carefully and speak clearly. Part of the reason to record a call is for a later review. Make sure you can be heard and understood easily.
  3. Don’t multitask during the call. Give your full attention so that you don’t miss anything or make any unnecessary noise.
  4. Always be respectful and keep a polite tone of voice. You don’t want to sound aggressive or overly anxious.
  5. Be honest, and don’t hide the fact that you’re recording. Secret recordings can get you or your company into trouble. Put everyone on notice that the call is being recorded.

Backing Up Your Recordings

How do you preserve these recordings for future use, or if necessary, litigation? One way is to use a flash drive on your VoIP phone, another is to store the recordings in the cloud via a hosted VoIP provider.

Polycom makes phones that offer an easy way to record your calls. These models:

  • Poly VVX-401 and 411
  • Poly VVX-501
  • Poly VVX-600/601
  • Poly IP-7000 SoundStation for conference rooms

Allow for local voice recording with any USB flash drive. It’s fast, efficient, and easy to transfer or store to the cloud.

If you are using a VoIP Hosted PBX provider, they will store your recordings for you in the cloud for a limited number of days. Be sure and ask your provider how to access them, and how long they will be stored.

Conclusion

It is legal to record phone calls under specific conditions. As a service, it’s both a helpful tool for customer service and recordkeeping and compliance. If you announce that the call is being recorded, you are taking the necessary step to cover your compliance with “two-party” rules. Always consult with your lawyer to be sure you are following all the state and federal laws regarding recording business phone calls.

Call Recording is a valuable service that can help you run your small business more efficiently and help you compete with the big guys. One way to get this service as well as over 50 free features is if you sign up for a VoIP phone system with Press8 Telecom. In addition, you can receive the recording immediately once the call is complete. Recordings are stored in a standard .wav format and available for download or listening for 30 days. Need to keep them longer? You can keep them for up to 90 days for just $9.99 a month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To