Strategie Vocali di operatori Esperti e Non esperti di Call Center di aiuto. I dati di una ricerca

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Voice strategies of expert and non-expert operators of help call centers. The data of a research

Raffaella Pellegrini, Maria Rita Ciceri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


[Autom. eng. transl.] The analysis of the paralinguistic and verbal aspects of empathic communication has received little attention in the scientific literature. This study analyzes how, in realistic conversations of help telephony, both components vary according to the subjects' experience and the quality of the interlocutor's attunement: "divergent / resentment" ("you don't understand me") vs convergent / thanks ("I was right to call you!"). A corpus of 80 conversations was collected (16:42 h) among 40 subjects (20 expert operators; 20 inexperienced) and 2 actors (male and female) interpreting a track characterized by 2 different modes of tuning (divergent / convergent). At the end of the procedure both interlocutors completed a questionnaire on the effectiveness of communication tuning strategies (QA). We have adopted a multilevel analysis model which considered: 1) the verbal level; 2) the paralinguistic level; 3) the level of effectiveness. From QA was derived 1 index of effectiveness of communication tuning strategies. From the transcripts, subdivided into 4 phases (presentations, exploration of the problem, attunement), 3 verbal indexes were extracted: number of words, word shifts and questions. The recordings extracted, for both speakers, mean and ds of frequency and vocal intensity of the first sentence pronounced (baseline), of the overall conversation and of the tuning section. The results reveal: 1) as regards the effectiveness, a use of communication strategies of emotional attunement with the interlocutor tend to be more effective on the part of the experts; 2) with regard to verbal indices, more frequent interventions (F = 5.88; df = 1; p <0.05), more questions (F = 10.44; df = 1; p <0.01) longer (F = 23.82; df = 1; p <0.001) by the experts with respect to the inexperienced; in particular an average number of interventions (F = 5.95; df = 3; p≤0.001) and of questions (F = 3.02; df = 3; p <0.05) in particular long ones (F = 67.59; df = 3; p < 0.001) significantly higher in the phase characterized by divergence with respect to convergence. 3) with regard to paralinguistic indices, the same use of the voice by the actors with respect to the two subsamples (confirmation of experimental validity); compared to the whole conversation, mean values of F0 more severe (F = 7.314; df = 1; p <0.01) and greater ds (F = 4.669; df = 1; p> 0.05) in the experts compared to the inexperienced, in particular in case of divergence (F = 5.04; df = 1; p> 0.05). Finally, a significantly more acute F0 in the baseline (F = 21.087; df = 3; p> 0.001) than in the whole conversation and in the tuning phase, tendentially homogeneous between them. The results show that the situation of divergence engages the subject more than that of convergence both verbally (the speech is more displacing, interventions increase and more questions are asked to maintain contact with the user) than paralinguistic. Nevertheless the speaker's expertise has a greater weight than the tuning modality in the communication strategies modulation at both levels: a strategy that has a greater interactivity in the conversation and a more severe and more varied use of the voice is evaluated as more effective. . The lowering of F0 during the conversation can also be interpreted, referring to literature, as a manifestation of confidence and emotional closeness (Ciceri and Anolli, 1992). The consideration of the interactions between the two vocal codes therefore appears fruitful to deepen the study of the characteristics empathic communication.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Voice strategies of expert and non-expert operators of help call centers. The data of a research
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationContatti sul filo: call center tra moderne e tradizionali modalità di comunicazione
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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