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Tuesday, September 01, 2020
NiSource Takes Gold at Website Awards, and Aims Higher
NiSource honored with Gold "Stevie' Award in the American Business Awards
NiSource is honored to have received the Gold “Stevie” Award recently in the American Business Awards (ABA), which recognized us for our customer website experience.

The ABA recognized the work we completed in 2019 to combine our 21 local utility desktop and mobile sites into a seamless customer experience through a publicly available information site and a customer portal providing bill payment and account management services.

Our websites were more than 10 years old, and long overdue for an upgrade in look, feel and functionality. But we decided to do more than a give our sites a digital facelift. Instead, we went for a total transformation of the customer experience.

“We understand that customer expectations around digital engagement have never been higher,” said NiSource Chief Customer Officer Jennifer Montague. “It’s replacing face-to-face interaction. Many of our customers prefer fast, easy online support instead of being on hold via phone. That’s why at NiSource we’re shifting our customer experience mind set from ‘Respond and meet the need’ to ‘Anticipate and exceed the need.’”

How We Did It
To elevate our customers’ online experience, we first listened to what they had to say. We interviewed or surveyed more than 300 of our Columbia Gas and NIPSCO customers, and also listened to the conversation about us on social media.

We mapped how our customers interact with our companies, we created customer personas and website prototypes to gain a deep understanding of our customers’ wants and needs. And, we conducted five rounds of usability testing with more than 100 customers, listened to their feedback and made refinements.

The Results We Achieved
So how did we do at all of this? Here’s what some of the ABA judges said:

  • Everything you could ever want to know about your bills, usage and more. Like how you have the monthly usage charts and the ease of updating your information. Looks very intuitive for older customers. Also, great way to start out new customers who are just getting started. Great job! 
  • I wish I could pay my utility bill this easily. Good job.
  • Great customer experience portal that gives account holders full visibility into their usage patterns and history. Online payments and alerts are some of the noteworthy features. The site design is simple and elegant.

We’re Not Satisfied. We’re Aiming Higher
As exciting as it is to win an award, we know that the work for our customers does not end there. In fact, we’re striving for continuous improvement in three key areas of customer service:

  • Digital self-service – Enabling our customers to do business with us online from start-to-finish.
  • Align our “channel” experience – Provide consistent service to our customers, across the “channel” of their choice, whether that’s our websites, our customer care centers or our social media accounts.
  • Employee engagement – Empowering our employees with the tools, processes and training to best serve our customers.
Since it’s so important to our customers to have secure, reliable online bill payment options, that was our initial focus, and a critical component of our website redesign. Our customer experience team is hard at work on other things that we hope to bring customers in 2021:

  • Digital service requests (e.g. starting and stopping service)
  • Enabling high-usage alerts (including tips on how to manage your energy usage)
  • Outage map improvements
  • Enhanced views of energy usage history
“We’re expanding the toolbox of options for our customers, and giving them more control over how they interact with us,” Montague said. “We want our customers to feel like we have their backs, and that we’re doing the work to make sure that things are better for them. They should expect more from us in the future, and know that we are aiming higher to meet their needs.”
Posted In Careers, Customers, Company

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