Travis with the Maia team here and I wanted to take a moment to give an update on the cool things we’ve been doing with Maia. If you’re not familiar with who Maia is, they are Khoros’ virtual assistant. A bot that is designed to get you the help you need, when and where you need it within the Khoros ecosystem.
I bet you’re curious about what we’ve been working on, even if you’re not, you should be. There are so many cool things you can do with a chatbot, and we try to push the limits with what you could do with a minimal team.
Last month was no exception, Introducing the Support Case Submission experience! Now you can submit support cases directly through Maia, all you need to do is open a chat with Maia by clicking on the icon in the lower right-hand corner and type “Open a Case”. Maia will then walk you through submitting a support case in a conversational manner. We think this will be a great alternative to submitting a case in the Case Portal.
We’ve also improved other functions Maia performs for you, for example now when you use Maia to register for Atlas, they will programmatically give you Case Portal access as well. No more need to email the Support team to get this access.
We’ve also leveraged the Khoros Care tag system to assign tags to Maia conversations when certain outcomes are achieved so we can better keep track of how helpful Maia is.
Last quarter we gave you the ability to check on and escalate cases via Maia, we have added the ability to close the case as well this quarter.
I also wanted to take a moment and point out that If you interact with Maia and the conversation is not productive or Maia is unable to help, please understand that Maia is still learning how to interpret the way humans talk. We monitor the conversations that did not go as planned and adjust Maia’s training accordingly. Chances are you will have a better experience the next time you interact with Maia.
Lead Engagement Designer
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Hello Atlas, greetings once again from the Maia team! I wanted to take a moment and give everyone an update on what’s been going on with Maia in the last quarter.
Check on Caseportal Case
We understand that you need to be able to quickly check on support cases, so we created a flow that will allow you to do just that. Now you can open the chat bubble on Atlas or Khoros.com and type “Check on case” then you can choose to input a case number or have Maia look for recent cases.
Escalate Caseportal Case
Once you’ve checked on a case, the only logical next step would be to give you the ability to escalate that case if you feel that the issue is not be being given the consideration it merits. You can do this two ways with Maia, you can click the “escalate” button after checking on a case, or you can simply type “Escalate a case” within Maia’s chat.
Google Business Messages
One of the amazing things about the chatbot Khoros offers is the ability to integrate with almost every channel out there. We built flows specifically for Google Business Messages because we wanted to make sure anyone contacting us from that channel could benefit from Maia as well. If you message us from Google Maps, Maia will be replying to your message.
Apple Business Chat
In the same vein as GBM, Maia has been enabled to cover our Apple Business Chat as well. Apple Business chat is a little more complex as it follows the same boundaries that sms messaging does, so you cannot use buttons to guide the user. For this channel we have to rely on the AI/NLP that powers the chatbot to answer questions that users might have.
Improved Product Coaching flows
One of the coolest services that Khoros provides is our Product Coaching program. This program allows you to sign up for one on one coaching sessions with product experts. We have made flows that make signing up for these sessions as easy as possible without having to search Atlas to find them. Simply type, “Product Coaching” into Maia and answer a few questions to find the session you need and sign up for it all within Maia’s chat! This is a great way to find the help you need without having to navigate to a different page.
Automatic agent handoff after unknown reply
When you are logged in to Atlas and looking for help, we want to ensure that you are finding what you need in a timely manner. So we have added an action on Maia’s backend that automatically transfers you to an live agent when they are not understanding what you are saying. We hope this will help you get the help you need when and where you need it.
So that’s all for this update, but stay tuned as we are going to continue to innovate and teach Maia to be the most useful virtual assistant around.
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Hello Atlas, greetings from the Maia team! I wanted to take a moment and give everyone an update on what’s been going on with Maia in the last quarter.
Atlas registration assistance -
This was a really big project that we are especially proud of. One of the biggest pain points our customers were telling us they were experiencing was with the Atlas registration process. So we built a flow in Maia that conversationally takes the user through the process no matter where they are.
The flow can be triggered in two ways, either by Maia asking anonymous users on Atlas if they need help logging in or registering, or by a user typing “Register for Atlas” into Maia from anywhere Maia is available. The flow is especially useful because it checks whether the user has already registered in real-time or not and can help them reset their password if so.
The most exciting thing about this flow is that it integrates Maia, Atlas, and Salesforce, reducing both the workloads of our internal agents as well as confusion for our customers.
CSM search and contact -
Our Customer Success Managers are a great resource for our customers to get help with their accounts and other concerns. With this flow, we have made it easier to get in touch with your CSM. If Maia cannot find a CSM for a user, they will display additional options.
Release Notes -
We increased the efficiency of our “release notes” flow by giving a snippet of the release notes within the chat prior to the user having to click on the link to go to Atlas to read them. This way users are able to see if the release notes are relevant to them from where they are.
We added paths to Developer/API content from Maia’s main menu on Atlas. This way users looking for Developer content don’t have to navigate through Atlas to try to find the way, we gave them an additional shortcut.
Engage and Maia were a huge success! Maia got a shout-out from Spike Jones during the keynote and we had seen the highest engagement rates ever that day. We had built an experience specifically for the Engage website, and it was really well received. Paths included help in navigating that website, Live product demo registrations, and live Product Coaching session signups.
We also built an easter egg for Engage. One of the sessions was called “Chatbot ‘goldilocks zone’: Too big, too small, and just right” For this session we created a flow that told the story of “Goldilocks and the three chatbots”. It’s still working if you would like to try it out, just type the word “Goldilocks” into Maia.
Product Status -
We added an integration with Statuspage into Maia as well. You can type “Product Status” into Maia and they will tell you whether any of our three main solutions are experiencing issues or not, they also offer a link to StatusPage directly so you can either dig deeper or follow Khoros’ Statuspage directly.
Khoros careers -
I know that trying to find a company’s open positions can be difficult sometimes, so we added a flow to Maia that will take you there directly. Just type “Careers” in the chat and you will be served a web-view that has all of the current open positions. So you search and apply for open positions directly from Maia’s chat window!
Where is Khoros -
We noticed that a lot of users asked Maia where we were located. I added a small flow that answers this question. Just type “Where are you?” into Maia’s chat and they will answer the question.
As you can see we’ve been busy making Maia more useful for you. Stay tuned there’s so much more that is going to be happening in the near future.
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Thanks for commenting. Let me reply to your points with points.
1) I was actually watching when Maia "freaked out" on you, I have no idea how "LOL" triggered the profanity filter, but I think I fixed it.
2) So I like to think of the Atlas Guides as "pre-support" they can't fix your issue, but they can help make sure that it can't be resolved with documentation before pointing you to support.
3)This is a tough question because I don't know your exact situation, @ChristopherHa should be able to help you figure out exactly what you need and what we could offer. But to answer for our experience, I would expect to spend about 60-80 hours on Planning and building the initial phase of the bot. I was able to do it with one developer because I kept the integrations to a minimum in the early stages. One thing to note, the execution felt much easier than the conception, figuring out what to offer and how to get humans to that outcome is very time consuming.
4) The "Khoros Bot" is a feature of Modern Chat that is available to our customers. This bot has a really great NLP engine behind it, that I have witnessed in action. Basically you "teach" the bot "intents", these are indicators of what the user is trying to accomplish. Once you have enough intents, the bot will begin using AI to figure out what the user wants based upon phrases you have taught it. Every time someone interacts with the bot, it is learning associations between what they type and what you have taught it.
I was watching a chat happen in real time, where Maia opened with the usual menu, the user typed these words "Would it be possible to speak to someone live?" I had not taught Maia this phrase as it is an unusual way of asking this question. There was also not a menu option to speak to someone at this point in the flow, Maia recognized what the user said and stopped the flow, and started a completely different one connecting the user to an agent. basically it received input that did not answer the immediate question, and it read the input and decided to start a different flow. That is AI in action, it was a simple thing, but it was incredible to watch happen.
Thanks Stan, Please let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts.
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Hi! My name is Travis. I lead the team that created Maia, the Khoros chatbot. It’s pronounced MY-uh, in case you were wondering. Maia is Khoros’s new virtual guide, assistant, and friend.
I’d like to take a moment and reflect on the process of creating Maia. By giving you some insight into how we created our bot, we hope to give you some inspiration for your own chatbot journey.
In anticipation of the release of Khoro’s newest product, Modern Chat, an amazing chat program that has AI and bot capabilities, I approached my leadership team with a concept for our own chatbot. The idea was to build a bot named Maia, that would provide both sales and support functionality, and eventually serve as a true virtual helper throughout all of our products.
The bot’s name was inspired by the Khoros Community, Atlas. The Greek titan Atlas had a child named Maia, who was also the parent of the Greek god of messengers, Hermes. Maia is all about communication and helping you navigate Atlas, so I thought this would be a perfect name.
The project was approved and a team was put together, consisting of a Product Manager, Developer, and Conversational Designer. This is the minimum amount of people I would recommend if you are using a chatbot development software; you should expect to have a larger team of developers if you are going to make a bot from scratch.
At the same time, Khoros put together a group of stakeholders that would ensure the bot was serving in the best interest of every team across the company. This group is called a “Center of Excellence.” This has worked really well, and has fostered great cross-functional collaboration.
Building a bot is not easy. There are many pitfalls you will encounter, but we’ve found that an easy way to avoid a lot of those pitfalls is to have a clear and concise vision for the bot, then start simple to implement that vision. From there you can iterate and add additional experiences and flows.
We wanted Maia to serve as a Sales and Support assistant. It needed to both be able to help the sales team find new leads, but also to help existing customers navigate all things Khoros. Of course, we couldn’t do all of that overnight, so for the first phase, we only focused on Atlas and Khoros.com, with the plan to expand into Khoros products in a later phase. Adding a bot to a product is more nuanced than just having a navigational assistant - it takes careful planning and execution. Users' needs in the product are usually more immediate, so we want to ensure that we are providing a relevant experience.
Once we had a plan and vision in place, it was time to think about the bot’s identity and persona. Studies have shown that bots with distinctive personalities drive more engagement than bots who are merely functional. When creating Maia, we wanted to make sure it had a personality that would help users while still being engaging and fun. One thing to always remember is not to try to pass your bot off as human, ever. This can be seen as deceitful to consumers. However, you can still have a bot that is clearly a bot with a human-like personality.
When considering Maia’s personality we really wanted to get it right, so I enlisted the help of a peer who is an independent filmmaker and knows her stuff when it comes to character creation. @NatalieH came through for us with some incredible insights and a personality for Maia.
As a digital engagement platform, Khoros helps our customers connect with their customers. Therefore, Maia had to be a model for helping people connect.
We looked to the people who are really good at connecting with customers, our Product Coaching team. They are a delightful mix of nerdy, helpful, and hip. Basically, everything we would want Maia to be.
Once we had the personality down, Natalie used those characteristics and tone to build a “voice” guide, so no matter who is writing the dialogue, Maia's voice will always be consistent.
The name, personality, and voice were set. We were ready to design and build Maia. The Khoros Brand Design team gave us an incredible design for Maia's avatar. We spent a good amount of time thinking of all the ways a bot could help our users, and let me tell you, there are a lot of things a bot can do. We narrowed it down to four main themes and started in a very basic way, knowing that we would iteratively improve over time. The themes were Sales, Education, Support, and Company Updates.
Each theme was given three possible offshoots and then branches out into a spider web of possible things Maia could help people with. I did this by mapping flows that would end in desired outcomes. Once I knew where I wanted the user to end up, I could train Maia to get them there. I also didn’t add too much activity into any one flow, instead opting for many little flows that work together to accomplish bigger things. That way, we can edit the little flows over time without disrupting the overall experience.
Creating flows is kind of like drawing a treasure map. You have to account for user behavior, which is hard because people are complex. Luckily, Modern Chat has a pretty great AI that helps me train Maia without having to program every little thing. Once the map is drawn, the bot Developer and I worked together to build Maia. I built the flows and the developer built integrations that would allow Maia to actually do things. For example, we built an integration with StatusPage so you can ask Maia what the status of any of our solutions is. We then extensively tested the functionality on a staging website and worked out most of the bugs.
July 13, 2020, was the big day. I was very proud to introduce Maia to the world. I hope you’ve had a chance to interact with Maia, and if they weren't super helpful, or didn’t recognize what you told them, just remember that every day they get a little better. You can be part of improving Maia by clicking on the little chat bubble in the lower right-hand corner and saying “hi.”
I would love to hear your thoughts about Maia or chatbots in general in the comments.
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