Customer Connections (Mar 11-12)

Customer-focused utility senior leadership gather annually to discuss current topics and best practices surrounding pressing issues in their departments. The forum provides broad perspectives while maintaining a size small enough for an engaged discussion. Agenda topics from recent offerings include customer analytics, customer IT solutions, live chat, outage restoration communications, call center leadership, social media strategies, and employee development and morale.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Mike Broemeling, Director, Customer Services, Avista Utilities

    • Program Location
    • Western Energy Institute Facilities
    • 1050 SW 6th 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 at WEI member utility companies with responsibility for senior management functions.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $449 USD

    Registration price increases $50 after February 23, 2020. 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 $100 and allow 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.

    WEI is offering a $100 discount if you register for both the 2020 Customer + Corporate Symposium and the 2020 Customer Connections Executive Forum. To take advantage of this discount, register for Customer Connections first then use the discount code you receive in your confirmation email to register for the Customer + Corporate Symposium.

  • 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 Beverly Woolf, Program Manager at (503) 688-2790.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Registration and Check-In

Make some time to greet each other and settle in before the program begins at 2 pm.

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Introductions + Challenges, Opportunities, and Successes Roundtable
Facilitator(s): Mike Broemeling, Director, Customer and Shared Services, Avista Utilities

Everyone will have the opportunity to discuss current challenges as well as new initiatives and what’s going well at your company.

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM


3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Strategies for PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff)

What are the customer impacts of PSPS and what are the best strategies to manage those?

5:15 PM - 8:00 PM

WEI Hosted Networking Dinner

Thursday, March 12, 2020

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Speaker(s): John Thurmond, Director, Customer Interactions, NorthWestern Energy

How did NorthWestern Energy deal with a multiple city outbound dialing blast from scammers which flooded their contact centers with inbound calls? Thanks to the processes they have in place and their membership with Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) they have a success story to share.

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM


9:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Workforce Management Roundtable

Topics may include;
• Backoffice workforce management
• Operational performance for field
• Field service workforce
• Customer-centric workforce
• HDL customer strategies around customer service and revenue retention
• Billing management
• Customer-centric culture

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Innovation and Technology Roundtable

Topics may include;
• Innovation/solutions
• Innovative products and services
• Emerging technologies

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch and Wrap Up

Ask any remaining questions that were not yet discussed and benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience of the group. Discuss our next gathering.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (503) 226-1611 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with the WEI Customer + Corporate Symposium to receive a special rate of $169 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 23, 2020 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Mike Broemeling

Avista Utilities

Director, Customer and Shared Services

John Thurmond

NorthWestern Energy

Director, Customer Interactions