How to record a phone call header

If you’ve ever called a customer service line before, chances are you’ve been told that they may record your call to help them improve the quality of their customer service.

As it turns out, that’s a common business strategy—and it makes sense. If you have access to all of your old calls, you can listen back to them and take notes to find ways to improve your customer service on the phone.

That’s just one example of the many reasons you might need to record a phone call. Not all of them are always business-related either. (After all, when Adele calls to say Hello, you’ll want to make sure you catch that on a recording, or your friends won’t believe you later.)

Long story short, recording phone calls can be very useful, especially in a business context. But to do it, you'll want to make sure you’ve got access to some kind of call recording software—oh, and hot tip: the really great call recording software software options out there can do a lot more than just record calls.

Dialpad is an example of that kind of software that's designed to make recording calls easy for you, but we'll get more into that later. In this post, we'll go through:

But first, let's look at some important details about recorded calls. Namely: When should you be recording your phone conversations? And are there any legal constraints involved? Let’s dive right in and take a look at both of those questions first.

When would you need to record a phone call?

While there’s many different reasons why you might want to record a phone call, let's look at three of the most common ones that come up in business.

1. Training

The first one, and the one you might have heard while you were calling customer service lines, is training.

Phone calls are often recorded to help companies train their new employees. After all, what’s a better way of preparing you for the kinds of things you’ll hear over the phone... than to hear them?

New employees aren’t the only ones who can benefit from training either. When it comes to customer service, you can never perfectly predict which questions an employee will have to answer. That means that if one employee takes a particularly unusual or difficult call, it can be very useful to play that call back to their coworkers so everyone’s prepared if that question or situation comes up again.

👉 Dialpad tip: Dialpad helps a lot here, by allowing agents to listen to call recordings from a chat thread or their list of call recordings in the Dialpad app:

listening to call recordings in dialpad app

(They can even download them to listen to later. That means less time searching for recordings in old email threads or folders, and more time actually learning from the recordings.)

2. Monitoring performance

Another very common reason why you’d want to record a phone call is for performance ratings and reviews. If you run a call center, this is a key reason to record your agents’ phone calls, because it gives you an easy way to assess how they're doing. You can do it weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. Super useful if you're looking for better ways to manage your call center or contact center.

Not only does this help you gauge your customer service team and help them keep growing within their roles, recording calls can be useful for other areas of your business too.

For example, let’s say you record a conference call that was set up to help employees learn about the ins and outs of a new feature or product that your company is releasing. When you listen back to the recording, you notice that some people were asking helpful questions and pointing out things that weren't obvious or that could help you make improvements to that feature proactively.

So, when it comes to performance ratings, evaluations, and assessments, when should you record calls? The answer is: Whenever you need to! But especially if your company is on the phones every day with customers or prospects. Every call is a learning opportunity for not only your agents but also your company as a whole, and there's a ton of learning and insight that you can glean from recording these calls.

3. Complaints and compliance

Another reason you want to record calls pretty much all the time is so you have evidence in case things do go south on a client call or if any investigations crop up. If someone claims you or one of your coworkers said something on the phone, and you have evidence to prove them wrong, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your business.

👉 Dialpad tip: Some recording software options have an automatic recording feature, which can be very useful, but you need to be able to easily toggle them on and off (for legal or security reasons).

Legalities of phone call recording

Ah, now the fun part. Speaking of evidence and lawsuits, it’s important to know the legalities of recording phone calls. These vary depending on which state you’re in, and each one has both local laws and state laws about call recording.

You’ve got to know these for your state, so that you know exactly when and how to let your customers know they’ll be recorded.

Some states only legally require one-party consent, meaning that if either you or the person you’re calling consents to the use of a call recorder, you’re good to go.

Other states aren’t quite as lenient. If you’re in California or Massachusetts, for example, you need to have the consent of both parties before you’re allowed to start recording. This is called two-party consent:

call recording legalities in fifty states

Privacy is another factor you’ve got to consider, legally speaking. (Legal website covers this in more detail.) The short version is that many states only require explicit consent to be given if the person who’s being recorded has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Meaning, they’re making the call in a private place like their own house, instead of a public space.

But... once again, the tricky thing with the rules surrounding privacy is that they're not the same in every state. Some states don’t use that model at all, while others focus pretty heavily on it.

Things get even more complicated when you start to bring interstate calls into the equation. While it’s generally true that the rules tend to apply to the state in which the call recording app is being used, it seems unnecessarily risky to assume you’re working with one-party consent if there’s even a small chance that you’re actually subject to the two-party version.

👉 Dialpad tip: The safest thing to do when recording calls is to explicitly ask for permission to record the call every time. That way, you don’t run the risk of accidentally breaking any laws—and you have a legal defence on the off chance that the person you’re calling tries to claim that you did.

How to record a phone call on your computer

Now that we’ve covered both when you should record phone calls and when you’re allowed to, let's look at how to do it.

If you're regularly taking calls on your computer, then the best way to record these calls is through some kind of call recording app.

We'll show you how it works using the Dialpad desktop app as an example, but the overall process is pretty similar no matter what app or software you use. (You can record calls on the Dialpad phone app too.)

One of the perks of using Dialpad is that it lets you record your calls whether they’re incoming or outgoing. That means you don’t have to go looking for two separate providers for those two types of calls—which, of course, streamlines the whole recording process.

Enabling office-wide call recording

Whether you’re an admin or not, Dialpad’s office-wide call recording ability lets you easily record HD conference calls. (Y'know, just in case someone misses an important team meeting and you want to have the recording for them to review later.)

The way it works is that the admin of an office can enable features for everyone on the account. For example, an admin can switch on the automatic call recorder function for main lines, departments, and/or call centers. They can also allow you to record calls through your number's direct line.

To enable individual call recording is as simple as checking two boxes in Dialpad:

office wide call recording feature in dialpad app

You'll also have the option to let the caller know that they’re being recorded. If you turn this option on, then what happens is that everyone on the call will hear “This call is being recorded” (in a very soothing voice, we might add) when you hit the "Record call" button.

If you don’t want to use this feature, you can turn it off with the click of a button. (But to be safe, we generally recommend turning this on.)

Having an office-wide system or app for recording calls can make life just a little bit easier for your team. For starters, even if someone hasn’t used Dialpad or whatever tool you're using before, anyone can explain how it works to them. The record button will be in the same place on everyone’s screens, and the voicemail function will work the same way for everybody. (That makes explaining how it works a lot easier.)

With an office-wide tool, it also makes sharing the call recordings easier. With Dialpad, for instance, that means that all your teammates can play your audio file on the Dialpad app. And since the app works across iOS, Android, PC, and Mac, you’ll have file sharing compatibility across all of your devices. Just imagine: No more frustrating moments when the file that plays just fine on your phone won’t work on your coworker’s laptop.

Call center call recording

Dialpad also lets you set up call recording for a call center, if you need that feature for your business.

Dialpad’s call recording software actually has special features that are designed specifically for recording call center calls. Just like the office-wide call recording feature, the call center recording function works for both inbound and outbound calls:

automatic inbound and outbound call recording feature in dialpad

Dialpad Ai Contact Center
even lets you create a list of exceptions to the "automatically record" rule. For example, if you’ve got a repeat client who’s told you that they’re not okay with being recorded, you can add their phone number to the exceptions list to make sure their calls never get recorded.

👉 Dialpad tip: In Dialpad, it’s also possible to only record the agent’s side of the conversation, if you want. That way, you can have a record of what your agent said, while still letting the customer’s answer stay unrecorded.

The other neat thing about Dialpad is that you can even create a playlist of call recordings to help with coaching your agents:

creating a call recording playlist in dialpad app

How to record a phone call on Android: 2 main options

Now, we'll show you how you can record phone calls using an Android device.

Now, Android phones don’t come with built-in call recording software, unfortunately. That means you’ll have to use an external recorder like Google Voice or other third-party apps.

Of course, you need to know which kinds of calls you’re going to be recording first. Some software is better with incoming calls, while other options are ideal for recording outgoing calls. It’s also worth keeping in mind that not every Android device works the same, and what’s great for your Samsung Galaxy might not work for a Google Pixel.

Let's look more closely at two options: Google Voice and third-party apps. (External recorders can be helpful, but you don’t always want to be stuck having yet another piece of hardware to set up with your device. That’s why we’ll stick to software options.)

1. Google Voice

Anyone with access to the Play Store can use the Google Voice app, which is designed to help you record incoming calls:

google voice call recording app

Once you’ve downloaded the Android app version of Google Voice, it’s a pretty simple matter to start recording calls. All you need to do is tap the icon in the top-left corner, find Settings, and turn on "Incoming Call Options."

The way it works is also pretty straightforward.

  1. You just need to take a call, and
  2. Press the number ‘4’ on your keypad, which will start the recording.

Both you and the person who’s calling you will then hear a message letting you know that the call is being recorded—which is one last handy reminder to ask for the other person’s consent before you record.

When you’re about to end the call, press the ‘4’ key again and the recording will stop. You can, of course, also stop part-way through the call if you need to.

Google Voice sends the finished recording to your inbox once you do press that ‘4’ key a second time. You can download it to your computer from here, or listen to it right in the inbox. If you have a Google Drive account, you can save the recordings there as well.

One thing to keep in mind with Google Voice is that it’s only able to record incoming calls, not outgoing ones. If you need to record the calls you make to other people, then creating a Google Voice account isn’t the right choice for you.

2. A third-party app

Unlike Google Voice, some third-party Android apps are able to record both incoming and outgoing calls. One example of an app that can do both is the Dialpad for Android App.

To record a call or pause recording on the Dialpad app, all you have to do is tap the "REC ON / REC OFF" button:

recording a call in dialpad android app

The completed recordings are all saved to your inbox in the app, where you can play them back anytime:

call recordings saved in dialpad android app

(You can also download the recordings from your Dialpad desktop app.)

Unlike Google Voice, Dialpad’s app includes a messaging feature too, which is really useful if you work in a customer service team. If you’ve just taken a particularly important or unusual customer call, you might want to tell your team about it right away.

Being able to message your team and share that recording in the same app that you used to record the call? That makes things much easier (and that's how our team does it too!)

How to record a phone call on an iPhone

If you're on an Apple device, you can download a voice recorder app that’s specifically designed with Mac products in mind, like Tapeacall or Dialpad for iOS:

dialpad for iOS app

Something for iPhone users to keep in mind is that Apple blocks third-party access to its products’ microphones, and that this applies to every iPhone and iPad out there.

In other words, a call recorder app that works for an Android device might not work for a Mac product. That’s why it’s doubly important to use software that works around this limitation. Like Dialpad!

So how does that work if Apple's blocking the mic? Well, an app can still record calls on iOS-based devices—by creating a kind of three-way call. It does this by merging your call into the recording line, which counts as a third line joining the call. That third line can then record both of the other parties throughout the call. You’ll be able to access your call recording within the app after you hang up.

The best apps even make it possible to see a transcription of your call in real time and download it for review later. This makes it much easier to look back through old calls when you’re searching for something specific that a customer said.

In the Dialpad app, you can just check off a box to turn the transcription feature (using our Voice Intelligence, or Vi, which transcribes even more accurately than Google) on:

turning call transcriptions on in dialpad app

2 call recording best practices

1. Treat it like an in-person conversation

One of the best tricks you should keep in mind when you’re making calls that'll be recorded is to treat the conversation as though it were happening face-to-face. That is to say, use the same etiquette rules you’d stick to if you were speaking to someone in person.

Imagine the person on the other end could see you as well as they would if you were in a video conference, and then act accordingly.

Why, you may ask? The answer is simple: It’s a psychological trick to make your brain behave as appropriately and alertly as you would if someone could really see you while you're talking to them.

If you knew you were about to be recorded in a video call, you'd be more likely to straighten up, make sure your clothes looked neat, and put on your best smile (we hope). And that can influence how professionally your voice comes across in that conversation.

Essentially, it’ll encourage you to act as business-appropriately as you can. That can only be a good thing, especially when those recordings might be stored in the company system for a long long time. Doing this will help you make the best possible impression on customers and fellow employees alike.

2. Make sure your internet connection is reliable

Another great practice to adopt when it comes to call recording, especially if you're doing it frequently, is something that many people overlook: Check your Wi-Fi connection before the call starts.

If you're using a phone system or call recording software that's VoIP-based, then it needs an internet connection to work. If you go into each call with the firm knowledge that your Wi-Fi connection is reliable, then that's one less thing to worry about on the call.

It’s a waste to use a great software or app, and then not end up with great recordings—just because you forgot to wiggle the router cable a little. Make sure you test your internet speed and buy any Wi-Fi boosters if you need them. (If you're a work-from-agent, we'd also suggest that you find an alternative way of accessing the internet, just in case. Ethernet cables are a good backup.)

Before you start recording phone calls...

In the end, there are a few things to keep in mind as you go forward and get ready to record your next (or maybe your first) call.

Firstly, if nothing else, make sure you remember to ask for people’s consent before you record them. If the fact that it’s polite isn’t enough to convince you, just remember how many different rules there are surrounding explicit consent.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve chosen the right software to record your calls. You could have separate tools to record inbound and outbound calls… Or you could make things simpler and use something like Dialpad instead. (We also have a free trial that you can try before committing to anything.)

And that's it—you're ready to go. Happy recording!

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