Utility Contact Center Conference

Major advances in technology, combined with advances in the ease of access and information-sharing, have created a consumer whose expectations of customer service have increased dramatically. Further, research has shown that proactive and timely communications with customers is critical to customer satisfaction. With developments like smart phones, social media, mobile connectivity, cloud technology, big data, and speech analytics, energy companies have more opportunities to enhance the customer experience than ever before and this starts in the contact center. The calls that come into a utility contact center are much different today than they were even a few years ago.

Creating a customer centric culture in your contact center is equally as important as advances in technology. Call centers increasingly understand the importance of providing excellent service to their customers and are adopting a customer-centric approach as a result. Having the right people in place will ensure your customers feel valued and in turn can reduce operating costs. To go from a fast, efficient transaction handling universe to creating a customer-centric operation and changing the agent mindset, requires a radical change in the contact center’s entire culture. Utilities can reduce their cost-per-call in the contact center by improving the process of hiring, training and coaching of agents.

At this conference, utility and industry professionals will share their innovative strategies for enlisting technology and putting the right people in place to improve customer satisfaction and lower costs. Attendees will take away additional knowledge and resources required to implement effective solutions in your utility contact center in order to accommodate the customer of today and the future. Attendees will learn best practices, keep up with the latest developments, and enjoy networking with industry peers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain what is necessary to build a customer centric contact center
  • Discuss how to train agents to make the customer feel valued and offer solutions that prevent future phone contacts
  • Explain how to overcome significant challenges to transform both the customer and employee experience
  • Demonstrate how to move to a virtual outsourced call center
  • Identify the skills and behaviors to look for in the candidate selection process
  • Discuss obstacles to effective training programs and review real methods for overcoming them
  • Discuss how using seasonal representatives has lowered the average speed of answer
  • Critique the business and political processes and factors entering into a decision process


EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this conference and 0.3 CEUs for the workshop.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the conference to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Case Studies, Panel Discussions and PowerPoint presentations



Monday, April 3, 2017

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Welcome Address from Tucson Electric Power (TEP)

On behalf of TEP, a company that delivers safe, reliable power to more than 417,000 customers in the Tucson metropolitan area, Director of Customer Care and Experience Denise Smith will welcome her power industry colleagues to “sunny Tucson”. Ms. Smith will provide her perspective on what is necessary to continue to improve performance and customer satisfaction at a utility contact center in today’s rapidly changing world.

Denise Smith, Director of Customer Care and Experience, Tucson Electric Power Co.

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Maximizing the ROI of Your Training Program

We’re rolling along, training new hires and existing agents, pushing them out to the contact center and basking in the glory of our “smiley face” evaluation sheets but are we really doing justice to our trainees, and optimizing our training ROI? In this session we’ll look at the most common mistakes training groups and contact center operations make, and hear the best practice methods for avoiding these pitfalls. Come hear from an industry veteran about the obstacles to effective training programs, and real methods for overcoming them to the benefit of your organization.

Todd Gladden, CWPP, VP – US Operations, Planmen Consultancy, LLC

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Achieving Success in the Call Center through Staffing, Organizational and Process Changes

Four years ago, IREA’s call center had extensive hold times, employee morale was declining, and customer expectations often went unmet. Today, the call center frequently achieves its service level goal of answering 80% of calls within 90 seconds, employees are enthusiastic, and customers take the time to comment on the excellent service they received. This session will detail how IREA overcame significant challenges to transform both the customer and employee experience. Highlights will include:

  • Root cause analysis
  • Change management tactics
  • Impact analysis
  • Future improvements

Mandi Lesher, Consumer Services Manager, Intermountain Rural Electric Association

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Employee Focused Development

What does employee focused development entail?  Why is it important to include the words employee and focused?  What benefits can we expect? In this session, learn how PNM resources has been focusing on the development of their employees to improve results in the contact center.

Jorge Esparza, Training & Knowledge Supervisor, Call Center, PNM Resources

3:45 – 4:30 p.m. :: Bringing Action to Your Customer’s Voice to Optimize Contact Center Operations

Although most utilities collect customer and employee data—surveys, user experience on the website, satisfaction across contact channels, metrics from the call center, and feedback from employees—it’s often fragmented and difficult to quickly access, analyze, report on, or act on. In many cases, utilities have not kept pace with now common practices in other industries to gather, analyze, and act on feedback in real time. As customer expectations continue to rise, it’s more essential than ever to listen, analyze, and act on customer and employee feedback in real time. During this session you will hear best practices related to gathering and analyzing customer and employee insights to optimize your contact center operations.

Maureen Russolo, Vice President, E Source


4:30 – 5:15 p.m. :: How an Identity Driven Call Center Improves the Customer Experience and Reduces Operational Costs

Identity is at the heart of customer interaction. If you don’t get identity right, everything else will be wrong.  How are organizations able to interact with their customers when consumer data is constantly changing?  This changing data impacts a utility’s ability to efficiently manage both inbound and outbound communications and the struggle between customer experience and cost. Current and accurate customer identity data can help you increase IVR containment, reduce costs for inbound and outbound calls, all while improving the customer experience.

Chris Clark, Director of Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar


5:15 – 6:15 p.m. :: Networking Reception

Tuesday, April 4, 2016

7:45 – 8:15 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:15 – 9:00 a.m. :: Multichannel Proactive Communication Strategies for Improved Customer Satisfaction

Most utility contact centers remain telephony-centric and focused on responding to inbound inquiries. As technology advances and customer expectations heighten, a predominantly inbound engagement model only addresses part of what drives satisfaction, and contact centers need a broader vision to deliver a more complete set of capabilities. Vectren recognized that the path forward for their contact centers was to use proactive communications when interacting with customers. In this session, learn how contact center agents at Vectren use proactive customer service for inbound inquiries such as web chat and twitter.

Cindy Dossett, Performance Assurance Manager, Vectren

9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Moving to a Virtual Outsourced Call Center with At Home CSR’s

Five years ago, EPCOR expanded to Arizona and New Mexico. With 125 years of history and utility expertise behind it, EPCOR is a well-established Canadian company based in Edmonton – establishing a strong foundation and building the company’s customer-focused brand in the United States was crucial. To do this, EPCOR partnered with Vertex Business Services to provide billing services and start up a virtual call center with agents who worked from home in Arizona and New Mexico. This session will describe the successful model and results.

Highlights will include:

  • The need – A work-from-home solution
  • Solution and evolution
  • Lessons learned
  • Customer satisfaction
  • The results

Jane French, Director – Customer Operations, EPCOR Water

9:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: Delivering a Low-Effort Experience: Equipping Your Frontline to Make Things Easy

It’s no secret that one of the most difficult aspects of contact center management is finding and keeping the right people for the job. Do you have the right staff (with the right skills) in your call center? Of seven types of reps, one clearly outperforms the rest.  Learn why most companies hire the wrong type for service positions, how you can increase the quality of your call center by (surprisingly) becoming less selective, and discover how to create the right environment to execute an effortless customer experience.

Pete Slease, Principal Advisor, CEB

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: Increasing IVR Utilitization
  • Extension/Payment Arrangements
    • Renegotiate existing arrangement when applicable
    • Enhanced rules to allow more eligibility via self-service
  • Payments
    • Conversion to pay by phone (storing payment information for future use)
  • Account Summary
    • Streamlined
  • Hours of Operation
    • Increased self-service
  • Payment and Extension Self Service Policy
    • Requires representatives to return eligible customers to self-service to complete transaction
    • Customer adoption over time
    • Customer Authentication
    • Authentication completed by representative then returned to IVR to complete via self-service
    • Increased call reason identification

Ryan Mundy, Quality Assurance Manager, Southern California Edison

11:30 – 12:15 p.m. :: Big Bang for Little Bucks – Efficiency through Outsourcing

Operational efficiency means to look for the obvious and not to reinvent the wheel. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has analyzed operational cost data and determined that traditional outsourcing is still the solution. In this session, learn how TEP has utilized a very valuable resource (Seasonal Representatives) to lower the Average Speed of Answer (ASA’s) and improve the overall customer experience.

Tashonda Betts, Contact Center Manager, Tucson Electric Power

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. :: Group luncheon

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: The Omnichannel Evolution of the Contact Center

Every day, customers share streams of information about themselves in their omnichannel interactions. They rarely use just one channel to complete an interaction, and many end up in the contact center. Yet few utilities integrate that information to create a superior customer experience. Even those with “multichannel” operations rarely connect customer data and follow the customer path across channels. Customer experience breakdowns are commonplace as customers move from one channel to the next. The bottom line for today’s world is that customer service teams must be able to leverage all relevant customer data across all channels and at all times. Only then will they be able to provide the kind of seamless, contextual experience customer’s demand.

Dennis Crumb, President, optimalCX solutions, LLC

Chris Bond, Senior Consultant, User Experience, optimalCX solutions, LLC

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Quality Assurance Programs at Arizona Public Service

Quality assurance isn’t an option for contact centers; it’s essential for the success of the contact center, customer and agent satisfaction, improving agent and supervisor productivity and effectiveness, and keeping management in touch with their staff’s performance. Building an effective QA program is an iterative, multi‐step process that requires senior management support, planning and input, and buy‐in from all levels of contact center staff. Managers must ensure that they are evaluating the right components of agent performance during customer interactions and using appropriate measurements and weights.  In this session, attendees will learn about the steps APS has taken to achieve the best results and foster confidence in their quality assurance program.

Renee Cazzell, Quality Performance Instructor III, Arizona Public Service (invited)

2:45 p.m. :: Tour – Tucson Electric Power’s Call Center

Join us for a tour of the Tucson Electric Power (TEP) contact center! Tucson Electric Power’s contact center is home to a team of 68 trained and dedicated customer care representatives (CCRs) that handle incoming calls daily (about 6,000 calls daily) from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The emergency line is staffed by 16 CCRs that work 24/7, and supervisors are on call around the clock for unexpected needs and off-line work such as email and social media. From the basics — like turning electric service on and off — to more complex questions about customer program offerings, energy efficiency and solar power, our team is always ready and waiting.

NOTE: TEP’s Call Center is located close to the airport. For your convenience, if you plan to depart Tuesday evening, you should plan to leave from the call center instead of returning to the hotel.

4:30 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns


Promoting Utility Programs and Services in the Contact Center

Monday, April 3, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 11:45 a.m. :: Workshop timing


A contact center is one of the most important touch points a utility has with its customer, especially during the new connect process. Customer service has become more important than ever for energy and utility providers. All it takes is one bad experience or instance of poor service for a customer to spread negative publicity via social media and the internet. By having a good experience, a customer is much more likely to consider additional utility offerings.

3Degrees works in partnership with many utilities and their contact centers to help promote various programs and brings lessons learned along the way. In this workshop, we will cover how utilities can promote and upsell their programs and services during conversations the contact center staff has with customers while still meeting customer, staff, and regulatory needs. Attendees will take away additional knowledge and resources required to implement effective solutions in order to accommodate the customer of today and the future.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Discuss techniques that contact center staff can use to upsell utility programs and services
  • Discuss different methods to engage all call center staff
  • Apply lessons learned in order to meet customer, staff and regulatory needs
  • Explain how to overcome challenging phone calls to transform both the customer and employee experience
  • Discuss the technology and methodology used in today’s world to improve customer satisfaction


  • What kinds of programs and options should be covered in a new connect process?
  • What are the pros and cons of dedicating a special team of experts versus training a full call center?
  • Tools, technology and methodology for increasing customer acquisition
  • Appropriate incentives
  • Training for customer acquisition basics
  • Tips to keep top performers and bottom performers engaged over the long term
  • Common challenges and how to address


Stasia Brownell, Senior Manager, Utility Partnerships, 3Degrees

Ms. Brownell joined 3Degrees in 2008 to provide support to utilities in offering voluntary renewable energy and carbon offset programs to customers. In that time, she has worked on campaigns which have enrolled many tens of thousands of customers including working closely with multiple utility call centers. Her work with utility call centers spans utility owned and outsourced; union and non-union; inbound and outbound. With each, she has designed and delivered training and helped to create incentive structures for call center representatives unique to each call center’s culture, regulatory environment, and utility goals. Her clients, Pacific Power & Rocky Mountain Power, won an award from the Center for Resource Solutions for their approach to educating customers who call into their call center. Ms. Brownell has a B.A. in Communications from Portland State University where she focused on Media Literacy and minored in Black Studies. She has a Professional Certification from the Direct Marketing Association in email marketing.


Tashonda Betts, Contact Center Manager, Tucson Electric Power

Chris Bond, Senior Consultant, User Experience, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Renee Cazzell, Quality Performance Instructor III, Arizona Public Service (invited)

Chris Clark, Director of Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar

Dennis Crumb, President, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Cindy Dossett, Performance Assurance Manager, Vectren

Jorge Esparza, Training & Knowledge Supervisor, Call Center, PNM Resources

Jane French, Director – Customer Operations, EPCOR Water

Todd Gladden, CWPP, VP – US Operations, Planmen Consultancy, LLC

Mandi Lesher, Consumer Services Manager, Intermountain Rural Electric Association

Ryan Mundy, Quality Assurance Manager, Southern California Edison

Maureen Russolo, Vice President, E Source 

Pete Slease, Principal Advisor, CEB

Denise Smith, Director of Customer Care and Experience, Tucson Electric Power Co.


Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
10000 N. Oracle Road
Tucson AZ 85704

To reserve your room, please call 1-800-325-7832
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Reservations may also be made online at https://secure.hilton.com/en/hi/res/choose_dates.jhtml?hotel=TUSHTHH&spec_plan=EUCI 

Room Rate:

The room rate is $209.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of April 2 – 3, 2017.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to March 2, 2017. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.


Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00

Host Utility


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