1.  Why record calls?


Call recording is used for a number of different reasons. It can help a company comply with regulations, prove compliance, pass legal controls, provide evidence of a business transaction, resolve disputes with customers, validate facts, support employee coaching, training or assessment, and ensure customer quality assurance.


In the case of resolving a dispute, when a company has a call recording system in place, it creates three outcomes for any customer dispute:

  • The ability to listen to the recording, see the customer is right, and resolve in the customer's favour.
  • The ability to see the customer is wrong, with the option of playing the call as evidence.
  • The ability to see no clear agreement was made due to miscommunication. For example: the customer states, "I will buy your service for $415.” The salesperson says “Great. I’ll charge your card for $450.” The customer replies, “Here is my credit card for $415.” The agent replies “Yes, we will charge $450”. With a recording it is possible to hear there was a miscommunication between both parties about the words ‘fifteen’ and ‘fifty'.


In the case of employee coaching, training or assessment, call recording and analysis allows the remote observation of:

  • People's competency in skills they have been trained in
  • People's knowledge and use of information they have been trained in
  • People's effectiveness in achieving results
  • The tone staff use when dealing with customers
  • How often salespeople interrupt customers who are talking
  • How well salespeople and support staff listen to customers
  • How professionally salespeople present value to customers
  • The extent to which salespeople ask customers to take action
  • Interviews that assess how recruits' skills compare to existing staff


2.   Is call recording legal for ROCKET coaching?


Yes. The interception, recording and monitoring of telephone calls is governed by a number of different pieces of legislation. In the UK these include the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ("RIPA”), Telecommunications Lawful Business Practice, Interception of Communications Regulations 2000 ("LBP Regulations”), the Data Protection Act 1998, the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999, and the Human Rights Act 1998. According to the Data Protection Act 1988, in order to record a call where the identity of either party involved in the call can be identified, you need to:


  • Inform the other party how the recording will be used
  • Store the data in a secure location, accessible upon request


3.  Is call recording ethical for ROCKET coaching?


Yes. The law states there is a clear distinction between what is and is not ethical when recording calls. If all parties involved in the call are aware that your company is in the habit of recording calls for specific purposes (such as coaching, customer service or dispute resolution) and the call is used internally, or with external coaches bound by nondisclosure agreements, or shared with the customer in question, there are no ethical issues.


It is unethical for a competitor to bug your offices or wiretap your telephone lines to learn your commercial secrets. By virtue of this example, the competitor was not a party in the original telephone call, nor would they have notified you that the call was being recorded. UK law rightly makes such third party interception, where neither party to the call knows that the call is being recorded, illegal.


4. Do I need to let people know I am recording my telephone conversation on a private home phone?


Yes. The relevant law, RIPA, does not prohibit individuals from recording private  calls as long as the recording is for their own use. Recording without notification is prohibited where the contents of the communication will be made available to a third party, i.e. someone who was neither the caller or sender nor the intended recipient of the private communication, such as a sales manager or coach. If you intend for calls from a home phone to be used for coaching purposes, always inform the other party your calls are recorded for quality and training purposes (as part of your introduction to the call, or as part of your literature to them).


5.  Do I need to let people know I am recording my telephone conversation on a company phone?


No, provided you are not intending to make the contents of the communication available to a third party. If you are, you will need to inform the other party that your calls are recorded for quality and training purposes. You can do this in your personal introduction to the call, as part of your literature to them, or as text in your signature. Where calls are recorded for use in a company coaching programme, see paragraph 7 below.


6.  Can a business or other organisation record my phone calls?


Yes, for reasons relevant to a business as defined by the LBP Regulations:

  • Providing evidence of a business transaction
  • Ensuring a business complies with regulatory procedures
  • Checking that quality standards or targets are met
  • Companies may monitor (but not record) phone calls or emails that have been received by their staff, to check they are relevant to the business. However, any interception of employees' communications must be proportionate and in accordance with Data Protection principles. The Information Commissioner has published a Data Protection Code on "Monitoring at Work". The Code is designed to help employers comply with the legal requirements of Data Protection Act 1988.


7.  Do companies need to tell people they are recording a call?


Yes. Advertisements that invite inbound calls, whether the advertisement appears in print, on television or radio, frequently carry a message to the effect that "calls may be recorded for monitoring and quality purposes". Notices may be given in literature, terms and conditions, email footers, letterheads or on websites or other media visible to customers, and construed as a reasonable attempt to inform the other party. For example, even Ofcom itself does not give an announcement that calls may be recorded, because they advertise it on their website in these words: "Please note that calls to the Contact Centre may be monitored or recorded”. This approach satisfies the requirement for inbound and outbound calls.


8.  Can a customer access my company’s recordings of them?


Yes. Customers have a legal right to apply to be given a copy of any recordings you make of them. The Data Protection Act provides the right to apply to organisations which hold personal information about you, using a 'subject access request’. This applies to private and public organisations, and may be billable.



9.  How long will my call recording be stored?


A minimum storage period for call recordings sometimes applies by industry. For example, the FCA policy document suggests five years be required by law in the financial services industry, where failure to deliver call recordings on request  can result in litigation. Companies in industries with no official storage rules typically choose a period that makes sense for their usage of the recordings.


10.  Factors in the growth of commercial recordings


Several factors have contributed to the growing practice of recording telephone conversations in the workplace. Within the financial services and some professional services or legal firms it has become widely accepted, even where it is not a regulatory requirement. The growth of contact centres has brought significant expansion in the amount of business being carried out via telephone. The need to ensure customer satisfaction, to train and supervise contact centre and sales staff to achieve quality targets, and keep a record of what was said in the event of a subsequent dispute or a need for the usage of voice analytics, have led to the widespread monitoring, recording and storage of calls.


11. Excerpts from Government Legislation


Where organisations desire to record phone calls, the rules under which they do so have been set by the Privacy of Messages condition of two telecoms class licences: the Self-Provision (SPL) and Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences. The most fundamental requirement of this condition is that every reasonable effort is made to inform all parties that a telephone conversation will be recorded. An extract of the Privacy of Messages condition of the Self-Provision (SPL) and Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences states:


  • "(7.1) The Licensee shall not use or allow to be used any Apparatus comprised in or connected to the Applicable Systems (except for Apparatus connected to or comprised in the Applicable Systems for the purpose of law enforcement or in the interest of national security) which is capable of recording, silently monitoring (except for monitoring where the meaningful content of the Message is not monitored) or intruding into Live Speech Telephone Calls, unless he complies with paragraphs 7.3 and 7.4. This paragraph shall not apply if the Licensee is an Emergency Organisation or if the Director has consented to the Licensee not complying with any or all of paragraphs 7.3 and 7.4 and has not withdrawn that consent.


  • (7.2) The provisions of each consent given under paragraph 7.1 shall be entered in the register kept by the Director for the purpose of section 19 of the Act.


  • (7.3) The Licensee shall make every reasonable effort to inform parties to whom or by whom a Live Speech Telephone Call is transmitted before recording, silent monitoring or intrusion into such Call has begun that the Live Speech Telephone Call is to be or may be recorded, silently monitored or intruded into.


  • (7.4) The Licensee shall maintain a record of the means by which parties to whom or by whom a Live Speech Telephone Call is transmitted have been informed that such Call is to be or may be recorded, silently monitored or intruded into. The Licensee shall furnish to the Director such information on request."


Ofcom provided an interpretation of the Privacy of Messages condition of the Self-Provision (SPL) and Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences in its "Explanatory Guide to the Self Provision Licence (SPL) and the Telecommunications Services Licence (TSL)” document, which states:


  • “18) The condition provides that you should make every reasonable effort to inform all parties to a call that it may or will be recorded, silently monitored or intruded into. The particular means by which you choose to do this are not specified in the condition. Acceptable options, depending on circumstances, might include warning tones, pre-recorded messages, spoken warnings by the operator or written warnings included in publicity material, telephone directories, contracts, terms of business, staff notices, etc. It may not always be possible to warn first-time callers with whom you have had no previous contact but what is important is that you have a systematic procedure in place which provides the necessary information wherever this is a realistic possibility.”


12. Laws and ethics of recording face-to-face conversations


MiFID II legislation in the EU mandates that workers in a growing number of industries record customer sales conversations using various means. In the United States, 38 States have “single-party” consent laws where anyone can record face-to-face conversations without the other party's consent. In the other 12 states, the customer must be informed of the recording orally or in print literature.


In most countries, face-to-face conversations are entitled to privacy unless held in a public or corporate setting where a “reasonable expectation of privacy” does not exist. Because there is no expectation of privacy in a public lobby, reception area, stairwell, conference room, production floor or office with the door open, recording conversations in these settings is legally permitted.


This freedom to record face-to-face and public dialogue is what allows students to make recordings of university lecturers, or allows members of the public to post recordings to social media outlets.  Businesspeople may legally record face-to-face meetings, as long as the recording device is visible, the act of recording is evident, and notice is given using one of the methods described on this page.


Salespeople who want to be absolutely certain a customer knows the conversation is being recorded should tell them, but we don't recommend making the topic a major part of the conversation lest it distract from the main reason for the meeting.  Two simple approaches are to say, "John, I'll be using my smartphone as a secretary today, so I don't miss anything you say" or "John, just so you know, my phone calls and customer meetings are recorded as part of our commitment to quality and coaching. It also means I won't miss anything you tell me, because I can refer to it later. So tell me about..."


There exists no ethical difference between having a face-to-face meeting and later telling a colleague about its details, and taping that face-to-face meeting and allowing a colleague to listen to the recording. It is the same as telling a colleague the contents of an email you’ve received, or letting them read it for themselves.