What's an external knowledge base?

If you have a CMS that you want to leverage in bot conversations or through Conversation Assist, you can add an external knowledge base without needing to migrate your content.

An external knowledge base is one where the content is authored and managed entirely within the external CMS application. Integrating with your CMS lets your content creators use familiar tools and workflows. You can integrate with any CMS that has the capability, i.e., an API connector. Notable examples include:

Within the KnowledgeAI application, an external knowledge base serves as a connector to the CMS. You can configure the knowledge base so that the content is selected and served:

  • Using LivePerson AI. (Recommended) Use LivePerson’s AI to select the articles to respond to customer utterances.
  • Without using LivePerson AI. Use the CMS' query and answer API for article suggestions/answers. (Every CMS can have a different name for this API.)

Why use LivePerson's AI?

By its nature, an “external” knowledge base integrates with an external CMS that stores the content.

  • If your solution involves an external knowledge base with LivePerson AI, and within KnowledgeAI the articles are tied to well-trained intents, the knowledge base performs well. AI-enabled knowledge bases use the intents and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology to understand and intelligently match consumer queries to articles in the knowledge base.

    On the other hand, if the articles aren’t tied to intents, the only substantive data that we store within KnowledgeAI is the article’s title (obtained by syncing with the external CMS). This means that only the title can be used by AI Search to find relevant answers via a semantic search. By its nature, a semantic search attempts to understand the meaning behind the consumer’s query; it doesn’t just match keywords or phrases. Equipped with only the article’s title, the effectiveness of the semantic search is limited.

  • If your solution involves an external knowledge base without LivePerson AI, LivePerson AI isn’t involved in finding relevant answers. The work is done by the external CMS using its own query and answer API. So, in this case, the effectiveness of finding relevant answers depends entirely on that external API.

Keep in mind that, as with all knowledge bases, the greater the knowledge coverage in the CMS, the higher the quality of the answers.

Assessing your content for Messaging

Before getting started with an external knowledge base, it’s a good idea to take stock of the content in your CMS in order to assess its readiness for messaging.

In general, messages are short. Sending content that’s too long or complex can create poor consumer experiences. For the best consumer experience, consider the following:

  • Make sure that all required information (e.g., title, summary, and content) is as brief as possible.
  • If you require more than a brief answer, use a content URL, so the consumer can be directed to an external location for more information.
  • Use rich content, such as images. For information on supported LivePerson attributes, see here.
  • Consider the channels you are serving when preparing your content. For example, SMS can only support very simple textual content.

Keep in mind that, while knowledge bases do support URLs for video and audio, Video and Audio statements currently aren’t supported by Conversational Cloud. For this reason, they can’t be added to dialogs in Conversation Builder. As an alternative for video, you can use a Text statement that includes a video URL as a link.

Getting started: Saving an incomplete knowledge base

Adding an external knowledge base can take some time, so the KnowledgeAI application gives you the option to save a knowledge base in an incomplete state. This lets you step away from the configuration work and come back to it at a later time.

Once you start the process of adding the knowledge base — i.e., you provide a name for the knowledge base — if you then click Cancel, you are prompted to choose whether to save your work:

Warning that your changes haven't been saved

Click Yes to save the knowledge base.

You can find your incomplete external knowledge bases listed along with your other knowledge bases on the dashboard. They're given an "Incomplete" status to indicate the configuration is incomplete.

An example of an incomplete external knowledge base

A knowledge base is considered no longer "Incomplete" once all required fields are completed for the first time.

Keep in mind that completing the initial setup of a knowledge base, thereby moving out of "Incomplete" status, doesn't indicate a proper configuration. You must test the knowledge base to verify this. Additionally, be aware that a knowledge base never returns to "Incomplete" status if you subsequently remove or alter required information.

To delete an incomplete knowledge base, click the knowledge base's 3-dot icon (on the right), and select Delete.

The menu option to delete a knowledge base