Trung Nguyen and Mary Czerwinsksi, Compaq Computer Corporation and Dan Lee, Inference Corporation
This paper describes COMPAQ QuickSource, an electronic problem-solving and information system for Compaq’s line of networked printers. A major goal in designing this system was to empower Compaq’s customers with expert system technology to allow them to solve advanced network printer problems entirely on their own. This process minimizes customer down-time, reduces the number of phone calls to the Compaq Customer Support Center (resulting in monetary savings), improved customer satisfaction, and, perhaps most importantly, differentiates Compaq printers in the marketplace by providing the best, and most technologically advanced, customer support facility. This approach also represents a re-engineering of Compaq’s customer support strategy and implementation. In its first generation system, SMART, the objective was to provide expert knowledge to Compaq’s help desk operation to better and more quickly answer customer calls and problems. QuickSource is a second generation system in that the customer support function is put directly in the hands of the consumers (an example of "knowledge publishing"). As a result, the design of QuickSource presented a number of different and challenging issues. Because the product would be used by a diverse and heterogeneous set of users, a significant amount of human factors research and analysis was performed to help design and implement the system. The analysis also dictated certain decisions on the organization and design of the expert system component. Since September 1992, Compaq has shipped more than 3,000 copies of QuickSource.