Customer Service Management Certificate Program

Receive practical training and guidance on building and sustaining a culture of outstanding customer service. Learn from real-world examples, get tools and templates, practice skills, and network with public power peers from across the nation.

Location Dates Schedule Registration

Fall Institute

Seattle, Washington

Sept. 28 - Oct. 2, 2020

Monday - Thursday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Price $2,800

Registration opens May, 2020

Program Description

Nurturing customer relationships and meeting customer needs are as critical to your utility’s success as keeping the lights on. Customer preferences are evolving, and expectations for instant access to information and support are increasing. As a public power utility, your organization needs the support and goodwill of the communities you serve.

APPA’s Customer Service Management Certification Program provides practical training and guidance on how to build and sustain a culture of outstanding customer service involving all stakeholders—utility employees, governing board members, and city officials. This program explores the mainstays of good customer service and how everyone at your organization can uphold them.

Those who complete the program’s five required courses, pass an online exam, and successfully file a customer service assessment or improvement project plan within one year of completing the coursework will earn a Public Power Customer Service Manager certificate.

Program Brochure

Check out the 2019 Customer Service Management Certificate Program Brochure The 2020 version will be available by May.

Who Should Attend

This program focuses on developing a culture of excellence in customer service among all public power utility employees and governing officials. Therefore, while the course content is designed for customer service managers, supervisors, and representatives, the course is also recommended for utility senior managers with cross-departmental responsibilities, governing board representatives, and senior officials.

What to Bring

Participants will have the opportunity to introduce their customer service operations through photos and discussion. Attendees will be asked to provide 5-10 digital photos showing the exterior and interior of their customer service/billing operations, if possible. Additionally, the class will compare different bill styles, websites, and communications tools. Participants can provide sample utility bills, newsletters, bill stuffers or links to online resources in advance of the class.

Supplemental Resources

Attendees in the Customer Service Certificate Program will receive a copy of APPA's Customer Service: Building a Strong Infrastructure for Your Utility publication and the latest Public Power Customer Service Policies Survey Report.

Program Requirements

To earn this certificate, participants must complete all requirements within one year: 

1. Complete the five required courses (2019 schedule below):

  • Electric Utility Industry Overview*
    Monday (half day)
  • Utilizing Technology to Enhance Customer Service
    Monday (half day)
  • Strategies for Successful Customer Service Operations
  • Utility Collections: Trends & Challenges
  • Modeling Customer Service in Your Leadership Style

*Participants who can demonstrate knowledge of the utility industry, through work experience or coursework, may opt-out of this course. Alternatively, participants can take a webinar series in place of the in-person course. Contact [email protected] for more information.

2. Pass an online exam

  • The online exam, made up of multiple choice questions, will assess the participant’s comprehension of the five required courses.
  • Participants can take the exam at their convenience, after finishing the coursework requirement.
  • An individual must score at least a 75% to pass the exam. You’ll have two opportunities to pass the test.

3. Submit a plan for a customer service assessment or service improvement project 

  • Participants will complete a project that focuses on evaluating and improving the customer service culture and operations of your organization.
  • Participants will receive plan guidelines that outline what is expected in each section.


Please contact our Education Department at 202-467-2919 or [email protected].

About the Instructor

Steve VanderMeer, Senior Vice President of Planning and Marketing, Hometown Connections. Steve joined Hometown Connections in 1998 and provides consulting, training and facilitation support to public power utilities and their governing boards. He has worked with a wide range of municipal governments and non-profit organizations on strategic planning, governance, organizational assessments, public participation, market research and customer service issues. He is the author of APPA’s Customer Service: Building a Strong Infrastructure for Your Utility publication. Previously, Steve worked at Fort Collins Utilities where he was the Director of Marketing and Energy Services.

Enrollment Fees*

Early Rate: $2,800
Standard Rate: $3,050

Early Rate: $5,600
Standard Rate: $5,850

The enrollment fee includes the five courses, cost of study material, exam grading and review of the customer action plan.

*For more information and pricing for the Electric Utility Industry Overview course opt-out option, contact [email protected].

How Can I Participate?

Attend an Education Institute

The Customer Service Management Certificate Program classes are held once a year, in conjunction with one of our seasonal education institutes (winter, spring, or fall), and they provide a great opportunity to network with industry peers from across the nation.

The next offering will be in conjunction with our Fall Education Institute, Sept. 28 - Oct. 2 in Seattle, Washington. Registration opens in May.

Let Us Come To You!

We can bring our courses to your location at any time—a convenient and cost-effective option for groups of eight or more. This format also allows you to customize course content to address the specific goals that are important to your organization. Check out In-house training options.

Pool Your Resources

Partner with neighboring public power utilities, state and regional associations, or joint action agencies to bring the training to your area. This is a great way to share costs and to secure a location that is within driving distance (ideal for utilities facing strict travel guidelines or joint action agencies looking to add services to their members).

For more information, contact the Education Department at 202-467-2921 or [email protected].