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Customer Connections Conference offers in-depth seminars on crisis media training, social media, customer service check-up

From the October 9, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published October 9, 2013

By Heidi Lambert
Manager, Education

Utility professionals will have an opportunity to attend several in-depth pre-conference seminars at the Customer Connections Conference. The pre-conference seminars, offered on Sunday, Nov. 3, offer longer class times and smaller class sizes than traditional conference sessions, allowing participants to learn about complex topics in greater depth.

Pre-conference seminar topics will include:
•    How to Conduct a Customer Connections Check-Up;
•    Crisis Media Training: Managing Crisis Communication; and
•    Social Media: How to Get Ahead of the Curve.

In the "How to Conduct a Customer Connections Check-Up" course, the instructor will present a step-by-step process for auditing and evaluating all customer service activities and programs. The instructor will cover how to review, in an organized way, such issues as customer satisfaction with services and rates, management of customer complaints, payment options, policies for delinquent accounts, community communications, crisis communications planning, economic development, key account services, energy efficiency programming, social media, and deploying integrated technologies and software solutions.

In "Crisis Media Training: Managing Crisis Communication," participants will learn how to communicate before, during and after a crisis. Attendees will be led through a step-by-step process of developing and evaluating a crisis communication plan. The instructor will provide practical information on managing this plan and gaining internal and external cooperation from all involved stakeholders. Participants will also learn the nuances of holding successful press conferences, issuing statements and dealing with reporters and other media representatives.

In "Social Media: How to Get Ahead of the Curve," the instructor will discuss how to engage customers in the social media age. While the basics of social media will be reviewed briefly, the instructor will focus mainly on following topics:
•    Maintaining a proactive approach to emerging trends;
•    Social media boot camp—how do we measure up on the basics?;
•    Knowing your numbers—the latest and greatest social media vehicles and usage; and
•    The shift from marketing to customer service—how to create a strategy that addresses the three greatest expectations of today’s customer.

The Customer Connections Conference will be held Nov. 3-6 in Portland, Ore., at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower. The conference offers educational and networking opportunities for public power professionals in the areas of customer service, economic development, energy services, key accounts and public communications.

The deadline to take advantage of the early registration rate is Oct. 11. Conference program and registration information, including detailed information on pre-conference seminars, is available at



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