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Automated Help Desks - Knowledge Management
It is no secret that the pressure is on as far as help desks are concerned. Growing product lines, products that are only on the market for a short while, keeping a help desk updated and current on all of the multitudinous varieties of problems that can occur is nearly impossible. Most of the high tech products that are currently being marketed have been available for less than a year. That statistic alone successfully illustrates the difficulties that help desks are facing, not even taking into account the increasing complexity of those products.

Some experts say that the only answer available is automation. The help desk must be automated to have any prayer of keeping current and making the right information available both to staff and consumers, and there are a number of ways of doing that.

One of the simplest is to publish existing information on the corporate website which makes certain that competent answers to frequently asked questions are available. It is low cost and always available, but it is limited to the information that has been input on the web and is not automatically updated. The same thing is true of publishing customer query responses on the website and allowing customers to use a keyword driven search engine to find what they need.

On the other hand, natural language processing and contextual awareness tools are vastly different. Natural language processing is quite accurate at determining meaning and locating relevant documents when customers ask their questions verbally. That sounds low, but when compared with the much lower probability that a customer will find what they are seeking via a keyword search, it sounds better.

Context is taken into account with natural language processing, which means that the software can operate in the presence of some language errors. It is equipped with dictionaries, idiom dictionaries, and thesauruses and is able for form relationships within documents, generating patterns from them that can be matched to patterns in customer queries.

Customers often have frustrating experiences with self-help solutions. That occurs because they have not found the information they wanted through a keyword search or that they have not expressed the problem well enough for the software solution to identify what they want. Vendors are making efforts to improve the process to keep customers happy. Customers are asked each time they get a response, for example, if the question was answered and how well it was answered. Some software lets users log the fact that a solution was not found and when a solution is found, the help desk emails it to the customer. Similarly, when a problem is reported by one customer that could potentially impact others, the software automatically emails all other customers who might experience the same difficulty.

Automatic help desk solutions provide front line support and help keep costs down. This is particularly true in high tech companies that are growing exponentially. It is also true that these types of solutions work even better with technical customers who can express their queries in the appropriate terms and who are already adept at solving their own problems. The use of natural language processing and self-learning techniques are rapidly improving the process.

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