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What’s Legal in Recorded Mystery Shops?


We’ve seen an increase in the number of clients choosing to conduct video shops and/or recorded telephone call shops across many industries. These types of shops are excellent tools for training purposes, and allows clients to see (or hear) the interaction for themselves.


When clients start either program, they need to be aware of the consent laws for each state they do business in. Some states are one-party consent, meaning that only one of the parties involved in the conversation – in this case, the shopper – needs to give consent for the interaction to be recorded. In two-party states, all parties need to give consent.


The list of states that are considered two-party states, where all involved need to have consent in order to be recorded, include:


* California
* Connecticut
* Florida
* Illinois
* Maryland
* Massachusetts
* Michigan
* Montana
* Nevada
* New Hampshire
* Pennsylvania
* Washington


The remaining states are, at this time, one-party consent. How do you go about ensuring that you are following the laws of your state when moving forward with video and/or audio recorded shops?


1. Review your employee paperwork. Is there a disclosure in the handbook or other paperwork that employees sign stating that they are aware that they can be recorded at any time? If so, you should be okay.


2. Does your call center have a recorded disclaimer? You’ve likely heard the statement “This call may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes” when calling on various businesses. If your company has this in place, it’s a good disclosure to customers and a reminder to employees that they can be recorded.


3. Decide how to incorporate the disclosure into your new hire paperwork for future employees. You may need to create a consent form for current employees and hold staff meetings to alert them of the new process; however, make sure if you are mentioning that one of things that may be happening includes recorded mystery shops that you are presenting it in a positive light, just as you would when rolling out a traditional program.


Recorded shops bring mystery shopping to an entirely new level; considering this type of shop on an as-needed basis can really help pinpoint issues, gain information that can help in training procedures, and reaffirm the importance of utilizing a mystery shopping program within your company.