Common mistakes and best practices for you to make the most out of your conversational AI.
The moment you create your Quickchat.ai account and purchase subscription (2-week trial for $14), what you get is a conversational AI with a general world knowledge. In order to make it useful for your business, you need to add your specific knowledge on top.
We often get asked if any particular structure is needed for the text knowledge base you build for your AI in our dashboard. Simply copy-pasting test can get you a working demo pretty fast but for optimal performance, there are some best practices that are worth following:
If you want to include links, include them within text and explain what they contain.
Make sure each paragraph is coherent and contains some relevant information.
You don’t need to provide question & answer pairs. Provide just answers.
Turn multiline lists into comma-separated ones.
Use clear wording and correct grammar. Avoid typos.
Pay special attention to potentially confusing paragraphs.
Provide general information first, details later.
Adjust the creativity setting.
#0 What is a knowledge base?
Your Quickchat knowledge base is expected to come in a format that is extremely flexible - paragraphs of text of up to 150 words. That means they can be as short as a single sentence or bullet point or contain as many as 8-10 sentences.
We should try to ensure every paragraph contains some useful information and is relatively self-contained - makes sense when read in isolation (see best practice #2 below for more details).
Is there any specific structure of the knowledge base that’s optimal? You can use any of (or a mix of): - articles or blog posts - internal documentation and databases - slides, presentations, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, PDFs - notes in Evernote, Notion, OneNote, etc. - example conversations - video/audio transcripts
Copy the raw text
As a first step, copy all text from, let’s say, your FAQ pages…
and paste it all into one document. What we end up with is a single text with diverse formatting where we can immediately spot a number of issues that would arise if we were to paste it directly into the Quickchat knowledge base:
- We want our AI to be able to refer people to additional information using links which need to be properly included in the knowledge base. Scroll down to best practice #1 to see how we get this done.
- Section titles and headings, when pasted as-is into the knowledge base, would be treated as separate paragraphs which don’t contain any easily interpretable information. They should be removed or merged with other paragraphs. We get to that in the section on best practice #2.
- Similarly, each item in a multiline list would be treated as a single paragraph. Such a list should be reformatted into a single paragraph, for example as a comma-separated list as we do it in the section on best practice #4.
If we were to paste raw text into the Quickchat knowledge base, it would look like the image on the left below. Our goal is to format the knowledge base to be more coherent like the one on the right.
Let’s go through all 8 best practices one by one! 🚀
#1 If you want to include links, include them within text and explain what they contain.
Consider the following item to be added to the knowledge base:
Rather than simply paste it into the knowledge base, what we want to do is to reformat it into a single coherent paragraph which explicitly points to the link as an additional resource.
Please note how:
- question has been incorporated into the paragraph starting with If you want to import your medication into the U.S., …
- second sentence was rephrased to point to a link included at the end
This way, the AI will be able to point to the link in a conversation like so:
#2 Make sure each paragraph is coherent and contains some relevant information.
We will now go through how to properly include the following item in the knowledge base:
Pasting it directly into the knowledge base ends up with incoherent paragraphs:
The Packaging. paragraph only containing a title of a section should be removed.
#3 You don’t need to provide question & answer pairs. Provide just answers.
The above formulation still has a problem in that one paragraph is an unanswered question which only gets answered in a different paragraph. However, simply removing the question leaves us with a Yes. as an answer that lacks proper context. That’s why we include the context from the deleted question by replacing Yes. with a full answer: You are allowed to use your own packaging when shipping with DHL.
#4 Turn multiline lists into comma-separated ones.
We will now go through formatting the following complex item to be included in the knowledge base:
The two bullet-point lists contain a list of steps to be completed on Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge browsers, respectively. We will put them in separate paragraphs and turn multiline lists into comma-separated ones. Since those are separate paragraphs, it is also important to add some additional context which we are going to achieve by prepending Here is how to add DHL as trusted site on….
Note how by doing so, we created two self-contained paragraphs describing how to add DHL as trusted site on a particular browser. Simultaneously, when needed, they will be used as additional information to the paragraph on issues with the shipping label print screen.
#5 Use clear wording and correct grammar. Avoid typos.
This one probably goes without saying. Unclear wording, incorrect grammar and typos - they all may contribute to the AI finding it harder to understand the points conveyed in your knowledge base. This may apply in particular if English isn’t your first language and you may be using a tool like Google Translate to produce your knowledge base in English. Imperfect translation may change the original meaning and cause the AI to answer incorrectly in conversations.
If you have trouble translating your knowledge base into English, please do not hesitate to reach out, the Quickchat team will be happy to help.
#6 Pay special attention to potentially confusing paragraphs.
As obvious as it sounds - all the AI has to work with is the text that we provide. If the text is unclear or self-contradictory, it will not be able to use common sense to figure out what we meant. Or rather, it will use common sense to arrive at conclusions but those might not be what we had in mind 🙂
In the example below, the first sentence might be confusing. Some assumptions need to be made to answer questions like when can I apply? or can I apply after end of January?. These might lead to incorrect answers. To be on the safe side, it is always better to provide a more comprehensive description that leaves little room for interpretation.
#7 Provide general information first, details later.
When optimising your knowledge base, another good practice is to provide general information first and only go into details as a follow-up. That is illustrated in the example below.
#8 Adjust the creativity setting.
In broad terms, the creativity setting (go to Settings in the dashboard) adjusts how often your AI chooses to say I don’t know (low creativity) vs trying to come up with a plausible answer based on the knowledge it has (high creativity).
If you find your AI occasionally providing incorrect answers, you might want to decrease its creativity. On the other hand, if the AI says I don’t know too often, you can allow it to be more creative. If you have any other questions on the ins and outs of the creativity setting or require a custom setup, do reach out.
Test your AI in conversation
The final step is to test your AI in conversation and adjust your knowledge base as you move along. You will be able to do that easily in the Quickchat dashboard in the Preview window.
As you continue testing and run into issues, remember about the best practices listed here and check if some of the methods described above could be helpful in your case!
Here is an example exchange going through an issue to do with printing shipping labels:
Finally, if you get stuck at any point during building out your knowledge base, please do reach out to us! The Quickchat team is always there to help!
If this blog post inspired you to start your own project, head over to quickchat.ai and Start Building! If you’d like to talk to someone on the Quickchat.ai team or discuss a custom solution, please get in touch.