AI Search for Better Customer Service

It’s no secret in today’s world that AI plays a big role in business. But AI is really just technology in service of a business goal. But if customers can’t find the right content at the right time, all the AI in the world wouldn’t help.

Enter AI Search.

Improving search relevancy and results

AI Search connects employees and customers to the answers they need in a simple search experience with personalized, relevant results. It uses machine learning to identify user intent and deliver results users can act on from within the search results window.

In the past, ServiceNow’s legacy search engine used keyword searches to match words or phrases within a query. AI Search delivers a very different user experience. It can interpret contextual cues to identify user intent and produce highly relevant information.

To see how AI search worked for customers, ServiceNow conducted extensive user acceptance testing in global technical support for more than six weeks. They engaged subject matter experts from 13 different teams who tested more than 50 functionalities in only two weeks. Using these suggestions, the development team improved relevancy and performance prior to the go-live date.

Interested in more about how ServiceNow researched for their AI Search? Read more about it here.

Our favorite AI Search features

Here are a few of the AI Search features we (and our clients) have found especially useful:

  • Auto-suggest: We refine the list of popular keywords by analyzing what users click and search. AI Search doesn’t yet support an index-based auto-suggest, but we look forward to that in a future release.
  • Spellcheck: The spellcheck function can find multiple spelling mistakes in each query and use AI to correct them and deliver more relevant results.
  • Search as a service: We can now index once and create relevancy models across applications. Once implemented, this solution can help make operations more agile and maintenance more streamlined. Powering multiple channels with a single search solution means users can access quick, relevant information regardless of whether they use a desktop or mobile device.
  • Attachment search: Our engine can search attachments as well as articles, a feature that was unavailable in the past.
  • Promoted result: One major challenge of any search engine is to surface relevant content around generic queries, which make up about a third of all queries. Subject matter experts decide which answers are the best match for these queries. This has significantly improved our relevancy, as well as how people engage with the results.
  • Personalized query rules: We can now personalize search results for different user roles and user groups. Gone is the black box relevancy algorithm that didn’t recognize different needs for different user types.
  • Content security: Following a content security enhancement in the Rome release, users can now search external content securely using a single search application across all data sources, providing a more cohesive experience.

Other new features included integrated support for five languages, fast setup and integration, and easily configurable synonyms and stop words.

Impact of AI Search

The power of AI lies in its ability to constantly learn and to improve relevancy through machine learning. For example, if users consistently click on the third entry in the list, the system recognizes it to be the most relevant and changes rankings. AI learns from users’ behavior to predict the best answers. This is called automatic tuning.

The impact of AI Search is proven by ServiceNow metrics:

  • A 3.6 average click rank indicates the user clicked one of the top five results.
  • 80% of users click on one of the top five results, compared to 52% previously.
  • 92% of the time a search automation request does not lead to a case submission.

Although there are dramatic improvements in ServiceNow’s search functionality, they are also still working on further improvements to both time and relevancy. We’re looking forward to more AI Search updates in San Diego and beyond.

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