Re: websites: software creating questions and answers

Subject: Re: websites: software creating questions and answers
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 07:11:24 -0500

W words wrote:

A few people I know are talking about software from Rightnow which adds a
question and answer capacity onto a website. It's being sold as an answer to
the problem of huge numbers of phone calls to call centres.

Commonly asked questions are noted and answers are built up from content and
questions. I imagine some kind of artificial intelligence is used in what
must be fairly sophisticated programming.

Has anyone any experience with this?
Does it really do what it claims?
Is this really a useful form of communications where users get an answer to
a fact but may not get all the facts they need as they would if they
read/accidentally glanced at surrounding text?


I suggest you read Rightnow's marketing material carefully, and phrase any questions to them carefully, looking for the use of the passive voice in responses. In other words, see if they are obscuring who the actor is when they describe answers being built up from content and questions. Unless I'm mistaken, there is a large component of human effort on the part of your customer service personnel doing the answering and the building up (my suspicion could be wrong--I'm just saying you need to investigate carefully and watch out for evasive answers).

I know that our customer support group started out with Rightnow and then switched to a different solution, but that was a few years ago and I was not privy to the decision-making process, so I don't know the reasons.

In any case, all such systems are GIGO, so their value is totally dependent on the abilities of the people operating them.



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