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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective

Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants


Deliver relevant answers, automatically, and without the wait

Felice Curcelli
VP Engineering & CTO

If you are investigating a Virtual Assistant platform for your company, this paper provides an
overview of the Knowledge Management components and interrelationship between the Virtual
Assistant system and the Knowledge Management processes that need to occur to train the
Virtual Assistant. While the concepts and steps described here reflect the experience matured at
noHold, a pioneer of Virtual Assistants, they are not focused on the product/service itself, instead,
provide general guidelines and recommendations.

Knowledge Management services and products have been available for decades. Historically,
they have focused on knowledge classification and search engines to help users create and find
information. Recent technologies, bringing to life old ideas in the modern context of the web, have
broadened the focus of knowledge management to include ‘customer experience’ as a
fundamentally critical aspect. Helping users find relevant answers to their queries easily and on
their terms ultimately improves the effectiveness of any knowledge management solution and
helps improve Customer Satisfaction.

Virtual Assistants are gaining momentum as the preferred user experience to provide specific
answers to user’s questions and help them find knowledge quickly. Effective Virtual Assistant
solutions are only as effective as the Knowledge Management system and processes that work
behind the scenes to train the Virtual Assistants.

After a brief historical perspective and review of old and new technologies (their pros and cons),
this paper presents the steps and components that make Knowledge Management effective,
specifically for Customer Service needs and to improve Customer Satisfaction.
Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

Table of Content

Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 3
Knowledge Classification and Search Engines: Pros and Cons ....................................................... 4
Expert Systems, Chat Bots, and Virtual Assistants: Pros and Cons ................................................ 6
Case-based reasoning: pros and cons .................................................................................... 9
Knowledge Centric Support .............................................................................................................. 9
The steps of Effective Knowledge Management ............................................................................ 10
Knowledge Data ..................................................................................................................... 10
Meta-data & Taxonomies ....................................................................................................... 11
User Experience ..................................................................................................................... 11
Stats Collection ...................................................................................................................... 12
Stats Aggregation and Machine Learning .............................................................................. 12
Maintenance & Metrics ........................................................................................................... 13
Conclusions .................................................................................................................................... 14

Creation & Access Stats Collection & Analytics

Knowledge Data Maintenance


Metrics & Analytics
& Metrics

Meta-data & Taxonomies Stats Aggregation

User Experience Stats Collection

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

Introduction
The objective of Customer Service has remained the same throughout the years: To provide
accurate answers to customer’s inquiries in a timely fashion. It used to be that Customer Service
was a cost center, these days Customer Service has become the face of the corporation and its
successes or failures directly affect customer satisfaction, retention, and the bottom line.

Phone support and talking live to a service rep used to be the quickest method to deliver accurate
answers. Products had limited complexity and Customer Service reps required minimal training.
Through the years, changing market conditions (e.g. increased product complexities) have pushed
Customer Service to re-think how to deliver support and service in a more cost-effective way
without impacting customer satisfaction. At the same time, these new challenges have triggered
the introduction of both new knowledge management approaches and alternative support
channels with the promise of delivering answers in a timely manner, or even with no wait.

From the early days of private Bulletin Boards accessible through a dialup connection to allow
users to help themselves in finding answers to their issues, a number of more intelligent
alternatives, still in use today, have been introduced. Automated email response systems and
web-based knowledge browsing leveraging on taxonomies and knowledge classification were first.
Late 90s web-based FAQ lists first, then search capabilities of knowledge bases, then search
engines with natural language capabilities and more recently speech recognition have been more
widely deployed.

Rule-based decision systems and case-based reasoning systems have also been introduced to
further help customers find answers to their issues based on predefined scenarios or past
experiences, and changing in the process the internal corporate dynamics of how knowledge is
generated and published.

Natural language processing has been widely adopted with different degree of complexity and
depth to pre-screen user queries and with the aim of helping users express questions in common
terms as in the spoken language.

Last and not least, Virtual Assistants have appeared, which offer a new ‘search’ paradigm that,
instead of providing high-ranking matches to a user query, interacts with users to guide them to
the most relevant answer. noHold has been the pioneer in this area.

Companies have adopted a combination of the above, but the biggest challenge has been in
winning over users’ preference of the live contact with a service rep. The ever-increasing
complexity of products, the increasing turn-over in the work force and distribution over multiple
time zones, requiring continuous re-training of the customer service reps, and the ever-decreasing
time between product releases, adding more opportunities for product errors, has added more
pressure for tools that A) are greatly more effective and provide an even better customer
experience than a live contact with the service rep and B) are more proactive in helping Customer
Service react to these market challenges more quickly than ever.

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

Knowledge Classification and Search Engines: Pros and Cons


A Knowledge Management (KM) system’s main purpose is to help its end users find knowledge
and answers quickly. To achieve this goal, the traditional KM systems have relied on taxonomies,
i.e. hierarchical knowledge classification, for storing and finding knowledge.

Taxonomies, i.e. hierarchical knowledge classification system, have been used since the
early knowledge management systems for storing and finding knowledge.

Knowledge classification, just as it helped users navigate and browse a knowledge base, also
imposed on users a classification hierarchy that would not always work well, i.e. users getting lost
in browsing knowledge as the taxonomy became deeper and more complex with time. Coupled
with the rigidity of the classification tools, i.e. modifying the classification tree could not be done
easily, the associated resources and skills required to set up and maintain the knowledge
systems, two technological trends emerged that overcame these barriers: web search engines
and web content tagging.

With the advent of Google and other search engines, emphasis shifted from knowledge
classification to smarter search engines, relying on their page-ranking algorithms, proprietary to
each search engine, to return the most relevant documents to a user query at the top of the
results.

Search engines have moved the emphasis to smarter search algorithms from knowledge
classification. The knowledge or page ranking algorithm attempts to return the most relevant
documents to a user query at the top of the results.

Another emerging trend of the last few years in the context of knowledge classification has been
the concept of “tagging”, which I would define as a “flat” and “democratic” classification system.
Flat, because there is no hierarchical relationship between any two tags; democratic, because the
web users, as opposed to knowledge specialists, define the tags of individual pages. Tagging
typically works in conjunction with a search engine.

Tagging is a “flat” and “democratic” classification system.

Publishing of content through public web sites, such as Google or Yahoo Search, is unmanaged,
meaning that the Search engines rely on their crawler engines to find content to index. While
technically, this will work for corporate servers and sites, because of stricter publishing guidelines
for quality and relevancy, Corporate and Customer Services sites need a more controlled process
and publish content through a Knowledge Management System.

Another issue with the search engine approach arises from the fact that only document’s
keywords are indexed, and therefore it works well when users know what they are looking for, e.g.
a restaurant in a neighborhood, or reference material for a camera, etc. However, if users have
just a vague idea of what to look for or don’t know how to phrase their query, Search is not very
effective. Let me explain this with an example:

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

What if your printer runs out of ink, but you don’t know that. You simply notice that it stopped
printing and one of the lights is blinking. What will you search for? You don’t know that the printer
is out of ink, so you will most likely search for “Printer stopped working” or “Printer light is blinking.”
You may come across a page that says “printer out of ink” but don’t know that the “printer light
blinking” may mean that “printer is out of ink”; so, you make guesses which pages to read
through. Even if you eventually realized the answer, it was not found in a timely manner. That’s a
lot to ask of customers if the ultimate goal is to provide accurate answers in a timely fashion and if
you care about customer experience.

Worse yet, what if the terminology used in the correct page refers to the symptom as “printer light
flashing” instead of blinking. That’s another opportunity for inaccurate results and time wasted.
Another case in point, two queries meaning the same thing: “how to auction an item” and “how to
list an item”, or “load test service” and “stress test service.” User intent is the same in both queries,
but results will be different. While this is OK for generic web content, it’s NOT OK for a Customer
Service site that needs to provide specific and accurate answers.

In fact, if the above questions were asked to a customer service representative, he would be doing
the translation and interpretation for the customer, as shown in the following diagram:

Knowledge Management Platform

External External
Repositories Reporting
Knowledge
Metrics
Repository

My printer light is
blinking, what do I do? I see, you mean the
printer light is flashing,
is it red or yellow?

A popular method for finding knowledge, before search was popularized by the Internet, was
knowledge browsing. This was made possible by the use of taxonomies and hierarchical
classification of pages and knowledge. That is the ability of users to click through, i.e. browse, the
classification tree. Yahoo! classification of web content was very popular in the 90s. As mentioned
earlier, besides the cost of creating and maintaining the taxonomy, the main problem with this
approach is that users, unless familiar with the classification, may get lost from time to time. In the
example above of the printer not working, the browsing experience would be like this:

Select Printers, then


Select Version, then
Select Troubleshooting, then
Select Ink Problems,
Cartridge Problems,

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Testing your printer.

At this point, the only way for a user to know which one to select next is try one by one, or restart
and try a different route, not knowing if anything at all is available that answers the question. As
the classification system gets deeper and deeper, it gets harder and harder to find an answer
unless the user is familiar with the classification system.

Search and Browsing

PROS
• Search and browsing are best when exposed to users that are familiar with the classification
of the knowledge, company’s terminology, or know what they are looking for, e.g. internal
customer service reps who have been on the job for while.
• Search is simpler to setup and maintain, and coupled with Tagging can improve user
experience by allowing users to filter and narrow search results.

CONS
• Search is ineffective when users are unfamiliar with an issue, don’t know how to phrase
queries, i.e. don’t know what to look for, don’t know proper terminology.
• While simple to set up, Search would still require a knowledge or content management
system to control the publishing of content to a Customer Service site.
• Browsing requires a classification hierarchy that tends to become more complex with time,
i.e. users easily getting lost while navigating these systems. If you don’t know for instance
that all “password” issues are categorized under the Account category, without that
‘knowledge’ you won’t easily find it.

Expert Systems, Chat Bots, and Virtual Assistants: Pros and


Cons
Over the course of the last 20 years, we have seen the emergence of new services and products
with a more focused approach, i.e. targeted at specific subjects, as in domains of knowledge or
expertise and with the same overall objective of knowledge management systems and search
engines: To help users find relevant answers in a timely manner.

The concept of domain and the associated decision trees is somewhat similar to a taxonomy used
in knowledge management systems to classify knowledge, but serves a different purpose: To
present scenarios with symptoms which users would most likely experience, e.g. the printer light is
blinking; symptoms are related to one another in a hierarchical fashion and when all related
symptoms are verified then the leaf node, i.e. the answer, of the decision tree is presented. The
decision tree is built based on all known assumptions about the problems or issues in a given
domain, e.g. How to program a DVR. Knowledge Specialists create the decision tree based on the
known symptoms and answers.

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How each system guides users to a leaf node differs from system to system and obviously
depends on the structure of the decision tree. Some systems require special programming
languages in addition to the decision tree, others rely exclusively on inference algorithms to
navigate the tree. Decision trees can be wide, shallow, deep, or short and, with the algorithm tied
to them, determine how ‘chatty’ the user experience is. As with Chat Bots and wider trees,
experience is less chatty, in the sense that once the system knows what node in the tree to start
with, there are fewer tiers to travel to get to a leaf node. On the other hand, Virtual Assistants with
deeper trees ask more questions, but not always, to provide an answer and are able to deal with
more complex issues.

In general, the deeper trees are better suited for more complex issues, i.e. questions, which
require the verification of multiple symptoms before the Virtual Assistant can provide an answer.
Chat bots usually deal with simpler issues with only one or two possible symptoms.

What makes some of these systems so different is that they emulate a conversational paradigm,
as is the case with Virtual Assistants. Most recently ‘avatars’ and ‘text-to-speech’ technologies
have emerged that emphasize even more the conversation paradigm as the system would
respond to user questions with “spoken answers.”

These systems use some form of natural language processing to help them understand users’
questions that include common terms instead of proper terminology. They are usually assisted by
a vocabulary to understand synonyms and meaningless words, spell checkers, and stemming
algorithms. Also, some systems use lexical analysis, some use syntactical, and some go to the
extent of using semantic analysis to ‘understand questions’, and to determine from where to start
the conversation. In short, the user experience is more intuitive and users can ask questions on
their own terms.

Knowledge
Repository

Expert
System

My printer light is blinking

From what you tell me, I understand that


you have a printer problem and your
printer light is flashing, is that correct?

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As mentioned earlier, these are narrowly focused systems that are able to answer questions in a
specific domain of knowledge. This has important consequences:

• Because the knowledge is very focused, the system can create and use a vocabulary that is
specific to the domain, such as “blinking” as a synonym of “flashing”, or ascribe meaning to
keywords even without semantic analysis taking place; for example, a good or no “connection”
in the Wireless domain means being in or out of range of a hot spot, while good or no
“connection” in the DVR domain means poor cabling between the DVR and TV. This is a good
thing because the system may be perceived as an ‘expert’.

• As the domains get bigger, responsiveness becomes slower and management of the system’s
decision tree is more difficult. In earlier systems, the answers were embedded within the
decision tree making these systems very inflexible and difficult to change. Knowledge re-use
was difficult, i.e. solutions in one part of the domain tree cannot be used in other parts, or
across domains. So, if an answer changes, it had to be changed in multiple places.

The most prevalent application of these systems has been in customer service. However, because
of the specialty and narrow focus of these systems, they have been used exclusively as tactical
solutions and in some cases in conflict with corporate-wide knowledge management initiatives.
When factoring in the costs of skilled personnel, in some cases programmers, to maintain the
system current, ROI cannot be easily justified.

Furthermore, the inadequate metrics provided by some systems, in some cases requiring DBAs to
extract data and measure usage and effectiveness, has been a barrier for broader uses and has
relegated them to niche applications.

Expert Systems, Chat-bots, and Virtual Assistants

PROS
• Intuitive conversational user experience; users don’t need to learn classification or terminology,
they simply ask questions as they normally speak
• Best for helping users solve a problem, i.e. more diagnostic than Search and Browsing. Virtual
Assistants performing better than Chat-bots in this respect.

CONS
• Require the creation of a decision tree which tends to become more complex with time. Worse
yet, some systems require special programming to create the logic to navigate the tree.
• Answers embedded in decision tree makes it difficult to make changes to decision tree and re-
use answers in different parts of the tree.
• The absence of real-time reports and automated tools to improve future interactions require
“expert” know-how to learn from past interactions.

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

Case-based reasoning: pros and cons


Case-based reasoning systems are a special case of expert systems. Their appeal is in being able
to answer questions, i.e. solve a case, based on answers provided to previous cases. The system
learns from past or similar experiences by generalizing the cases and creating relationships
among cases, as they occur. Cases typically are entered and modified by Customer Services
representatives, therefore accelerating the speed at which new ‘knowledge’ is created and made
available. Conversely, in a rule-based decision tree system, the system starts with an assumption
of the relationships with the creation of the decision tree upfront.

The strength of the case-based reasoning systems, however, is also the main drawback, that is
how relationships among cases are built. While in the case of rule-based decision trees, a
specialist decides how to build the initial tree, with case-based reasoning the creation of the
relationships is based on ‘anecdotal’ evidence, so to speak, in the sense that they are built not
knowing how good the relationships are. Also, because the system creates these relationships
implicitly and automatically, overriding these relationships manually to improve relevancy of user
queries becomes just as important; and introducing a manual overriding process takes away the
benefit of creating the relationships automatically because the ‘specialists’ are much less
knowledgeable of the relationships than if they created the decision tree to begin with.

A rule-based decision system that allowed the specialists to modify the initial decision tree
very easily, at any time, and based on past usage and proactive feedback from the system
would provide the benefits of both rule-based and case-based reasoning systems.

Knowledge Centric Support


In a discussion on how to Improve Customer Service with Effective Knowledge Management, a
special mention of the Knowledge Centric Support consortium initiative is in order.

The consortium has been operating for several years to promote knowledge management
practices and strategies for Customer Service organizations. It does not favor a specific
technology or application, rather it supports knowledge management processes an organization
should establish to improve customer service by accelerating the creation of quality knowledge.
1
In a nutshell the Knowledge Center Support promotes the following :
– Creating just-in-time knowledge when solving problems
– Evolving content based on usage and experiences
– Developing a KB of the collective experiences
– Rewarding learning, collaboration, sharing and improving

The above serves as an excellent introduction for the steps of Effective Knowledge Management.
The steps blend concepts of Taxonomies, Search, Decision trees, and Virtual Assistants that deliver
accurate answers, with no wait, through user experiences adaptable to different audiences; a
platform that provides the benefits of all the above technologies, distributes and simplifies
knowledge creation, provides the tools to control quality and productivity. Also, a platform that does
not
1 work in isolation and that can integrate multiple, external repositories or services, effective for
Excerpt from the KCS Brief available at http://www.serviceinnovation.org/ourwork/kcs.php
tactical solutions as well as corporate-wide knowledge management initiatives.

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

The steps for Effective Knowledge Management


The steps for Effective Knowledge Management is in essence a comprehensive approach for
knowledge management that brings together knowledge classification, tagging, and decision trees
with modern technologies that drastically improve the knowledge creation and maintenance
processes, and the user experience to access and retrieve knowledge.

There are two distinct phases, and steps in each phase, that feed into each other and occur in the
creation and maintenance of the KM platform: one is the creation and access to content, the other
is maintenance and retrofitting of the content based on usage and effectiveness metrics.

Creation & Access Stats Collection & Analytics

Knowledge Data Maintenance


Metrics & Analytics
& Metrics

Meta-data & Taxonomies Stats Aggregation

User Experience Stats Collection

Each of the steps shown above has tools associated, for example a knowledge authoring tool for
the knowledge data, a categorization tool for the taxonomies, a user interface and programs to
allow users to search the knowledge, and so forth. Also, the tools available at each step are
designed for and targeted to different sets of users with different skills.

Knowledge Data
Knowledge data comprises the answers, solutions, documents, and snippets served to users in
response to their queries. Knowledge Data purposely does not include meta-data. The logical
separation of knowledge data has several advantages:

• A simplified knowledge and content creation “process” which gives subject matter experts and
service representative the ability to create new content, even allowing the public to contribute.

• Simpler solution authoring tools requiring minimal training, if any at all.

• Knowledge re-use, meaning that an answer or solution can be used in multiple branches of a
decision tree or taxonomy. Modified once, it’s modified everywhere it’s being used.

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The KM platform provides different levels of access to restrict the ability of who can publish and
deploy new content. Simple authoring and publishing of new solutions, however, can be as
restricted or loose as needed, as long as the system provides tools to manage content “queues”.

The KM platform also separates knowledge between “hosted”, i.e. native to the KM platform, and
“external” knowledge residing in external repositories, such as data in a customer’s CRM systems.

Meta-data & Taxonomies


The KM platform uses taxonomies and decision trees as well as meta-tags for tagging and
classifying content. Decision trees have a dual purpose: dialog trees, for conversational user
experience; and taxonomy, for browsing and searching. A decision tree can be one and the same
used for both purposes or different trees can be used. The tools, however, to create dialog trees
and taxonomies are one and the same, to reduce training requirements. How the meta-data is
really being used determines if they are dialog trees or taxonomies.

The platform supports the use of synonyms to allow the creation of ‘domain’ vocabularies, give the
ability to assign ‘meaning’ and ‘weight’ to terms in support of natural language interfaces. Weights
are adjusted manually by knowledge specialists and domain experts, and adjusted automatically
by the Machine Learning algorithm run in the Stats Aggregation step.

Also supported are meta-tags for tagging content to help both subject matter experts and service
reps easily navigate the content, and “roles” which are special meta-tags to restrict access to
content, i.e. hide content to users who do not have the proper access rights.

Lastly, the meta-data management tools adopt modern techniques to allow utmost flexibility in
extending and shrinking decision trees, moving branches, deleting branches, adding, removing,
and moving leaf nodes, without impacting the quality of content or valuable historical usage
metrics.

User Experience
Quality of the knowledge is important and how users find it is equally important. The how is the
user experience, i.e. the combination of a user interface, as in web pages or voice prompts, and
the algorithms, i.e. applications that work behind the scenes to help users find knowledge quickly.
Applications are not specific or tied to a taxonomy or knowledge base, rather they are completely
data-driven, by the meta-data and knowledge data.
Authorized users of the platform can choose or create a preferred User Experience, or multiple for
that matter for different audiences, for users to query the system:
1) Virtual Assistant: a conversational user experience which does not require users to “learn”
new terminology or knowledge classifications. It’s the Virtual Assistant’s responsibility to guide
users even if queries are imperfect or using incorrect terminology.
2) Search: keyword-based search for users who are familiar with the terminology and
classification. Search provides automatic ranking of results and can be configured to provide
the following:
o A progressive filtering search experience that leverages on taxonomies.
o A flat search and filtering experience that leverages on meta-tags.
3) A combination of the above, both conversational and keyword-based search.

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

4) New custom experiences created with combinations of web applications using the KM
platform’s Web Services.

Furthermore, the configurable user experience is replicable through different access channels,
e.g. Web, IM, Speech, E-mail, and IVR, and uses the same knowledge across to provide
consistent and relevant answers regardless of user’s preferred access channel. Search, for
instance, is an effective experience replicable to an automated e-mail response system; the Virtual
Assistant experience better suited instead for IVR, Voice Browsing, and IM access channels.

Knowledge Management Platform

External External
Repositories Reporting
Knowledge
Metrics
Repository

Stats Collection
The purpose of the stats collection step is to provide usage reports on which knowledge elements
are accessed most, rated best, which questions are being asked most often, to compute the
effectiveness of the interactions, not just the individual answers. Quantity of data collected is most
important in this step, as in measuring the click streams of each interaction, and relying on other
layers to apply business logic, aggregate data, and create reports. This has the benefit of not
over-taxing the user interface and negatively affecting responsiveness.

Stats Aggregation and Machine Learning


Behind the scenes, automatic stats processing transform the raw statistical data into a data model
that facilitates and speeds up the creation and execution of reports for Maintenance and Analytical
purposes. This is the layer that carries the water to the mill, so to speak, the Reinforcement
Machine Learning algorithms that quasi-automates some of the maintenance activities and
improves the user experience for new users.

Specifically, in the context of taxonomies and decision trees with weighted terms there are two
algorithms, which can be used: Adaptive Learning and Rote Learning. The Adaptive Machine
Learning algorithm adjusts the terms’ weight based on the raw stats of the interactions, which
preserve the relationship of events and therefore the ability to make such decisions automatically.

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This algorithm is referred as Adaptive Learning because the Virtual Assistant learns, i.e. adapts
itself, through repetitive usage.

Another machine learning algorithm that can be used in this context is one to memorize answers
for specific user queries. This has the benefit of building a set question and answer pairs
completely automatically, so that if a user has one of these questions she gets the associated
answer immediately, without further validation or confirmation of user’s intent. Basically, during the
Stats Aggregation step, based on meta-data updated with each processed interactions, this
algorithm computes the probability that a user’s question requires a certain answers. The Virtual
Assistant can choose to provide these memorized answers based on configurable probability
thresholds, typically 70% of higher.

Pro-active feedback on issues and knowledge gaps are generated in this step as well as
automatic updates to the meta-data decision trees based on usage and interaction effectiveness.
For example, Virtual Assistants have access to helpfulness stats that it can use as tie-breaker
when having to choose between equally probable answers.

Maintenance & Metrics


In this critical step, knowledge specialists, subject matter experts, and service representatives
collaborate to create new scenarios for the decision tree, update existing content, assisted by the
semi-automated maintenance tools which feed back into either the knowledge data or the meta-
data layers.

Using aggregation and grouping of user queries in the previous layer, the Maintenance tools alert
Knowledge Specialists of top issues, help them find trends in how users are expressing their
queries and knowledge gaps, and therefore help them make rapid decisions about changes to the
knowledge, meta-data, or decision trees.

Maintenance tool also give knowledge specialists the ability to override the automatic computation
and adaption of the meta-data and taxonomy weights and probabilities.

Business users have also real-time access to pre-defined reports and the ability to create their
own reports. Pre-defined reports require just simple criteria selection, e.g. a date range. These
include knowledge usage reports, usability reports for understanding how users reach answers, as
well as productivity reports measuring customer service reps, subject matter experts, and
knowledge specialist activities. Productivity reports are particularly important in scenarios where
knowledge creation and maintenance is distributed and processes must be put in place to reward
representatives’ productivity and knowledge quality.

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Improve Customer Satisfaction with Effective Knowledge Management and Virtual Assistants

Conclusions
Over the course of the last 20+ years, several technologies have been introduced to meet the
increasing challenges and visibility of Customer Service and Support organizations.

The proposed steps for Effective Knowledge Management is a platform that addresses,
specifically, the need for focused, accurate, and timely content in Customer Service applications.
The two distinct phases that feed into each other, not only provide the means and workflows for
managing knowledge data and meta-data, they also provide a platform for creating adaptable user
experiences that serve the needs of different audiences, a Virtual Assistant experience for users
unfamiliar with the content and terminology as well as Search for users who are familiar with the
content. A platform that proactively provides feedback on knowledge gaps, knowledge quality, and
automatically learns from past usage through Reinforcement Machine Learning algorithms.

The Knowledge Management platform includes sophisticated and flexible reporting that includes
usage and effectiveness measures of interactions and knowledge, as well as productivity
measures to reward quality and productivity in particular when knowledge creation is broadly
distributed.

Customers, who are trying to determine the best access channel to contact Customer Service,
once they gain confidence that the automated self-service can understand their language and
actually find a specific answer to their issue, will surely opt for the quickest one, i.e. the one
without wait.

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