3 months ago, we turned on the Hotels.ng call-center. The decision was quite quick, so we did not have any software for the back-end. All calls were logged on A4 papers and filed in a cabinet.
This obviously was not a good method, so I introduced desk.com to log all customer complaints. The call center staff would use Desk.com when I was around, and whenever I was not there, they would use paper. Then transfer the calls to Desk.com at the end of the day.
After observing this for a while, I told them to go back to using paper. I asked them to use a ruler and make tables and structure the paper in the manner that would be most helpful to them. They came up with 3 sheets - Missed Calls (a grid), Inquiries (a grid), Incoming calls (a list), Bookings (an A4 sheet with all the booking details). They started using these sheets regularly and happily, and we would file them. We have 5 big folders filled with these sheets of papers.
I and my developer Iulian then sat down with these sheets of paper and recreated them using twitter bootstrap. We added things like displaying the numbers of the hotels, allowing them edit rooms and so on, but it was basically the sheets of paper transferred to the system.
When I introduced the system to the team, they switched and were using it in 5 minutes. They never touched paper after that. Within a day, I had 10 requests on what should be added to the software systems. The bookings team basically designed the back end systems themselves in a manner that integrated with their workflow.
Now we regularly get people asking to come look at our back end systems to see what aspects they can copy and use for their own companies.
I’ve been asked how I came up with the design. I always reply that it was not me - it was a group of specialists that did!