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Similarity-based approach for accurately retrieving similar cases to intelligently handle online complaints

Xiaolan Cui (School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China)
Shuqin Cai (School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China)
Yuchu Qin (School of Computing and Engineering, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a similarity-based approach to accurately retrieve reference solutions for the intelligent handling of online complaints.

Design/methodology/approach

This approach uses a case-based reasoning framework and firstly formalizes existing online complaints and their solutions, new online complaints, and complaint products, problems and content as source cases, target cases and distinctive features of each case, respectively. Then the process of using existing word-level, sense-level and text-level measures to assess the similarities between complaint products, problems and contents is explained. Based on these similarities, a measure with high accuracy in assessing the overall similarity between cases is designed. The effectiveness of the approach is evaluated by numerical and empirical experiments.

Findings

The evaluation results show that a measure simultaneously considering the features of similarity at word, sense and text levels can obtain higher accuracy than those measures that consider only one level feature of similarity; and that the designed measure is more accurate than all of its linear combinations.

Practical implications

The approach offers a feasible way to reduce manual intervention in online complaint handling. Complaint products, problems and content should be synthetically considered when handling an online complaint. The designed procedure of the measure with high accuracy can be applied in other applications that consider multiple similarity features or linguistic levels.

Originality/value

A method for linearly combining the similarities at all linguistic levels to accurately assess the overall similarities between online complaint cases is presented. This method is experimentally verified to be helpful to improve the accuracy of online complaint case retrieval. This is the first study that considers the accuracy of the similarity measures for online complaint case retrieval.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to appreciate the insightful comments from the two anonymous reviewers for the improvement of the paper. The authors also would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71371081) and the Specialized Research Foundation for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (No. 20130142110044).

Citation

Cui, X., Cai, S. and Qin, Y. (2017), "Similarity-based approach for accurately retrieving similar cases to intelligently handle online complaints", Kybernetes, Vol. 46 No. 7, pp. 1223-1244. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-10-2016-0271

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited