Prompt Tuning Issues

Common Prompt Tuning Issues

Effective prompt design for speech recognition software takes time and practice — some errors will not present themselves until the prompts are tested. There are, however, some common issues that arise when tuning prompts, which should help streamline your prompt design and tuning process.

Here's what you should do when callers...

...Give long, perplexing answers

Callers continuously give full sentence answers instead of short, to the point answers. Typically, this occurs because the prompt asks a very open–ended question, such as "How may I help you?" Avoid these open–ended prompts; callers usually do not know what responses are appropriate at particular points in the call. The only real solution when this error occurs is to redesign the prompt to be more specific, or redesign the interaction to focus caller responses on specific tasks.

...Answer with Out–of–Grammar (OOG) Phrases

Callers regularly use a particular phrase that is not in the grammar. Prompts are designed to elicit particular pieces of information from the caller. Because of this, the prompts usually try to lead the caller to use the correct words or phrases to minimize recognition errors and caller confusion. When callers regularly use Out–of–Grammar phrases, it's usually because the prompt leads them to the wrong phrases. Two choices are available: include the Out–of–Grammar phrases, or revise the prompt to more obviously reflect available options.

...Answer Randomly, or "Hunt" for the Right Phrase

Unclear, incomplete prompts force the caller to search unnecessarily for the correct response. Adding clarifying information will generally fix this problem.

...Answer "Yes" or "No," Instead of Expected Content

If callers respond "yes" or "no" when the prompt requests a content word, a poorly designed prompt is responsible. For example, the prompt might ask a question like "Do you want..." or "Would you like..." and pauses after the first choice. The pause can be long enough to make the caller believe the desired answer is "yes" or "no," rather than a list of choices.

Similarly, multi–item lists may pause too long at later points, as in, "Would you like pizza, soft drinks, or side items?" Generally, we recommend that you reserve "Do" and "Would" lead–offs for questions that require "yes" or "no" answers.

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