Importance of Non-Verbal Elements

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We know the importance of non-verbal cues in our in-person interactions. What about non-verbal cues during caller-agent interactions?

When we communicate with callers, words are are the non-verbal elements of the interaction. The structure of an interaction is as important as the content.

Transactional Essentials: Structure

English is a highly structured language.  In the USA, we live in a highly structured Subject-Verb-Object culture. We stay in lines, wait our turn, take numbers at the deli counter, stop at red traffic lights, etc.

Transactional structure has a significant impact on transactional outcomes. Persuasion is not just what is said, timing is also extremely important. Transactional structure is a strong predictor of an interaction's outcome. 

At Call Intelligence we segment transactions into three time frames or Phases; Trajectory, Sell/Solve, and Summarize. Each Phase is further broken into CallSteps, structural markers that have enumerative as well positional significance.

Structure: Enumerative Value

We track 10 CallSteps, each with a value of 1. Every transaction should include (enumerative sum) at least 5 of the 10. At a macroscopic level (we go many levels deeper), we break samples into those with < 5 CallSteps, and ≥ 5 CallSteps. As Chart 1 demonstrates, transactions with ≥5 CallSteps have significantly better outcomes (and revenue effects.)

Chart 1 - Effects of Macroscopic Structure on Transactional Outcomes


(1.) Sales Transactions - There is a 27% increase in sales conversions, in transactions that included ≥ 5 CallSteps (59% of the sample.)

(2.) Retention Transactions - There is a 19% increase in retained subscribers, in transactions that included ≥ 5 CallSteps (22% of the sample.)

(3.) Effect on Revenue (not Shown) - There is a 44% increase in revenue/sales in sales transactions that included ≥ 5 CallSteps. There is a 83% increase in revenue retained in transactions that included ≥ 5 CallSteps

Structure: Positional Value

Each of the 10 CallSteps. has an positional value (location within an interaction.) Position is very important, though, it's somewhat subordinate to  enumerative value, (e.g. Where we put the roof on our house is conditioned on the fact that we have a roof.) Transactions must build to a desired conclusion. Lacking order, call transactions meander, lose momentum, and get lost. As we have demonstrated in prior emails, calls lacking a strong trajectory often fail to produce the desired outcome. 

See: "Transactional Anatomy: 1st Two Minutes'

Transactional Analytics is the study of the structure, content, and outcomes of interactions between callers and the systems/personnel that handle their requests.

Call Intelligence is a Transactional Intelligence and Design Consultancy with over 23 years working on projects for the public and private sectors. We analyze voice interaction to determine how transactional structures, techniques, and tactics effect the outcomes.