Deutsche Telecom AG in their nationwide phone shops provide advice to customers about features of telephone equipment, telephone configuration, fees etc. Because of the frequent revision of the products and the complexity of the offered devices and services, sales staff needs expensive and tim consuming training.
The then German Postal Service commissioned InterFace Computer GmbH to develop a system to support advisory service in the telephone stores. The goal is to translate the customer's wishes and requirements into a viable and most economical configuration. As a result of a search, the system proposes best match offers like "two push phones and utilize Family Telephone System. The fee is less than 40DM for two months."
In its knowledge base the characteristics of telephones, attachments and telephone circuits are written in the form of frames. Regulations on the configuration issued by Postal Service are expressed using constraints. Proposals are generated by possibility-list method, i.e., searching all options and eliminating those which do not satisfy requirements by customers and the regulations. It is also possible to search combinations giving priority to the economical aspects.
The knowledge base is written in IF/Prolog to allow easy maintenance and revisions in accordance with new products or services.
This system is used in over 150 telephone stores of the German Postal Service and Deutsche Telecom. Advisors, with the help of this system, can better satisfy the customers' wishes and explain the latest products more in detail.
IF/Prolog, SINIX, Collage
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