With phonetics to a new Search dimension

The phonetic search is an algorithm that can search and recognize strings, that are same or similarly pronounced. This algorithm categorizes under the hashing algorithms. In order to prepare for the search, the string of characters is recoded in such a way that as many similarities as possible can be recognized by utilizing heuristics and language-dependent rules.

Now we have succeeded in implementing a search system for phonetic search with ElasticSearch at a major insurance company. ElasticSearch allows you to search for words as well as phonetic search. Thus, all possible hits – for example, similar spellings, of a name – are matched within the framework of this phonetic search.

The benefits of this solution are apparent to the company and its customers alike. An employee in the call center, for example, must be able to quickly understand who is at the other end of the line. In addition, the solution is interesting for processing customer requests outside of business hours, which are often recorded on a voicebox. Even an inaccurate presumption is enough to search for names and addresses. On the other hand, customers benefit from an improved and, above all, faster handling of their concerns – an elementary factor for customer loyalty, which plays an increasingly important role for many companies.

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