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Conversational Search from KM World / Enterprise Search & Discovery

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Conversational search (text and voice) is increasingly common and there are a lot of components that are needed to understand to start a pilot project.

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Conversational Search from KM World / Enterprise Search & Discovery

  1. 1. Conversational Search Thomas Vander Wal 7 November 2018 :: KM World / Enterprise Search & Discovery, Washington, DC
  2. 2. Who is Thomas?
  3. 3. Designing, developing, and / or managing social platforms since 1996 Model of Attraction (2002) Come to Me Web (2004) Folksonomy (2004) 70+ Social Lenses (2008) Connected Company (2010)
  4. 4. Hello, may I help you? XYZ Company +_ Mary: Hello, how can I help you today? Type your question here Send XYZ Company +_ Mary: Hello, how can I help you today? SendWhere can I return my shoes? XYZ Company +_ Mary: Hello, how can I help you today? Send Thomas: Where can I return my shoes? XYZ Company +_ Mary: Hello, how can I help you today? Send Thomas: Where can I return my shoes? Mary: Our closest store to you is Westfield Mall Open Map - Call - Show more…
  5. 5. • Using regular conversation in text (or voice) to ask questions in search • Can use authenticated user and their history for targeted help • The return response can come from: - A bot that works with commonly asked questions and matching - A person responding - An answer directly from search • The service, through a conversational bot, may ask follow-up questions to use for filtering What is happening here? XYZ Company +_ Mary: Hello, how can I help you today? Send Thomas: Where can I return my shoes? Mary: Our closest store to you is Westfield Mall Open Map - Call - Show more…
  6. 6. • In the late 90s and early 00s Ask Jeeves urged users to ask full questions - It was not conversational, but it worked in a more natural manner • Google Assistant has been a conversational search and personal assistant for the last few years, which can ask follow-up clarification questions or questions to filter What is happening here?
  7. 7. • Inside organizations: - Elium (formerly Knowledge Plaza) built a platform pitched (in 2007) as social search to find what your co-workers know, even if they are not there (works rather well) - Bots in chat services to get and give status, find contact information, or find people with interest (or expertise) in a subject area - Bots as widgets in digital work environments to bring needed materials closer What is happening here?
  8. 8. Conversational Search 
 as Normal Human Interaction
  9. 9. • When interacting with other people conversations are the way we seek and search - Sometimes there are simple answers - Other times there are clarifying questions and responses needed (did you mean…?) • For many people this is the easiest way to search, particularly if there are many contexts and filters are needed • This is another alternative option to offer people as a search interface Conversational Search as Normal Human Interaction
  10. 10. Mary: How may I help you? Thomas: What time does your store open? Mary: Your location seems to be Washington, DC. Is this correct? Thomas: Yes Mary: There are 5 stores in the area. The closest to you now is 7th and F Streets NW, it is open 8:30 AM to 9 PM. - Show on map Mary: Would you like other stores and their hours? Thomas: Is there a store in Georgetown? Mary: Yes. The Georgetown store is open 8 AM to 9 PM. The store is at M and 36th Streets NW - Show on map Thomas: Thank you. Mary: May I help you with anything else? Conversational Search as Normal Human Interaction
  11. 11. Where Conversational Search Fits
  12. 12. • External - Customer support - Finding products that meet needs / desires - General help ‣ What are the hours ‣ Where is… - Common questions with known answers Where Conversational Search Fits
  13. 13. • Internal - HR ‣ Documents & forms ‣ Guidelines - Contact information - Contact history - Related work materials Where Conversational Search Fits
  14. 14. Where Conversational Search Fits
  15. 15. Where Conversational Search Fits
  16. 16. Where Conversational Search Fits
  17. 17. Where to use Conversational Search
  18. 18. • Chat / Help services - Bots handle easy or common questions - Interact when a person needs to answer to capture needs, set routing, and set expectations for response time • Incorporate into regular search to help with smart filtering • Extending consumer voice response services (Alexa / Siri) • Integrate in customer support self-help • And more… Where to use Conversational Search
  19. 19. Where to use Conversational Search Common Pattern Question How may I help you? Simple Yes Conversational Service No Human Response
  20. 20. Voice or Text?
  21. 21. • Text - Easier to understand the question - Works well in: ‣ environments with devices with easy to use keyboards ‣ loud environments where voice isn’t heard well ‣ quiet work environments ‣ When text results are needed Voice or Text?
  22. 22. • Voice interfaces have been improving quite a bit for American English and a few other languages - Google and Microsoft have fairly good solutions available for capturing voice and transcribing the questions well - Other options from smaller specialist vendors work well also • Works well in: - Mobile environments or hands free needed - In ready to respond environments - Cases where people are already comfortable with voice interactions (Alexa / Siri / Hey Google…) Voice or Text?
  23. 23. • Mix of Voice and Text - (Question and refinement responses are in voice and answer is in voice and / or text) - When links are needed - Open an application - Visuals are needed - Clarity for understanding similar words Voice or Text?
  24. 24. What Is Needed to Get Started
  25. 25. Understand the Steps
  26. 26. Easy to answer question dataset Interface to ask questions Natural Language Processing Connection to people to answer Conversational Interface Service Connector to 
 full search Response tone / personality Mapping from questions to answers
  27. 27. • Start with handling commonly asked and successfully answered questions - Begin with 100 to 200 questions - Q & A that can take easy questions out of the support center queue (some organizations have seen 30% to 40% reduction in questions for easy questions) - Questions should be simple to ask, understand, and answer ‣ Often high volume questions What Is Needed to Get Started
  28. 28. • Work through best options for where and how the question interface will appear - Question / Help Chat - Add to search screen - Integrate in to voice interaction service ‣ In mobile ‣ large platform: Alexa, Siri, etc. ‣ Voice questions with voice response conversation ‣ Voice questions with text response conversation What Is Needed to Get Started
  29. 29. • Natural Language Processing (NLP) - Use to parse and understand the questions - Many options with many of these open source • For a custom voice service, voice transcription to pass into NLP - Many voice services have NLP capabilities What Is Needed to Get Started
  30. 30. • Build mappings in the conversational platform (bot) the questions to the answers • Map from the NLP to the conversation engine to connect questions from NLP parsing What Is Needed to Get Started
  31. 31. • Set the conversational interface connections - Text bot services ‣ Set automated responses for questions in the initial question list ‣ Pass questions not in the automated questions to full search or a human response queue - Voice bot service ‣ Set automated responses to key phrase mapping from the question and answer mapping What Is Needed to Get Started
  32. 32. • Setup the connector the full search to handle questions not in the simple solution • This can be a front end for searching customer support database, product offerings, or full search offering (with permissions) What Is Needed to Get Started
  33. 33. • Set up the connector to human response service - Customer support queues / customer support platform - Sales support queues - General response queue services What Is Needed to Get Started
  34. 34. • Set the conversational response tone - This is the customer interface and where the tone of the language in the responses is going to be really important - Work through tuning options ‣ Do you need more assistance? ‣ Do you want more options? - Work through how formal the conversational interactions are What Is Needed to Get Started
  35. 35. Difference Makers
  36. 36. • Correct answers • Good conversational tone - Fits the organization’s voice - Ask if there is more - Ask if it was helpful, usually offering human option if not (“let me have my colleague help”) • Start small and simple to hone an early service with the connectors and different options • Include people who understand how people think and interact to design flows and responses as well as technical understanding Difference Makers
  37. 37. First Steps
  38. 38. • Understand simple search questions and answers • Understand what is being searched and the source(s) - Customer support service / platform - Sales support - General questions - Internal support (expertise, contact information, research sources, etc.) • The source for search will likely drive many options for connectors and components First Steps
  39. 39. Thank you!
  40. 40. URL: www.vanderwal.net Blog: www.personalinfocloud.com E-mail: thomas@vanderwal.net Twitter: @infocloud

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