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Customer service topics to be featured at Customer Connections Conference

From the July 22, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published July 22, 2014

By Heidi Lambert
Manager, Education
APPA’s 2014 Customer Connections Conference, Oct. 26-29 at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront hotel in Jacksonville, Fla., will feature a full track of sessions devoted to customer service topics. 

Specific sessions include: 
•    Getting Your Customers’ Attention without Setting Your Hair on Fire
•    Lowering the Red Flag: Thriving Under the FACT Act
•    Show Me the Money: Collections, Disconnections and Bad Debt
•    Aiming for 110%: Hiring, Training and Motivating CSRs to Deliver Service Excellence
•    Moving Customers to Lower Cost Solutions
•    Taking Customer Assistance to the Next Level

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

Conference participants will also can add on three half-day pre-conference seminars on Sunday, Oct. 26: 
•    Managing Change: Creating a Playbook for Utility Success 
•    Customer Engagement for Advanced Grid Technologies 
•    Build Your Brand, Tell Your Story: Developing and Marketing Web & Social Media Content 

The morning seminar on "Managing Change" will cover how to prepare for some of the most important industry changes that are coming in the next few years (new technologies, environmental regulations, economic pressure, market dynamics, new customer expectations, etc.) and provide practical examples of and a comprehensive approach to developing effective change management and strategic planning skills. 

The afternoon seminar on "Customer Engagement for Advanced Grid Technologies" will teach participants how to better communicate with customers about the advantages of new grid technologies. The seminar is based on a new guidebook, to be published by APPA this summer, which provides case studies, best practices and templates for designing customer engagement programs. The tools and resources in the guidebook will be previewed at this pre-conference seminar, which will offer tips on how to address customer concerns about smart meters; communicate the benefits of advanced grid technologies; help develop policies, plans and procedures for community partnerships; explain how to use social media and other technologies to engage customers; and teach utilities to measure and verify the efficacy of engagement plans.

Conference fees are $645 for APPA members and $1,290 for nonmembers who register before Oct. 6. The preconference seminars each require a separate registration fee. 

For the complete program and to register, visit


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