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Automatically suggesting solutions for Ask a Question requests
Answer ID 453   |   Last Review Date 02/03/2019

How can I configure Oracle B2C Service to respond to incoming incidents with SmartAssistant suggested solutions?


SmartAssistant Suggested Solutions, Business Rules, Ask a Question


Before the incident is created, we would like the application to display relevant answers for the submitter to review.

You can configure your Oracle B2C Service site so that when end-users submit an incident from your Ask A Question page, the application evaluates the text in the question and determines the answers that best match. Then, these suggested answers are displayed to the end-user for their consideration.  If the suggested answers do not resolve the issue, the end-user can then continue submitting the incident.

By configuring your site this way, you provide one last opportunity for end-users to resolve their own issues before submitting the incident to your support staff.

When configuring your site to suggest answers for Ask a Question requests, you have two options:

  • Option 1:  Create a business rule that appends the system-defined SmartAssistant Response to the Solution field of the incident.

    You can configure the rule to display the suggested solutions to the end-user pages independently of appending the solutions to the incident thread itself. That is, you can configure the suggested solutions to display during the submittal process without having them included in the incident thread.

    Smart Assistant will not display without the use of the following widget in your ask.php page:  <rn:widget path="input/SmartAssistantDialog"/>

If you wish to customize the content that is displayed to your end-users, you must use option 2 as well.

  • Option 2:  Create a custom standard text response that includes the $solutions variable.  Then create a business rule that appends that standard text to the Solution field of the incident.

Incidents submitted via email:  To include suggested solutions with incoming email requests sent to a mailbox, you must first create a standard text response to append to the incident response. Then you must create a rule to append the standard response to the incident.

The Append SmartAssistant Response to Response Field option when creating business rules does not work if the incident comes into the system via email.  Since the incident is submitted to a mailbox, there is no way to provide suggested solutions before the email is processed and becomes an incident.  Instead you must create your own response and append it using a rule.

Number of solutions suggested:  When configuring suggested solutions, you can define the maximum number of answers that can be suggested.  The SA_NL_MAX_SUGGESTIONS configuration setting specifies the maximum number of SmartAssistant solutions that are suggested.

Select Configuration from the navigation area > Site Configuration > Configuration Settings > and search by Key

When using suggested solutions, you can also restrict the suggested answers to be from the same product or category as the incident that is submitted. For more information on doing this, refer to Answer ID 1053: Restricting Suggested Solutions by Product or Category.

Option 1: Configuring a Rule to Display SmartAssistant Suggested Answers with Ask a Question Requests

The most direct way to suggest answers to end-users when they submit an incident through the Ask a Question page is to create a rule that includes the action Append SmartAssistant Response to Response Field.

This approach uses system-defined content to display the suggested solutions. When the end-user submits the Ask a Question request, if there are answers in the knowledge base that closely match the content of the incident, the user sees a screen that says:

Preliminary Response to Question
The following answers may be relevant to your question:

This heading is followed with links to the suggested answers along with a button that allows the user to submit the incident if the suggestions did not answer their question.  If you wish to customize the content that displays to your end-user, you must create a custom standard text and use the approach described in the section below.

Rule configuration:  To create a rule that displays suggested solutions to your end-users, configure the rule as defined below for the appropriate release. 

To edit the incident rules, use the path: Configuration > Site Configuration, select Rules. From the ribbon click on Incident and then click the Edit button.  Once you have updated the rules, be sure to compile and activate them for use.

There are two distinct incident sources that can be enabled for the rule.  

  • End-User Pages > Ask a Question.  Use this source to append the suggested solutions to the incident response thread. This source option does not display the suggested solutions during the submittal process. 

  • End-User Pages > SmartAssistant on Ask a Question. Use this source to display the suggested solutions to the end-user pages during the submittal process.  The suggested solutions are not appended to the incident itself.

In the IF part of the rule, you can use one source or the other or you can enable both sources if you want the solutions to display both during the submittal process AND to be appended to the incident.  In the THEN part of the rule, include the action Append SmartAssistant Response to Response Field.

For example, to only display the suggested solutions during the submittal process, configure the rule to look like:

IF Incident Source equals End-User Pages: SmartAssistant on Ask a Question
THEN Add Action > Append Thread > Append SmartAssistant Response to Response Field 

In this case, if you also want to append the solutions to the incident response field, then enable both the SmartAssistant on Ask a Question AND the Ask a Question box in the Incident Source field in the rule.

When using this approach, with both sources enabled, the suggested solutions display both during the submittal process AND the solutions are appended to the incident thread.

Option 2:  Configuring Smart Assistance Responses with a Custom Standard Text Response

When configuring your site to suggest solutions to your users, you can customize the content that displays on the page with the suggested solutions. For example, you can include a bolded statement to instruct users that they have not yet submitted their request and that they must still click the Finish Submitting button.

To customize the message that displays with the suggested solutions, you must create a standard text response and then use a rule to append that standard response to the response thread of the incident. 

To create a standard text, use the path Configuration > Service > Standard Text. 

To include links to suggested answers from your knowledge base in your standard response, you must append the SmartAssistant Solutions variable in the standard text response. The variable displays as $SOLUTIONS within the standard response.

  • When creating the standard text item, the content in the HTML field is what displays to the end-users during the submittal process from the Ask a Question page.
    In the HTML field of the standard text, use HTML code to format your response. This includes adding paragraph tags or line breaks as well as font style and colors as appropriate.

  • The content of the HTML Value field is what can be appended to the incident response thread and becomes part of the incident.

NOTE: Where an HTML value does not exist, the Text content will be used.

For example, you could use the following content in the HTML field so that it displays immediately to the end-user when submitting the Ask a Question request:

These answers were automatically selected for your consideration. If your issue is addressed in our public answers, the solution link should be listed below. If no solutions are listed or the solutions do not match your issue, then there were no public Answers matching your issue. <br /><br />

<b>Click the Finish Submitting Question button below to submit your issue to our support staff. </b> <br /><br />


Rule configuration:  When configuring the rule, the THEN part of the rule includes the action Append Response Template to Response field

If the standard text is also supposed to be sent to the end-user, include the action Email > Send Email Response to Sender.

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