Keep CARM and talk smarter

31st October 2015 |   Dr Rein Sikveland and Elizabeth Stokoe

Researchers from Loughborough University suggest that commercial sales “scripts”, and a great deal of communication training, fail to identify what really works to convert callers to clients and optimize the customer experience. Here, they explore evidence-based training for sales conversations – the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method.

Keep CARM and talk  smarter

How do you know that your telephone sales calls, “recorded for training purposes”, are working to maximise conversion rates from caller to client or optimize the customer experience? Customer feedback is always gathered after the actual interaction between company and customer has happened. A company may have good or bad satisfaction ratings, but what conversational practices make the difference in those ratings?

The science of conversation

As conversation analysts, we research recordings of real talk, in real time, across all kinds of organizations and workplace settings. By scientifically studying the micro patterns in interaction that most of us don’t even notice, we can identify what is “effective” in “effective communication”.

Research Associate at Loughborough University

Dr Rein Sikveland is a Research Associate at Loughborough University. His expertise is in conversation analysis, phonetics and linguistics. Following his PhD at the University of York, he researched call-centre interactions as part of his postdoctoral training at the University of Oxford. Dr Sikveland currently studies the interactional management in phone conversations between the public and commercial, health and mediation services. His research is currently applied to the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method.

Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University

Elizabeth Stokoe is Professor of Social Interaction in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, UK. She analyses the science of interaction in settings including police interrogations, sales calls and initial inquiries to services including mediation and doctors’ surgeries, and has published extensively in these areas. She runs workshops with mediators, doctors, police and other professionals using her research-based communication training method CARM. Her research and biography was the subject of BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific in 2013. She has lectured at TEDx (2014) and the Royal Institution (2015), and CARM has recently won a WIRED Innovation Fellowship (2015).