Let's talk like humans again

CRADLE
PRODUCT UX
2016-2019

Right person, right time.

Whilst most major industries have seen a genuine innovation and dare you say "disruption" (think autonomous cars and digital wallets), the business phone system landscape has not experienced much, if any, real innovation in the last two decades. For many small to medium sized businesses they still rely on traditional phone lines or very basic VoIP products to help them stay connected with their customers. Even with buzz words like "bots" and "automation" seemingly driving the conversation in the media and elsewhere, you'd be pleasantly surprised to discover that people, we humans, still very much crave a real voice conversation with another human on the other end.

Fewer frustrations, more conversations

Working alongside James and Max (the CTO), our mission was to build a phone system, across all devices and platform, that organizations of all sizes can use to better improve their customer centric efforts. Over the two years the product has transformed from a capable business VoIP phone system to one that can intelligently route calls based on the rich call history and integrated data from popular CRMs like Hubspot and Xero. In the future the product roadmap is aiming to apply machine learning to all existing data, to make call routing even more accurate and timely.

Incremental Improvements

The product team worked primarily in an agile environment, allowing us to hone in on solving one or two specific problems at a time. And as the scope changed for each sprint, so did both the information and interaction architecture of each iteration. Though most of the persona and feature requirements were created prior to the beta release, we would apply the same design process to any major feature releases such as "Geo-fencing" and "Enriched Caller ID".

Adapting to the real world

Building a product that is deeply integrated into our users' day-to-day operations has been, in many ways, a double edged sword. The upside is we get user feedback and validation both analytically and anecdotally, one from metrics and the other from talking to our users frequently. The downside, however, is that any imperfection can be exacerbated by elements that are also outside of our control (poor network connection and/or an angry customer on the other end). We learned quickly that testing a phone system strictly within a controlled test environment can only prove one thing: it works in a test environment. The real world is highly unpredictable and chaotic, and we have learned to hedge against this reality by testing, validating, and designing contingency plans/features that will help alleviate some of the unpredictability.

From Beta to Production

In terms of the product map, we first launched the iOS app followed by Android to test and validate the basic call features of Cradle. Gradually, we introduced our desktop app as a platform to help users talk more intelligently, such as "Smart Connect" which routes calls automatically to the right person based on call history. We have since gradually added new features that presented real value to our users' day-to-day and helped them gain more confidence in their telephone operation.

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Andrew Person

Mobile: +64 21 848380

Yesterday

A Person Ltd

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03:14

13:15, Yesterday

How would you rate the call quality?

+64 9 3601234

Auckland, NZ

13:56

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05:32

13:56, Today

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Barbara Osaka

Mobile: +61 3 8234 5678

08:23

BA Ltd

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08:23, 12/09/18

+61 3 8595 9965

AU Office

Smart Connected

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Work: +1 720 2870054

11/05

STL Ltd

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+1 800 4912895

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11/20

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