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Customer service topics to be featured at Customer Connections Conference this fall

From the September 19, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published September 19, 2013

By Heidi Lambert
Manager, Education

The 2013 Customer Connections Conference, Nov. 3-6, at the Hilton Portland Hotel and Executive Tower in Portland, Ore., will feature several sessions on customer service. 

In the "Maximizing Your Call Center Performance" session, Peggy Reynolds, founding partner of The Call Center School in Naperville, Ill., will discuss call center best practices, including strategies to measure performance, appropriate staffing levels, call monitoring and quality assurance. 

Another session will focus on "Talking Customers Through High Bill Complaints" and will provide attendees with tools and resources to help customers understand their bills. Seth Roberts, energy consultant with Cumberland Electric in Clarksville, Tenn., along with Roger Farrer, energy services manager, and Palma Lough, energy services specialist, both with the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, will share their experiences on training customer service representatives to respond to high bill complaints and discuss a new resource to help customer service representatives use recent and long-term average weather data to explain electric bills. 

In the session on "Embracing Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience," Jim Anderson, manager of technology assessment and selection services with AAC Utility Partners in Reno, Nev., will discuss common tech-related customer service challenges, what solutions are available, short- and long-term trends, and how to create a case for moving forward with technology. Roseanne Harrington, vice president of marketing, communications and community relations for the Orlando Utilities Commission in Florida, and Bob Perialas, customer service manager for the Lansing Board of Water and Light in Michigan, will describe their experiences with using new technology. They will discuss migrating customers to self-service options through website upgrades and by integrating an interactive voice response system; deploying advanced meters; and establishing a partnership to allow cash-only customers to use online and automated telephone services.  

The Customer Connections Conference also offers sessions on key accounts, economic development, marketing, energy services and public communications, as well as roundtable discussions, networking breakfasts, receptions and other opportunities to share ideas and information. 

Conference fees are $645 for APPA members and $1,290 for nonmembers who register before Oct. 11. Three pre-conference seminars will be offered on crisis media training, social media and customer service topics. 

For complete program information and to register, visit or contact Heidi Lambert (202/467-2921;



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