9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

How Do the Elderly Talk to a Natural Language Call Routing System?

Knut Kvale, Ragnhild Halvorsrud

Telenor Research & Innovation, Norway

This paper investigates spontaneous utterances in response to a telecom IVR prompting the caller with "Please tell me in a few words what your inquiry is about". In responses from a typical caller base (n=29830, age-mixed) the median utterance length was 3 words. A qualitative analysis (n=74) of senior speakers (age 70+) and adult speakers (age 50 and below) revealed that seniors were significantly more verbose (median of 11 and 3 words per utterance, respectively). The seniors generally expressed themselves more formally than those below 50. Our findings suggest that some seniors confuse the IVR with a telephone answering machine.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kvale, Knut / Halvorsrud, Ragnhild (2008): "How do the elderly talk to a natural language call routing system?", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 530-533.