79 AN ENTERPRISE OF EXCELLENCE CHAPTER FOUR Today,Freeman’scubicleisplasteredwithpapersdescribing the bundles and specialty television viewing choices. With the iVUE Connect prototype screen, she can click a check box on the packages that might interest her customer and instantly see a side-by-side comparison. When she adds a service, it updates the total cost, so she can tell the customer how much the bill would be with premium channels or without. “This would be huge in saving time with a new customer,” says Freeman. The hour-long exercise of scrolling through an imaginary order seems simple, intuitive, uneventful. But it actually represents NISC’s commitment to ensuring Members help drive the design of NISC solutions. What does a programmer just a couple of years out of college know about how a lineman maintains the electric grid? What does a software developer know about the questions a customer will ask about bill payments? Yet their job is to take the real-life experiences of Members and translate them into the technical infrastructure of code. Matthews and her Usability Team give vital Member feedback. They began the development process for iVUE Connect by observing customer service representatives. They put on headsets to listen in on calls. They videotaped users of the iVUE software. They took notes on the exact steps required to complete a task, such as signing up a customer for prepaid billing. They counted the number of clicks it took to perform a task in iVUE and made sure iVUE Connect used fewer clicks. They want the software to be intuitive. If the customer service rep becomes confused and has no idea how to navigate the screen to access some information, that’s a “red light” that sends the Usability Team back to tweak the prototype. Matthews reminds the software developers, “You can’t code it until we make sure it’s right.” This approach steeps the software in day-to-day reality. While many customer service reps remember the challenges of adjusting to iVUE, they hardly skip a beat with the transition to iVUE Connect. “iVUE Connect was put out in a live environment with three five-minute training videos, and they just used it,” says Matthews of beta-testing sites. “It was an amazing accomplishment.” When Members marvel at the natural flow of the redesigned software, John Alls, a Team Lead for Member Support, gives the credit to them. “It does this because utilities like you took the time to sit with us and tell us what you do and why you do it,” he says. “That partnership makes a big difference.” NISC’s offices are a mix of Midwestern practicality and the collaborative spaces you would expect from a tech company. In rows of cubicles, employees may look out at a vista of prairie or suburb. In other areas, conference and “innovation” rooms offer wall-to-wall whiteboards or laptop projections. Employees see poster-sized photographs as they walk along a corridor: a lineman carries equipment to a truck, a customer service representative awaits a call at her desk,