Andrew Nusca of ZDnet recently interviewed MindTouch CEO Aaron Fulkerson about his company’s use of machine learning. Nusca writes, “When I last wrote about MindTouch, the San Diego-based company, I mentioned that there was a lot of money on the line—$83 billion, according to one market estimate—to get customer service right. MindTouch’s latest gambit? Machine learning. The theory: if it can write a bunch of algorithms that can learn over time to provide more relevant search results, it can speed up the support process, and presumably turn unhappy customers into happy ones again. I spoke with founder and CEO Aaron Fulkerson.”

Fulkerson told Nusca, “What we realized was that people have already innovated around reactive customer support technologies, such as ZendeskSalesforceSAP, Oracle with RightNow. The other side is Jive,LithiumGet Satisfaction: more community tools, peer to peer. In many cases, that absolutely works. And for case management, companies need these ticketing systems. But nobody’s investigated how we prevent customers from inquiring and picking up the phone in the first place. When the customer is happier, they will buy more products. Apple has proven that. Social media networks like Facebook applied social technologies to customer service as a reactive measure. But nobody’s really tapped into this web of knowledge, the information across customer channels. With it, you have the ability to spot trends much more rapidly. Seventy-one percent of the population wants it immediately, and on their own. So we help customers get the answer, and through machine learning, we provide related knowledge paths to that answer.”

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Image: Courtesy MindTouch