Customer Connections (Feb 07-08)

Customer-focused utility executives gather annually to discuss current topics and best practices surrounding pressing issues in their departments. Roundtable topics from recent offerings include CIS implementations, customer analytics, customer IT solutions, live chat, outage restoration communications, call center leadership, social media strategies, and employee development and morale.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • John Thurmond, Director, Customer Interactions, NorthWestern Energy

    • Program Location
    • Western Energy Institute Facilities
    • 1001 SW 5th Ave, Suite 325
      Portland, Oregon 97204
    • Who Should Attend
      • Vice president level customer service executives
      • Chief customer officers
      • Customer service directors

      Registration is limited to customer service leadership with a primary responsibility for senior management functions, or their assignees. The forum is invitation-only and provides broad perspectives while maintaining a size small enough for an engaged roundtable discussion.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $399 USD

    Registration prices increases $50 after January 11, 2018. Registration includes access to all agenda items and meeting materials. A hosted networking dinner, breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the program are also included. Guest tickets are available for $75 and allows a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Christopher Lee, Senior Program Manager at (971) 255-4967.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


Western Energy Institute Facilities
1001 SW 5th Ave, Suite 325
Portland, Oregon 97204

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome + Introductions

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Opening Roundtable

The opening roundtable is a chance to discuss current challenges and will set the stage for collaborative dialogue for the rest of the meeting.

  • How are we staying competitive?
    • What are our threats/opportunities in the next 5-10 years?
    • How are we addressing them?

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Technology + Metrics Roundtable

  • Non-traditional Metrics – What should we be focusing on?
    • Social media, big data, JD Power?
  • AI  Progress or pitfalls
  • Other technology of the future

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Resolution Redefined: Optimizing Channels to Customer “Jobs to Be Done”
Speaker(s): Sarah Dibble, Executive Advisor, Gartner

The goal of service is simple: to resolve problems and improve the quality of customer service. But in the past few years, customers have significantly redefined the idea of resolution—what it means, how customers seek it, and executives’ role in it. It’s not just new technological advancements themselves driving this shift; it’s the access and empowerment that technology gives customers. This new sense of control affects how customers seek service. They now spend much more time getting information from outside the company. The bottom line is that today’s customer resolution experience—which the company is fully responsible for—includes channels and interactions the company seemingly has no control over.

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

WEI Hosted Networking Dinner

The Picnic House
723 SW Salmon St
Portland, OR 97205

Thursday, February 8, 2018

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM


Hot breakfast at WEI Offices

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Case Study - Billing Issue

NorthWestern will present a billing issue in Townsend, MT that affected over 800 people in one town. They will share key learnings and changes implemented.

8:45 AM - 9:45 AM

Staffing Roundtable

•FMLA Staffing Management
oCulture or hiring?
oAre employees abusing their rights?
•Dress Code
oAre they uniform across the company?
oHow are they enforced?
oBack office vs customer facing
•Compensation Philosophy

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM


10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Closing Roundtable

  • Customer Engagement
  • Customer Experience Successes

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Wrap Up + Committee Meeting

Lunch provided

1:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Forum Adjourns

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (503) 223-2100 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $159 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until January 16, 2018 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Sarah Dibble


Executive Advisor