Editing the Knowledge Base Best Practices

Modified on Mon, 18 Sep, 2023 at 11:55 AM

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Each chatbot library comes preloaded with hundreds of questions and responses, so your bot can start helping users immediately upon launching. However, sometimes you may need to edit existing responses or create a new question to customize the chatbot to your unique institution. 

The purpose of this article is to help you write content that effectively answers your users' questions. To help you navigate the article we have broken it down into the following sections:

Question Templates

Question templates are the top questions that Ocelot recommends you customize with school-specific information in order for your chatbot to be as effective as possible. Carefully customizing your templates will increase the effectiveness of your chatbot, enhance user experience, and reduce the number of interactions that need individual follow-up.

For more information about completing your question templates, review the Complete Question Templates article.

Templates come preloaded with suggested text to simplify the customization process. If you want to use the suggested text, you can complete any missing information and delete any text you don’t want your users to see before saving the question. There are several different types of templates:

Template Type Example

Yes/No sample text

  • Choose the applicable response.

  • Edit the text if/as needed for your school.

    • Avoid writing one-word responses and provide any relevant helpful details for your users.

  • Delete any text you don’t want users to see:

    • The incorrect option.

    • An empty fill-in-the-blank space.

  • Treat templates with does/does not and are/are not sample text options the same way.

Do you offer tuition insurance?

(1) If yes: You can visit this webpage ________ to learn more about tuition insurance.


(2) If no: We do not offer tuition insurance.

Multiple-choice sample text

  • Choose the applicable response.

  • Edit the text as needed for your school.

  • Delete any text you don’t want users to see, like:

    • Options that are not available at your school.

    • Leftover commas, slash marks, or blanks.

How do I get my 1098-T?

You will get your 1098-T automatically/by request in the following ways: online/by mail/other.

Your 1098-T will be available on [enter a specific date, month, or time frame].

Fill-in-the-blank sample text

  • Complete the sentences with blank.

  • Edit the text as needed for your school.

  • Delete any text you don’t want users to see, such as leftover blank spaces.

How long does it take to receive student loan funds?

Once you complete all of your application requirements, your loan funds will be paid to your account within ___ business days. Once issued to your account, we will issue you a refund of any leftover money within ___ business days.

Numbered list sample text

  • Explain the steps in your school’s process.

  • Add, remove, or change steps as needed. 

  • Delete any text you don’t want users to see, like:

    • Extra numbers.

    • Empty fill-in-the-blank spaces.

What do I need to do with my financial aid offer?

Once you receive your financial aid offer, you must take the following steps to confirm your financial aid:

  1. ____________________

  2. ____________________

  3. ____________________


Custom Questions

To ensure the best user experience, new custom questions must work within the parameters of our AI model. Before creating a new custom question, test your chatbot to see if it already provides a response to your proposed question. 

For more information about testing your chatbot, please review the Test Your Bot article.

When creating a new custom question from scratch, we recommend the following:

  • Write in complete sentences, including a noun and at least one verb.
  • Write one-word questions which make it difficult for the AI to determine the intent, or goal, of your input.
  • Write questions that are simple and straightforward.
  • Write long, complex questions that have multiple parts.
  • Remember that your users may not be familiar with your specific names for things, especially if they are new to your institution.
  • Use jargon or acronyms that may have multiple meanings for different audiences.
  • Write out the full name of any abbreviation.
  • Use abbreviations without context about their full name or meaning.
  • Use staff member titles, which generally stay the same when people leave a job.
  • Use staff member names, which change more often than the title of the job that person does.
  • Begin your question with a question word (who, what, where, when, why, which, or how).
  • Begin your question with a greeting or other pleasantry (hey there, hi, yo chatbot, etc.)
  • Use general terms like "school" or "portal;" since the user is already engaging with your chatbot, you don't need to remind them.
  • Use your school name or the specific name of your portal.

Custom Responses

If testing your chatbot provides a response to your proposed question or relevant suggestion boxes, you can edit the existing response to customize it to your institution. If you create a new custom question, you will also need to write a custom response for that new question.

For more information about creating new custom chatbot questions, please review the Creating a Knowledge Base Response article.

When editing an existing response or writing a new custom response from scratch, we recommend the following:

  • Make sure to provide a clear and direct response to the question being asked in a conversational tone.
  • Begin a response with "yes" or "no" since a question can be asked in many different ways and a yes/no response is not always appropriate.
  • Try not to overwhelm the user with large blocks of text. Users can ask follow-up questions as needed.
  • Provide one-word responses, or only a URL with no additional information about where it leads.
  • Consider future upkeep and keep content evergreen by adding hyperlinks to landing pages and using general terms that will remain relevant for a longer period of time, like "semester" or "year." 
  • Use year-specific language for responses that don't change from year to year, or hyperlink directly to forms or pages that change regularly.
  • Set review dates for responses that must be updated on a recurring basis (admissions and financial aid application information, etc.) 
  • Neglect to update year-specific language or forms ahead of time.
  • Use variables to update information in several responses simultaneously; remember, you can create custom variables in addition to using Ocelot's pre-built variables.
  • Always write out information like email addresses, phone numbers, and common websites that will need to be updated question by question if they change.

For more information about using variables in your responses, please review the Creating a Knowledge Base Response article. 

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