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Canadian postal codes in IVR system

Posted on 2004-09-20
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Last Modified: 2008-03-04
This is a simple one.  I need to know the easiest way for a user to enter a Canadian postal code on a telephone keypad.  Since it's alphanumeric, I can't let them use just numbers.  I need a real easy way.  I have a database of 800,000 postal codes which when translated into significant number combinations has hundreds of thousands of duplicates.  What methods do the big guys use?

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Question by:lehman6676
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jimbobmcgee earned 250 total points
ID: 12111832
Just an idea (bearing in mind I am unfamiliar with Canadian Post Code):

Each of the keys on a standard telephone keypad correspond to a series of letters:
             2 = a,b,c,
             3 = d,e,f,
             4 = g,h,i
             5 = j,k,l
             6 = m,n,o
             7 = p,q,r,s
             8 = t,u,v
             9 = w,x,y,z

You will need to check for up to five presses of the same button (by tone?), since some buttons contain four letters (+ the number itself is five presses).  Get the user to press x number of times (the first press being the number) and use # or * key in between:

    eg: ABC 1234 = 1,1,#,1,1,1,#,1,1,1,1,#,1,#,2,#,3,#,4,#
          FJS 7890 = 3,3,3,3,#,5,5,#,7,7,7,7,7,#,7,#,8,#,9,#,0,#

Out of interest, the UK post code system also contains letters.  I have yet to come across a telephone-based system for entry -- usually it is a voice-recognition/manual check process (but I assume you are trying to avoid this).

HTH
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