I was a Senior UX Designer at Coolfire Solutions which was part agency part SaaS startup. One agency project we worked on for Enterprise Holdings (the rental car folks) was simply called "Roadside".
Enterprise had an initiative to reduce support costs by moving their roadside assistance call centers in-house. They needed a robust situational awareness tool for managing those inbound calls and Coolfire Solutions was asked to deliver.
As the UX Designer for Coolfire I flew with the business leaders to a call center in Florida to interview some folks and do a bit of job shadowing. I rode along as current call center agents addressed hundreds of calls each day. I used to work collections in a call center for Verizon and the whole situation gave me a bit of PTSD.
I continued the discovery work by running a design sprint and some workshops with Enterprise stakeholders to understand their view of the product's focus. Each member had a different idea of the business value so it was part design workshop, part therapy session, to get everyone united around the vision.
I put together basic wire frames and prototypes to illustrate the user flows, blending the desire for prescribed workflows of management with the flexibility needed by call center agents (you never knew how a call would go or what information you would get first).
One major finding from the shadowing was how essential sticky notes were on the calls. You really never knew what was going to happen when you picked up your phone - or what information the caller would have on hand. Stickies were essential to capturing quick spurts of info so you could plug it into the system later.
I implemented an in-app version of this feature so users could quickly add a note whenever they needed and it would be easily transferred or parsed into the correct forms at a later time. Also one of the main needs was an easy way to transfer callers to the correct department.
A major pivot to the app design was going from forms and data to a big ol' map. This was a crucial conversation with Andrew Dellamano, lead developer on the project. He knew more about the geospatial data they wanted to leverage and suggested a map experience. I took his idea and ran with it and was really happy with that direction.
This of course meant convincing the business that we could pull a "hard left" and still make deadlines, and Andrew was confident it would work.
The map was essential - users were Googling mile markers and landmarks based on what callers would be describing. They'd search around for tire shops, tow trucks, rest stops, etc. to get the driver to a safe place or find the closest Enterprise branch so the vehicle could be swapped out.
We drew the rental branch, return branch, and nearby branches on the maps and offered up meta data about each including phone numbers and hours of operation. We were also hoping to pull in real time data on inventory so agents could find the appropriate replacement vehicles.
In the end, Roadside allowed users to find a customer's rental in the database, surface relevant information about the rental ticket, and find the customer on a map then identify the nearest solution to their problem (tow truck, gas station, rental branch).
Opportunities for delight included simplified search, easy-to-use mapping, a wizard for identifying problems, and simplifying access to a vehicle features database.
The call center is live and being actively used for roadside problems. Coolfire's client passed on feedback from a training session with new workers:
We got some rave reviews today in the training class... 'I’ve worked at a lot of Contact Centers, and in a lot of systems, and this is the best system I’ve worked in. It’s very smooth and user friendly.'
Sr. Product Manager at Enterprise