This Conversation May be Recorded to Ensure Quality

This conversation may be recorded to ensure quality.”

We’ve all heard that phrase before when we are about to be connected with customer service or a help line of some sort. But I never really thought about what it might mean.

Well, it turns out that there is a psychologist and researcher in England (Elizabeth Stokoe) who analyzes real call/conversation data to identify communication road... and effective ways of avoiding or resolving them.

The example I am going to write about here is her research about talking to a potential client about using mediation. If you aren’t a mediator, please don’t tune out because this approach has implications for everything from sales calls to doctor/patient interactions to police interrogations.

It’s the power of just a slight change in the approach.

Most people don’t really know what mediation is when they call a mediator. They are in some kind of a conflict and are looking for a better alternative than going to court or avoiding the other person for the rest of their life.  They hope that the mediator will call the other person and see if he/she is interested in mediating the dispute. And it is often in this attempt that the potential of mediation is lost.

Hanging vintage phone receiver over a grunge backgroundWhy?

Because the mediator dutifully goes through the explanation of what mediation is … including the process and other features like it’s voluntary and the mediator is ‘neutral’ and won’t make a decision for the parties.  And then asks whether the person might be interested in trying it.

Prof. Stokoe’s research shows that just a small shift in asking the question made it more successful.

If the question asked is whether the person is “willing” to mediate, it was found that even resistant callers agreed to give it a try.

I don’t know about you … but I find that totally fascinating … that making such a small shift can make such a big difference.


P.S. Listen to Prof. Stokoe’s Tedx Talk by clicking here.

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