Builders and developers initiating new gas and electric service installations with DTE faced a confusing and inefficient process that often led to rework and project delays. Dissatisfaction with the process led to nearly 50% of all customer complaints. DTE & Vectorform applied design thinking practices to create a customer portal that would provide clear direction, real-time status updates, and easy access to support. Simultaneously, the firms worked collaboratively to implement change management processes that would bring uniformity across separate business lines (gas & electric), resulting in an easy-to-follow eight step process when initiating a new service request.

Project Goals

Increase customer satisfaction

Improve planners' operational efficiency

Reduce call center volume


The new CMC portal provides the transparency and guidance that customers were craving


Total Expected phone call + defect/complaint savings (US Dollars)


Customer Complaint Reduction (Amongst Pilot Customer Group)


Recognized with DTE’s Sarah Sheridan Award, a recognition of excellence in the pursuit of customer service.

This approach to system development should set the standard for how we approach all customer-facing projects in the future. This [Construction Management Center] is going to mark a new day in our relationships with these customers.

Jerry Norcia - CEO, DTE Energy

Importance of Voice-of-Customer

Design thinking is a human-centered framework that puts the voice of the customer (VOC) at the forefront of innovation, while understanding the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success. It is used for more than creating products and services; it can be applied to systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences.

Customer Research

VOC was paramount in ensuring that our solution fit the needs of the diverse user groups by working with DTE’s installation process, bridging communication gaps, and helping to solve real-world logistical obstacles. By combining insights from previously conducted industry research, qualitative interviews with internal DTE experts, testing design concepts with real users, and collecting feedback from an initial group of pilot users, we were able to create a solution that strengthens DTE’s relationships customers initiating new service.

Stakeholder Activation

Consideration of employees’ needs and perspectives was a critical component of the effort, and as such internal DTE teams were tapped as equal contributors to the VOC process. Vectorform conducted structured qualitative interviews with DTE supervisors and employees who address service connection complaints to better understand their experiences and processes. To ensure a 360-degree view of the customer experience, we compared the perspectives of contractors and builders with that of the internal DTE stakeholders. These insights were distilled into a service blueprint, to capture key interaction points between employee and customer.

Alignment on a Common Path

We mapped current new connection processes for both electric and gas connections, detailing customer touchpoints and common problem areas for DTE employees and customers. We synthesized all insights into operational and experiential themes, and we defined foundational values to guide our decision-making, ensuring that customer concerns are prioritized in the end solution and all parties are aligned towards a common path.

Iterative Design Process

Vectorform’s design process involved the creation (and testing) of medium-fidelity wireframes and prototypes. As polished designs were created, prototypes were created in parallel for internal DTE circulation in order to capture ongoing feedback, as well as to ensure that the designs aligned and accurately communicated DTE business processes. In January of 2019, we released an MVP version of the portal to a small group of pilot users for immediate customer feedback.

Flexible UI Design System

Recognizing that the CMC portal would serve a unique set of DTE customers, Vectorform incorporated a flexible design language that would complement current brand standards and design reflected in DTE’s corporate website and other digital properties, while also serving the unique needs of the portal.


The new Construction Management Portal, piloted in 2019, has reduced the number of customer complaint calls and increased the operational efficiency of DTE teams. It also serves as an example of DTE’s commitment to the 4 keys for service excellence: demonstrating Safety, Caring, Dependability, and Efficiency across their customer relationships.


  • UX research & strategy
  • UX/UI design
  • front end development
  • technical direction
  • program management


  • Service blueprint
  • information architecture
  • UX/UI design
  • prototypes
  • web deployment