Recently, I phoned expedia to enquire about changing a flight. Normally I would have waited until I was in a quiet place with my travel details written down before phoning, but on this occasion I didn’t have that luxury. I was running out of time and needed to sort it out quickly – so I phoned them on a packed train, aiming to juggle explaining my enquiry, getting the details they would need from me about my reservation from my mobile phone whilst talking to them and trying to remember their answers instead of making notes.
After going through the expected “press 1 for X, press 2 for Y” I was pleasantly surprised to hear that their automated service already knew my flight details. they must’ve used my telephone number to find my upcoming booking. their automated service asked me if i was calling for my upcoming trip to x on x date without me having to tell them anything. I didn’t need to scramble about looking for flight numbers on my phone whilst talking on it.
When I got through to talk to someone they told me their name. instead of playing horrible hold music, they said that they would we working in silence for a minute but if i needed them i should call out their name and they would be right with me.
they told me that it was taking longer than they expected to find the details they needed to answer my query but to save my time; they could call me back in a few minutes when they had an answer for me – instead of having me wait on hold.
being on a train I was prone to losing signal. when i inevitably did, they phoned me straight back. i didn’t have to chase them and explain my request to another person, starting the whole process again.
I didn’t actually end up changing my flight. the cost for changing it was more than i was willing to pay and most importantly more than it originally cost. But, flight costs are outside of the remit of the UX team. Nevertheless, it was a great telephone experience.
Tags: service design, UX