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Choosing a Search App for a Portal: Key Features to Look for

In Microsoft’s State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, more than 90% of global consumers were found to expect a brand or organization to have a self-service offering.

Small wonder, then, that the number of self-service portals implementations are on such a steep rise. And so is there usage: Gartner has predicted that by 2017, two-thirds of all customer service interactions will no longer require the support of a human intermediary, as opposed to 55% In 2014.

While playing a key role in keeping customers happy, well-designed self-service portals can bring cost-savings in themselves as was shown in our success story of a European manufacturer.

Content portals, such as our customer’s, have actually a search application at their very core. What are the key requirements for the search application?

Deliver the right stuff and help users spot it fast

There is an abundance of search engines available already that boast high-quality algorithms and performance. Their importance is paramount, but some additional features are also needed for ensuring a great user experience for a portal.

  • find fast all content relevant to them
  • quickly identify the very best hits.

It is features that enable meeting these requirements that make the difference.

Tailor search app to suit users’ needs and context

Meeting the first requirement – accuracy of hits – requires capability to tailor the search application in the following ways:

  • Adjusting the options for search criteria to fit the use case: use cases of companies in different industries and the conditions their customers use portals under, they all vary.
  • Making the search criteria easy to select for the user: allowing searches, say, on specific installations or deliveries, on serial numbers and product categories, or based on content type: documentation, spare part information and prices, bulletins/knowledge and so forth.
  • Adjusting the results ranking criteria so that the portal provider can ensure that content with the highest importance – for example, bulletins on the latest changes to equipment – are displayed first in the results.

Show content previews, not just filenames and details

Ok, let’s suppose we have now met the first requirement: quickly delivered a list of the most relevant content to the user. How can we help with the second one: help them find fast the very files they really need in the list?

Showing various details of the file – for example, brief description of its content and type, author, creation date and so forth is a common practice that works well. Another one is giving users options for filtering the results based on similar criteria as for searches, as discussed above.
What is even more powerful is giving users previews of the material , even highlighting the search words in the text. We usually recognize the good stuff right when we see it; not so often, when it is just described to us.But mind you, good technology that provides content previews quickly is not commonplace;

But mind you, good technology that provides content previews quickly is not commonplace; even more rarely does it work properly where bandwidth is slow – for example, over a crowded mobile network.

And our choice is…

So, the perfect application for a today’s content portal is not only an efficient search engine, but it also provides:

Where to find all these in one package? Look no further than at Documill Discovery.

By | June 2nd, 2016|