Firstly . . . bullshit. If your call was being recorded for “quality and training” purposes, with the volume of customer calls that are recorded each day, there’d be a lot better-trained call centre operators, with a lot better manners, offering more efficient service than is my regular experience.
So, a strong word to those organisations and agencies that feel the need to record every word spoken by their (paying) customers: Let’s have a bit more honesty, eh?
Secondly . . . privacy: Your right to it, your right to know, and your reciprocal rights.
This is a real hot button for me. Why? Because I see so many organisations today taking real liberties with your and my privacy. Running roughshod over our right to it. And taking an almost bullying approach to their (supposed) right to do so, in many instances.
They also act on the assumption that you have no awareness of your own rights (including your reciprocal rights). Or at least, no will to act on them.
That assumption – in the case of this little black duck – is deeply flawed.
This will be an ongoing series in which, as I go about my own daily life and experiences, I take the opportunity to pose perfectly reasonable queries to enterprises and agencies – both large and small – on your behalf.
So . . . here we go.
This morning, I called a company that has a name to the effect of “Brand Developers & Wholesalers (the outgoing voice message is too rapid to pick up the last part of the name)”.
And I heard the now-common pre-message before the phone was answered: “Your call will be recorded for quality and training purposes.”
Some Perfectly Reasonable Questions
Here are some of the very specific questions I have of the large and growing number of organisations that take this highly privacy-erosive and presumptuous approach.
Again, they’re all perfectly reasonable:
1) Is the reason you are recording my call with you, genuinely for “quality and training purposes” – and/or for something else?
2) What happens to these recordings? Where are they stored? How long are they stored? What is the full list of parties (at a company and an individual level) that have access to these recordings – both immediately and over time?
3) What if I don’t like the thought that every conversation I have with your organisation is recorded? (Again, I don’t know who listens to it, why, and I certainly don’t remember every personal detail I’ve disclosed to you during the course of the call.) Do I have the right to refuse permission for the conversation to be recorded?
4) If I do have the right to refuse permission, why do you not disclose this (for those organisations that don’t disclose it)?
5) If you can record me, can I record you? If not, why not?
I decided today was the day to crack out my own trusty little voice recorder and ask these questions.
So back to my call to the above-mentioned company. Here’s what transpired:
(Initial dialogue regarding the product I called to order.)
JK: I have a question for you. Why do you find it necessary – point of interest – to record all of your customer’s calls?
Company rep: For legal reasons.
JK: For legal reasons?
Company rep: You are warned of that as well. Like, when you call, they do say that the call is recorded.
JK: They do, but what they say is that they’re recorded for “quality and training purposes” – not, in fact, for legal purposes. That doesn’t seem very upfront to me.
Company rep: For legal reasons meaning that, if you call us and wanted to purchase a product and you say you were promised something by a sales agent, like a deal, we can check the call recordings. That’s the law. Nothing dodgy about that. Most companies have that system.
JK: Sure. But I bring you back to the fact that you say . . . And by the way, I’m recording this conversation.
Company rep: Do you know it’s illegal to record a conversation without someone’s permission?
JK: Well, I’m telling you now. Do I have your permission?
Company rep: No, you don’t.
JK: OK, well then you don’t have my permission to record this conversation with you, either.
Company rep: I’m terminating the call. Thank you.
So, folks. That left pretty well every question either un-asked or un-answered . . . apart from confirming the obvious: That the standard line, “This call will be recorded for quality and training purposes” is about as honest as Christmas in July.
My mission continues. Stay tuned.