Good example of user interaction on a phone call

I recently had a good user experience when I called for a cab. The call was through an answering machine and because of that I was surprised it actually worked. And it worked well.

The call started like this:

Welcome from [Company name] taxis.
To be picked up from [my address], press 1
To be picked up from [another address I use often], press 2
Or please hold to talk to an operator.

I pressed 1.

To confirm your booking from [my address] for as soon as possible, press 1
To book a taxi for later today, press 2
To book a taxi for tomorrow, press 3
Or to speak to an operator, press 0

And so on.

Why I think this worked:

  • The service learned my behaviour
    The service learned where I like to be collected from. By not having to type or say anything, it made it easier, quicker and convenient for me.
  • It reassured me along the way
    During the call, I was constantly reassured that what I chose was understood correctly by the machine. At various points in the call, it repeated my choices. When it ended they repeated and asked me to confirm. After the call they sent me a detailed text message. Feedback and reassurance are important for users to feel they are on the right path.
  • Concise text
    The machine only says what is necessary. By doing that, it saves users’ time and make it simpler for them to make the right decisions. User’s time is precious, especially in services like this one when users might be in a hurry.
  • Tasks were broken down into small simple tasks
    It made it easier to make the right decisions when the tasks were broken down into a small number of tasks and decisions points.
  • Simple steps for basic users. Elaborate tasks for advanced ones.
    Users who want the basic features, in this case, to book a taxi for now from their address, will accomplish the task very quickly in just a few presses away. Users who wants more advanced features will need to go a bit further. Their tasks are a bit more complex, therefore requires more exploration.
  • At any point I could talk with the operator.
    I could choose the way I want to interact with the service, either by talking with an operator or by following the steps, whatever I feel more comfortable with.

I found this a good example of user experience. The part that most got my attention was the fact that the service learnt users behaviour and by doing that it improved an ordinary activity which made it stand out from the crowd.