Virtual Course

Strategies for Successful Customer Service Operations

Learn how to define good customer service, identify and meet the needs of different types of customers, and create a culture of commitment to excellence in customer service across all areas of utility management, operations and customer interactions.
November 4, 2020
12:00pm EDT - 3:30pm EDT

Virtual Training

Unable to attend an in-person class but interested in pursuing Customer Service training? Join us on November 4 as we debut this course in a virtual format. It’s a convenient way to 'attend' the course, while still having the opportunity to interact with the instructors, your industry peers, and earn continuing education credits.


Attend one real-time session from Noon – 3:30 p.m. Eastern on November 4.

Course Overview

In a time of unprecedented industry changes and evolving consumer expectations, a utility’s most important strategic asset is its relationship with its customers. Today’s public power utilities enjoy a unique relationship with their customers, though they’ll need to be adaptable and responsive to changing—and more diverse—expectations. Tomorrow’s utility customers will demand choices and control over their energy sources and how they use it. They will expect new billing and rate options and a level of customer service and responsiveness that will challenge many public power systems. Meanwhile, new technologies will open the door to new players trying to add value to your customers. 

This course defines good customer service, how to identify and meet the needs of different types of customers, and how to create a culture of commitment to excellence in customer service across all areas of utility management, operations and customer interactions. This course will focus on building customer service as a strategy, not simply an administrative function. 

Review case studies, hear best practices and participate in discussions with your public power peers from across the country. Attendees will also receive a complimentary digital copy of APPA’s Customer Service: Building a Strong Infrastructure for Your Utility publication (a $50 value).

Course Topics

  • Defining good customer service
  • Segmenting customers into categories and identifying their specific requirements: residential, business, commercial and industrial key accounts
  • Identifying the utility’s internal customers and other stakeholders and why they’re important
  • Managing your physical facilities to create a safe and welcoming environment
  • Operating with the customers’ needs in mind when determining service hours, locations, payment policies/options, web-based access to account info, etc.
  • The role of utility governing officials, policymakers, and senior managers in creating a culture of customer service excellence

Recommended For

This course focuses on developing a culture of excellence in customer service among all public power utility employees and governing officials and, as such, is appropriate for a broad range of utility professionals.

This class is a also a requirement for APPA’s Customer Service Management Certificate Program, which is designed for customer service directors, managers, and representatives. This virtual course will count towards earning the certificate.

Course Level

Basic: No prerequisites; no advance preparation.

This course is part of APPA’s Customer Service Management Certificate Program and is a good precursor to the Modeling Customer Service in Your Leadership Style virtual course, taking place on Nov. 19.

Course Materials

You will receive access to electronic materials the afternoon before the course starts. While it is not essential to download the course manual in advance, you can access the presentation slides and the Customer Service: Building a Strong Infrastructure for Your Utility publication through the APPA electronic document portal at your convenience (for up to one year). A recording of the class will also be available through this portal, in case you can’t attend the live version.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing the live session (click here to review requirements). Certificates will be emailed by November 11.

Recommended CEUs .3/PDHs 3.25/CPEs 3.8 
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge


SVSteve VanderMeer, Executive Consultant, 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 the Association’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.


Contact us at [email protected].

Register Now

Registration fees:

  • $350 for members
  • $700 for nonmembers

Not a member? Join today and save on your course registration. Call Member Services at 202-467-2926 to learn more.

Group Discounts

Save an additional $50 on each registration for the Public Power Forward Virtual Summit when your organization registers 5 or more people. The larger your group, the more you save!  

Number of registrants Discount
(per person)

Registration Fee

Registration Fee
1-4 n/a $350 $700
5-10 $50 $300 $650
11-15 $100 $250 $600
16+ $150 $200 $550

Contact [email protected] for more information and to request the group registration form to receive this special discount.  

Attendees may also be interested in the Modeling Customer Service in Your Leadership Style virtual course, taking place on Nov. 19.


Registrants who cancel in writing on or before October 28, 2020, are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after September 28 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for this event only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel by September 28 are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund.


Contact [email protected].

Earn While You Learn!

Participate in online programs to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and Continuing Professional Education credits (CPEs). This course is eligible for the following credits:

Recommended CEUs .3/PDHs 3.25/CPEs 3.8
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge


  • Attendees are required to attend and participate in the entire live event and complete an online evaluation at the end of the course
  • Partial credit cannot be given
  • Attendance is monitored by an Association staff member
  • Certificates will be emailed out on November 11
  • The class is recorded (in case you miss the live event), though credits can only be given for attending the live event

What educational credits are available?

You can earn the following kinds of educational credits for attending live sessions during the conference:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) - The American Public Power Association is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. For information regarding certification status, attendance requirements and obtaining attendees transcripts, contact [email protected] or 202-467-2965.
  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits - The American Public Power Association is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: There are no prerequisites for the courses offered; no advance preparation is required for any courses. Courses are group-live offerings. Credit hours and areas of study for the courses are listed on the individual course pages. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as clarification of requirements, complaints, and refunds, please contact [email protected].
  • Professional Development Hours (PDHs) - The American Public Power Association’s educational practices are consistent with the criteria for awarding Professional Development Hours (PDHs) as established by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Course eligibility and number of PDHs may vary by state.


Format and Log-In Information

This class will be offered on the Zoom meeting platform. Presented in a 3.5 hour interactive session, featuring real-time presentation, Q&A, online polling, group discussions, and case studies.

You’ll receive a logistics email one week in advance of the class.

You will receive your Zoom access link the afternoon before the course from the APPA Academy <[email protected]>. Please reach out to [email protected] if you do not receive that email.

New to Zoom?

If you haven't participated in a Zoom meeting before, please download the Zoom web client from the Zoom Download Center. This will enable you to access all of the Zoom tools and functionality vs. using the web version. For the course, you will need an Internet connection and sound (we recommend using your computer’s audio and microphone, though a phone number will also be provided). Then, visit to ensure you are able to join a meeting. 

If you are not able to download the Zoom web client, you can still participate via your Internet browser. We recommend using Chrome for the best results. If you use your Internet browser, your functionality may be more limited (for example, you will only be able to see one video feed at a time), and you will need to create a Zoom account. (Account creation is a free and straightforward process, but you will want to do this in advance so you do not miss any part of the meeting).

Privacy and Security

The American Public Power Association takes your privacy and security very seriously. For this reason, we have put the following security measures in place for this course:

  • A random Meeting ID
  • Password-protected
  • Enabled waiting room to screen meeting participants
  • Restricted screen sharing to hosts only

Code of Conduct

Participants agree to abide by the APPA Code of Conduct. If participants engage in unacceptable behavior as outlined in the code, the Association may take any action it deems appropriate, including but not limited to, expulsion from the current and future meetings, with no warning or refund.


Contact us at [email protected].