Learning to Align Question and Answer Utterances in Customer Service Conversation with Recurrent Pointer Networks

  • Shizhu He Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Kang Liu Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Weiting An Alibaba Group

Abstract

Customers ask questions, and customer service staffs answer those questions. It is the basic service manner of customer service (CS). The progress of CS is a typical multi-round conversation. However, there are no explicit corresponding relations among conversational utterances. This paper focuses on obtaining explicit alignments of question and answer utterances in CS. It not only is an important task of dialogue analysis, but also able to obtain lots of valuable train data for learning dialogue systems. In this work, we propose end-to-end models for aligning question (Q) and answer (A) utterances in CS conversation with recurrent pointer networks (RPN). On the one hand, RPN-based alignment models are able to model the conversational contexts and the mutual influence of different Q-A alignments. On the other hand, they are able to address the issue of empty and multiple alignments for some utterances in a unified manner. We construct a dataset from an in-house online CS. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed models are effective to learn the alignments of question and answer utterances.

Published
2019-07-17
Section
AAAI Technical Track: AI and the Web