How “Interactivity” and “Longest Customer Story” Impact Ticket Size

Coach your team on how to improve the two key metrics to increase time in home: interactivity and longest customer story.
Rilla Team
 min read
Today’s Rilla Report shares insights we gathered from 23,244 conversations from September 1st, 2023 to March 19th, 2024. Through Rilla’s platform, we analyzed conversations from sales reps in the home remodeling industry. These reps speak with customers in their homes with the goal of selling big-ticket home remodeling projects like windows, siding, retail roofing, bath remodeling, and kitchen remodeling.

RIlla Team
Data Analysis Team

Here’s the bottom line: more time in the customer’s home leads to a higher average ticket. Spending anywhere from zero to 30 minutes in the home leads to an average of $3,809 USD per ticket. Compare that to an average of $17,000 USD when a rep spends three hours or more in the home. 

If you want your reps to close larger deals, have them spend more time in their client’s home during a sales visit. 

Now that you know to aim for a longer time in the home, how do you coach your team to do so? The data shows there are two key levers to pull: “interactivity” and “longest customer story.” 

Both of these are data points you can track using Rilla.

What is Interactivity and Longest Customer Story?

Before we dive into the numbers, let’s first define these two data points so you know what you’re tracking in Rilla. 

Interactivity is the average number of speaker changes within each minute of a conversation. 

High interactivity is a sign of an engaged and interactive conversation between the rep and customer. As a result, your reps are spending more time in the customer’s home. And more time in the home means higher sales. 

Longest customer story is the term we coined to represent the longest amount of time customers spent talking to the sales rep without interruption.

A longer customer story gives the customer the time they need to express their needs and pain points. Just like interactivity, a longer customer monologue increases the time spent in home, increasing your average sales.

How Interactivity and Longest Customer Story impact Time in Home

Looking at Rilla’s data, it’s clear that when reps increased their interactivity and elicited longer customer monologues, they spent more time in the customer’s home.

Here’s a snapshot of how interactivity scores affect time in home:  

The average interactivity score is 2.25 speaker changes in each minute of conversation, which corresponds with an average time in home of almost 2 hours. 2.470 is the highest score on Rilla associated with the highest sales conversations. But a good goal for your reps is around a 2.3 score, which correlates with spending around two hours in the home. 

Our data also shows that higher interactivity tends to have a better talk ratio, with the rep speaking less than the customer. Interestingly, those with the highest interactivity also speak 2% slower than those with lower interactivity. 

You might expect faster speaking rates would lead to more interactions per minute. But fast speech can make a customer feel rushed or pressured. The data suggests it’s better to keep a slower, concise cadence.  

Here’s why aiming for high interactivity works:  

  • The customer is more engaged, leading to a higher level of trust.
  • The rep makes a more memorable and favorable impression by demonstrating their interest in hearing the customer’s perspective, not just selling to them. 
  • Reps tend to gather more information, which can help them identify additional buying signals and tailor their pitch more effectively.

Here’s a snapshot of how a longer customer story impacts time in home:  

In long conversations that lead to high average tickets, the average longest customer story is 5 mins. As you know, longer customer stories tend to generate better talk ratios, which tend to be better for sales. The longest customer story we’ve ever seen was 20 minutes, while the shortest ones are only 20 seconds long. The key is to find the sweet spot, aiming for at least an average of 5 minute monologues for your customers.  

Here’s why focusing on the longest customer story works:  

  • Customers with more time to speak feel like they have room to think without pressure.
  • Reps show customers they have their complete patience and attention.
  • Customers feel valued and respected.
  • Customers view reps as a trustworthy partner.

The data has spoken. Higher interactivity plus giving your customers the opportunity to share their story is the key to a longer sales call, and a higher ticket size.

How to Increase Interactivity and Longest Customer Story

Now, you might be thinking these two metrics are contradictory. But remember, in a sales conversation both these variables naturally happen. 

Reps typically start with high interactivity, bouncing questions and affirmations back and forth with the customer. This gets the ball rolling, builds rapport, and shows the customer interest and support. 

When the moment is right, the sales rep gives the customer space to share their needs, pain points, or concerns. This opens up the floor for a longer customer monologue.   

Both these pieces of the sales conversation are necessary to increase time in the home. 

To improve these metrics, you need to set goals, provide the right training, and use data to coach your reps. 

1. Set Your Metric Goals 

Set a goal to reach a high interactivity score and a long customer monologue. Your goals might depend on the starting points of how they’re currently performing. Or you might set the standard based on your top performers. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some target goals to aim for: 

  • For interactivity: A score of 2.3 or higher. 
  • For longest customer story: At least 5 minutes or longer.

As soon as you start recording calls with Rilla, our platform will track and provide you with this data.

2. Provide Tailored Training and Guidance  

We know you’ve already got your sales training dialed in. But here’s a few more specific tips on how to coach your teams on increasing interactivity and longest customer story: 

  • Conduct roleplaying exercises: Though roleplaying, reps learn how to identify whether it’s a moment for more interactivity or time to give space for customers to speak without interruption. 
  • Use Rilla to learn from others: Build a library made up of Rilla clips with high interactivity scores and long customer stories so reps can listen and learn. 
  • Provide scripts: Reps should know what types of phrases and clarifying and thoughtful questions spark interactivity and a longer customer monologue (Examples: "Tell me more", "walk me through", "help me understand."). 
  • Use Rilla trackers: Add trackers, which are scripted steps in your sales process that you can measure and track in Rilla. 
  • Build rapport early: Reps should reference prior exchanges later in the conversation to keep interactivity high.
  • Use verbal active listening for interactivity: Reps should reply with affirmative words like 'yup' or 'got you' to both validate the customer and directly influence the interactivity stat. 
  • Use nonverbal active listening for longest customer story: Reps should use nonverbal cues like nodding, smiling, indicating agreement, and using silence and hand gestures to encourage more. 

3. Use the Data to Improve Interactivity Performance

After sales calls, listen to the call on Rilla and review the interactivity and longest customer story scores. Discuss what was done well, and what can be improved to get  higher scores. This feedback and learning process loop can help field sales reps improve. 

Here are some common mistakes reps make:   

  • Interject instead of staying silent and waiting a bit longer for the customer to think through and continue speaking. 
  • Miss opportunities to encourage and elicit more details from the customer. 
  • Lack enough follow up questions that help build rapport. 
  • Move too fast to get to the sales pitch. 
  • Mishandle objections by rambling rather than answering the question that the home-owner asked. 
  • Try to predict the customer’s next question rather than being patient and letting them ask it themselves.

Increase Time in Home, Increase Average Ticket

We probably sound like a broken record, but the data speaks for itself, and we speak on behalf of the data. More time in home increases the average ticket size. And the leading indicators to coach on for time in the home are interactivity and longest customer story.  

Remember, if you want to earn more time in the home (and increase those sales) it’s simple: keep up the interactivity, and when it’s right, invite them to tell you their story. Then show them how your business fits into it. 

With these coaching tools and Rilla along for the ride, you can track performance and train your reps so they hit their targets. If you want to learn more about how our customers increase their average ticket price with Rilla, check out our customer stories.


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