A Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, 2013, 6, 21-25
doi:10.4236/jsea.2013.65B005 Published Online May 2013 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/jsea) 21
Computer Assisted Alerts Using Mental Model Approach
for Customer Service Improvement
Abid Ghaffar1,2, Mohamed Ridza Wahiddin1, Asadullah Shaikh3
1Department of Computer Science, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2Department of Computer
Science, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 3Department of Information Technology, Shaheed Benazir
Bhutto University, Shaheed Benazirabad, Pakistan.
Email: aaghaffar@uqu.edu.sa, abid.ghafffar@live.iium.edu.my, mridza@iium.edu.my, shaikhasad@hotmail.com
Received 2013
Warning alerts are specially designed to protect user rights and safety to avoid serious damage caused by overlooking
the essence of warning alerts. Today’s world of Information Communication Technology (ICT) needs improvement and
to review the decisions of security experts in terms of improving warning designs and dialogues, and timely inform the
authorities to take quick action at the right time and cho ice. Human behav iour is deeply invo lved in most of th e security
failures and its poor response. If we are able to check and monitor human behaviour in any organisation, we can achieve
quality assurance and prov ide best services to our customers. We have arranged a study in the Center of Post Graduate
Studies, International Islamic University, Malaysia (CPS-IIUM), department of Hajj Services-Makkah, and Hospital
Management System-Makkah comprised of Observation, Interviews, Questionnaire and discussion based on organiza-
tional structure and job activities of people involved in different scenarios and positions under one umbrella of organ-
izational objectives in order to trap the human error in order to take rapid action and response from the management
team. Human behaviour is deeply observed and check ed while performing different job activities in ord er to identify the
serious errors at the right time during job performance at various levels. We have applied the concept of Brahm’s Lan-
guage for the simulation of human behaviour which proves an opportunity to simulate human behaviour while per-
forming job activities. Customer service can be improved easily if necessary measures and decisions are taken at the
right time and place in any organisation.
Keywords: Mental Model Approach; Warning Dialogues; Warning Alerts; Computer Alerts; Security and Privacy;
Cognitive Science
1. Introduction
Customer Service Department has many practical chal-
lenges to meet the formal requirements, but some issues
remained unresolved and hidden for long and do not come
up with solution. Consequently, organizational strength
and objectives are compromised to a great extent and
might result in organizational sufferings or collapse,
therefore, it is highly recommended to take rapid action
against those shortfalls which are compromising the ob-
jectives of an organization and leading us towards failure
It has been observed in sensitive departments like
military forces, nuclear installations, weapon develop-
ment industries, hospitals, security related offices, auto-
mated transport systems like computerized trains etc. that
even a small mistake or an error in day to day affairs in
an organization might cause a huge damage or loss not
only to an organization but also to the natural environ-
ment and people around [7]. The idea is to trap those
human errors which can be checked and warning alert
could be issued well in time in order to take rapid action
at the spot [1].
In order to address the quality assurance in the cus-
tomer service department we have arranged a research
study to monitor the job activities of an individual in
order to design mental model which will lead us towards
organiz ational goal and objectives [5] .
There is a great challenge to trap the human activity
error in order to generate the warning alerts, Brahms
Language provides us full opportunity to proceed in this
direction. Modeling for the real world practice has been
performed to define human activity system, later, real
world practice and computational modeling was estab-
lished [2].
The remainder of the paper provides an overview of
the mental model design and generation of warning alert
system during the course of error in the work practice
system. In Section 2 the strategy which has been used for
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. JSEA
Computer Assisted Alerts Using Mental Model Approach for Customer Service Improvement
designing mental model and generation of warning codes
is discussed. Section 3 presents the related research work
in the field of human activities based on work practice
system and warning alert system. Section 4 explores the
feedback loop which improves existing work practice
system. Section 5 focuses on warning code system. In
Section 6 the application of Brahms Modeling and
Simulation is addressed. Finally, Section 7 provides the
conclusion and identifies directions for future work.
2. Research Methodology
We have chosen three departments for our mental model
design, i.e., Centre of Post Graduate Studies, Interna-
tional Islamic University, Malaysia, Hajj Department-
Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Hospital Department for Patient
Records, Saudi Arabia. Currently, we are working on
CPS-IIUM Mental Model Design and we have success-
fully designed the human behavioural activities for one
user as given below. We have conducted interviews/
questionnaire from different employees working in the
CPS-IIUM and tried to monitor the job activities. The
major objective of job for each position of an employee
is kept in mind and we have observed all the steps while
performing job activities of an employee [8]. We have
applied quantitative and qual itative research methodol ogy.
Figure 1 represents the mental model design for
CPS-IIUM (customer service) is being presented which
starts from observation and reaches towards potential
results through judgment and action plan. Warning alert
would be generated if any error occurred in the job activ-
ity of an individual [1]. The whole process involved Ob-
servation, Judgment, Action and Results. It clearly indi-
cates how we can achieve quality results if proper job
patterns are follo wed and obliged [5].
Different warning codes have been defined based on
the sensitivity of errors and it is activated wh enever error
is generated in certain situation as a result of human be-
havioural activity in the system [1,3,4]. In case of
CPS-IIUM modeling system, we have observed different
activity level e.g. Documents Received, Lack of IT Sup-
port, Lack of Coordination with staff members, Lack of
Resources, Lack of Appreciation, Health Issues, Absence
from Duty, Incompatible Rules, Lack of Skills, Over-
burdened, Personal Problems etc. In the second phase
called “Judge and Decide” (Figure 1), decisions are
taken like Documents Evaluation, Request for Resources,
Learn Skills, Rule Update, Discussion on Issues, Adopt
healthy habits and Goal Settings etc. Similarly, in the
third phase called “Act” which consists of action part
after completing judgment and decision phases, it con-
tains Decision Taken, Acquire better Resources, Maxi-
mize Availability, Active Role Playing, Rules Followed,
Timely Decision, Weak Decision Making, Breaking
Rules, Inefficient and Documents sent to Record Unit etc.
Consequently, the potential results are achieved in terms
of Quality Assurance. We achieve two types of results
either positive or negative depending on the job pattern
followed by the employee in the department which is
under consideration for mental model design. Quick re-
plies to emails, phone calls, postal mails and customer
status is always known if proper job pattern is followed
as mentioned in the mental model for the customer ser-
vice. On the other hand, potential results in the form of
late replies to emails, phone calls and postal mails,
moreover, customer status is always unknown if im-
proper job pattern is followed [6].
Figure 1. Mental model design for customer service improvement [1].
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. JSEA
Computer Assisted Alerts Using Mental Model Approach for Customer Service Improvement 23
It is a great challenge for observers to record human
behaviour in certain situations as human behaviour
changes with respect to time and mood [5], therefore,
customer feed-back is also recorded and observed di-
rectly which leads us to design mental model of CPS-
IIUM. During the whole process of observation, judge-
ment, and action part, it has been keenly observed that
information must be recorded with the help of interviews
and questionnaire. All the questions laid down based on
the direct observation and based on the organisational
Example of research questions are:
Q1. What is your job title?
Q2. What are your job activities?
Q3. Are you satisfied with your job objectives?
Q4. How many times you take personal leave in a
Q5. How much time you spend in social media in a
3. Related Work
Most of the security applications have loop holes in their
implementation part just due to the irresponsible human
role and behaviour while dealing with security issues [9].
Geong Sen Poh et al. (2012), presented an idea about
HBSF called Human Behaviour Security Framework
while dealing with security related issues [8]. He has
designed some security framework where we can provide
safety to the system [8].
Jim Blythe et al. (2011), presented an idea about
simulation of human behaviour in testing cyber security.
It reflects the human role in the security framework [9].
There are possibilities to simulate different security be
behaviour but at some point we have to rely on human
behaviour role which have been experienced a security
risk [9].
Cristian Bravo-Lillo et al. (2011), gave an idea about
designing warning dialogues and messages which may
lead to safe behaviour. She focused on the basic concept
of designing warning dialogues and messages at proper
location while designing software applications [1].
Maarten Sierhuis et al. (2002), gave an idea for work
system design with the help of Brahm’s Model. He fo-
cused on the observation of human behaviour while per-
forming job in the real work practice system, and with
the help of Brahm’s Simulation and Modeling technique
work practice system can be designed [2].
In 2011, Lorrie Faith Cranor presented an idea about
human framework while dealing with security warnings.
There are different factors involved in human behaviour
e.g. psychological, emotional, knowledge and motivation
to take a certain decision [5]. Similarly, Jim Blythe USC
et al. (2011) proposed the concept of risk communication
while display ing warning dialog ues and alerts [6].
Nevertheless, existing research is focused on the mu-
tual relationship between human behaviour and security
technologies. It doesn’t give us a way out plan or model
a work practice system which can detect its own errors
either caused by human behaviour or by security tech-
3.1. Our Contribution
Our main objective is to design such a model which can
generate warning alerts in a real work practice system by
using the concept of Brahm’s Modeling and Simulation
[2]. Human behaviour is deeply involved while perform-
ing different job activities in an organisation, it’s quite
difficult to trap the human error in the real working en-
vironment where so many factors are involved to deter-
mine the efficiency of an individual.
Our working model generates the warning alerts which
could lead the organisation from failure state to the suc-
cessful state. Moreover organisational targets and goals
can be easily met if it is applied in its letter and spirit.
Consequently, organizational quality and efficiency can
be improved and maximized, quality assurance can be
4. Feedback Loop in the Work Practice
Figure 2 shows the input in the work practice system
called feedback loop based on the error generated in the
work practice system which has been trapped by the
mental model design. Feedback loop is generated based
on the analysis of warning codes generated by consider-
ing the efficiency of employees performing different job
activities in the work practice system. All the employees
Figure 2. Computer Assisted Alerts based on organisational
work practice system.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. JSEA
Computer Assisted Alerts Using Mental Model Approach for Customer Service Improvement
are working towards th e direction of set goals and targ ets,
it is extremely important for each employee to achieve
targets in time to meet the predefined objectives. It has
been observed throughout the world, there are many or-
ganisations which turned into the failure state and do not
come up with positive results, besides, there is no one
accepting his mistakes or held responsible providing the
reasons for the failure of an organization, therefore, it
would be extremely important to trap the errors in time
and perform rapid action to save the organisation.
5. Warning Codes
Table 1 shows different categories of warning codes based
on the error generated in the work practice system. Any
rule is violated must be encoded in the form of warning
codes and must be reported to the top management which
would result in rapid action and support leading to the
improvement in the work practice system. Some of the
warning codes are serious and need more intense and
timely action. This would rescue the whole system in
case of failure state. All the warning codes are designed
with significance importance provided with ample in-
formation which must lead to right decision and timely
action. It has been observed from different software ap-
plications, warning codes are not designed properly and
effectively which may lead us to wrong or weak decision
making [1]. Once everything is defined, warning codes
are generated based on the situation in the existing work
practice system.
6. Application of Brahms Modeling and
Simulation Concept
Every employee has different scenario and possess dif-
ferent responsibilities in the work practice system, based
on his existing job scenario, his job pattern is defined by
considering Brahms Modeling and Simulation [2]. It
would be a great importance, how an employee is han-
dling his job matters e.g. dealing with agents, objects,
artifacts, activity, timing, geog raphy, communication and
knowledge etc., [2].
Table 1. Distribution of warning codes in the work prac tice
.No Warning Codes Objectives Effective Range
1 001 Rules Violation Department
2 002 Late Reply Department
3 003 Unknown Status Department
4 004 Health Issues Department
5 005 Absence from Duty Department
6 006 Shortage of Skills Department
7 007 Lack of Communi c a t i o n Department
----- ----- ------------- -----------
n N Weak Decision Making
Brahms provides us the deep insight about human-
achine interaction system which helps us to understand
how human actually interact with colleagues, documents,
and machine, communicate and behave, while perform-
ing various job activities at certain interval of time [2].
Brahms Process Model comprise of various independent
related models which provides us an opportunity to per-
form modeling job in an easier and efficient way [2].
These independent models are:
6.1. Agent
Every work system has different people having different
roles in any organisation with respect to different loca-
tion. Agent model is based on group level hierarchy of
the people which are inter-related together on the basis of
mutual interest, personal relationships and location [2].
6.2. Objects
This model is based on domain objects and artifacts like
tools, documents, desks, machines and vehicles in a hier-
archic form [2].
6.3. Activity
The activity model is related to the activities performed
by agents and objects with the passage of time. Activities
of agents and objects are always performed at the group
or class level [2].
6.4. Geography
The geography model is related to the physical location
where agents and objects are located like buildin g, rooms
and habitats [2].
6.5. Timing
This is time when some activity is performed called
situation-action rules (workframes). Different activities
take different timing for completion. Workframes some-
times interrupted and sometimes resumed based on cer-
tain situation, therefore, we consider these frames as
situatio n d ependent [2].
6.6. Knowledge
This model is based on agent’s reasoning which can be
represented as forward-chaining production rules called
throught frames which come under group and class levels
and these thought frames can be inherited [2].
6.7. Communication:
The communication model is based on the activity per-
formed by agents and objects through exchanging beliefs
and information. A conversation is modeled as an activ-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. JSEA
Computer Assisted Alerts Using Mental Model Approach for Customer Service Improvement
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. JSEA
ity with the help of communication actions like face to
face discussion, by email or by telephone [2].
Real work practice system is keenly observed and hu-
man behaviour is measured by deep observation, ques-
tionnaire and by interviews. Human behaviour is simu-
lated by comparing the results of real work practice sys-
tem. Verification and analysis of each and every activity
is monitored till the simulation results matches with the
real work practice system [2].
Brahms Simulation application provides us the general
behaviour of work practice system with respect to time
using the concept of various activities, communication
and movement of each agent and object in the work prac-
tice system. Brahms simulation engine executes the com-
plete model once it is finalised consequently, relational
database is created by the simulation engine which in-
volves all the events. Brahms display tool known as
Agent Viewer is used to display all the different agents,
objects, activities, and areas etc., [2]. We can check the
timeline of different activities in the work practice sys-
tem by using Agent viewer Tool, therefore, it would be
easy for us to generate the warning alerts in case of any
error caused by the human behavioural activities in the
work practice system and rapid action can be taken for
the customer service improvement in any organisation.
7. Conclusions and Future Work
Quality assurance factor is achieved and customer ser-
vice has been improved which was a practical challenge
for the concerned authorities in an y organisation. Human
error is unpredictable and it is very hard and complex to
judge someone’s actual behaviour while performing cer-
tain job activities.
It happens specially wh en we are working as a tea m in
an organisation and whole efficiency is compromised due
to some regular human errors in the system at various
levels. Human behaviour changes with respect to the
mood, time and situation. However, our research study
monitors most of the human behavioural activities and
diagnoses problematic area, where potential errors are
made, consequently, it is checked and well identified in
order to achieve the best quality results. Seco ndly, warn-
ing alerts can be designed effectively according to the
mental understanding of the people so that timely rapid
action can be taken effectively and efficiently.
Future work can be done in the direction of human
behaviour studies in more details as it includes various
dimensions which needs more investigation and analysis.
Moreover, human behaviour is based on mood, emotions,
relationships and sensitivity which cannot be captured
one hundred percent, therefore, it is suggested to work in
more details about Brahms Simulation and Modeling
Technique to define Human-Machine interaction system,
which will also result in the improvement of warning
alert generation at the time of error caused by human
behavioural activity at certain interval.
8. Acknowledgements
This research is partially funded by the Malaysian Min is-
try of Higher Education Grant IIUM/504/RES/G/14/3/
2/2/ERGS and partly supported by Umm Al-Qura Uni-
versity, Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We would
like to thank Professor Asadullah Shah and Associate
Professor Mohamad Fauzan Bin Noordin for their useful
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