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APPA offers Customer Service Management Certificate Program in February


From the December 12, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published December 12, 2012

By Heidi Lambert
Manager, Education
APPA will hold its Customer Service Management Certificate Program during the Winter Education Institute, Feb. 4-8, 2013, in Kissimmee, Fla. 

Because public power utilities place a high priority on their relationships with their customers, the performance expectation for employees who manage customer service centers is more intense than ever. To help these individuals meet their needs, APPA created a five-day certificate program designed for customer service representatives, managers and supervisors. The curriculum consists of the following five classes:

•    Power Supply and Integrated Resource Planning. A non-technical operations overview and introduction to integrated resource planning.

•    Management of Successful Customer Service Operations. A course with case studies, data and strategies that support six core factors that have directly contributed to a public power system’s quality of service.

•    The Leadership Development Process. A course to teach managers how to motivate employees to achieve successful day-to-day performance. Participants also learn basic tenets of leadership that help create loyalty and improve communication of goals and objectives.

•    Technology: From Meter Reading to Customer Information Systems. A review of the latest in customer service technology, including metering, billing, telecommunications, Internet options and other high-tech customer service solutions.

•    Utility Collections: The Complete Process. An in-depth analysis of the structure and operations of utility credit and collections, with examples of how utilities in this country and abroad are organized to manage credit risk. It also reviews various customer-focused approaches used for residential, commercial and industrial accounts. The final section includes analysis on different collection activities and advice on the most efficient approach.

The course content—which recently went through an extensive update—is tailored to public power utilities and provides specific information and strategies that participants can use in their jobs. The certificate program was first offered in 2006 and, to date, over 70 public power professionals from across the nation, including Puerto Rico and Guam, have completed the required course work.

To earn a Customer Service Management Certificate, participants must complete the required course work and, within two years of taking the courses, pass an online exam and develop a service department assessment and business plan that shows how their utility can use technology, labor and new processes to improve customer service. 

The Customer Service Management Certificate Program courses are held once a year, in conjunction with one of APPA’s seasonal education institutes. APPA also can bring the courses to local communities through the association's in-house training program. You can learn more about the program, and what participants learned from it, by reading the "Learning to Serve" article in the May 2012 edition of Public Power magazine.

The Winter Education Institute also features courses on accounting, financial planning, cost of service and rate design, and underground distribution systems. There is a $100 discount for those who attend more than one course or who attend with a colleague.

Attendees can earn credits toward their professional certifications by attending these events. APPA offers continuing education units, professional development hours and continuing professional education credits for participating in courses. 

For more information, visit www.APPAAcademy.org and click on "courses and workshops" or contact Meghan Riley (202/467-2919;MRiley@PublicPower.org).

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