There’s never been a more challenging time for the waste management industry. Regulations continue to tighten, and the intricacies of global waste distribution layer in complexity for the entire sector. Nevertheless, a wide range of business opportunities exist if one knows where to look.
In this increasingly competitive market, advantages are hard to find. Also, from sorting solutions to robotic recycling to digital access tools, environmental services have been impacted by the tech revolution as much as any industry. Surprisingly, some easy to implement strategies have yet to gain widespread acceptance.
Customer Centric Business View
According to the Harvard Business Review and Forbes, the adoption of customer centric methods are critical for business success in the digital age. Many waste management companies still rely on the belief that since their services are essential, they can focus on inward looking operations. However, industry leaders are taking a more aggressive customer centric posture.
In every sector, customer-centricity works wonders due to its impact on core business goals. Can this carry over to the environmental services space? Consider these factors:
- New growth opportunities
- Improved customer satisfaction and retention
- Differentiation of brand from the competition
- Increase in market share
- Streamlined business operations
- Risk reduction
Role of Technology
The nexus of the debate revolves around technology. We can use the food industry as an illustration. Food is an essential human need, however, the brands that leverage technology to deliver the best food, in the least amount of time and at the best price win market share. In order to dominate key vectors (quality, speed, value, etc.) a lot depends on customer engagement.
For instance, food delivery apps cultivate an intimate relationship with the customer ordering a meal online. Businesses with no digital presence completely lose out on the deal or are demoted to the lowest preference tiers.
The tech game has become so advanced and intense, that brands, such as Postmates, employ complex machine learning and artificial intelligence to test which digital configurations capture the most business. Entities such as Change.org have up to 1.2 million digital experiments running on their site at any time to identify competitive advantages.
Many in the Waste Industry Remain in the Digital Dark Ages
Given the highly advanced technology employed today, one wonders why some environmental service brands may not even have a website, or they have a rudimentary one at best. Is waste management somehow immune to the pressures of digital influence? Or is this a unique opportunity for companies to distance themselves from the rest of the pack?
Those betting against technology take a huge risk, especially since the required investment to get up to speed has decreased dramatically.
What Platform Are You On?
Even though a customer centric strategy is critical, the digital transformation should, ideally, begin internally. Business management software has been around for decades, and many waste companies adopted these systems long ago.
A single platform unifies and organizes the business from the top down using tools such as:
- Sales management
- Quote builders
- Customer management
- Operations management
- Finance tracking
- 24/7/365 Cloud access
With these easy to implement platforms, business operations and customer service quality improve exponentially. One key caveat is that when choosing a business management software platform, it’s important to prioritize those platforms built specifically for the waste industry.
What Channel Are You On?
Today, the ability to quickly reach existing and new customers is critical. That’s why business leaders strive to achieve omnipresence. A simple toll free number isn’t enough when the competition engages its customers via email, social media, online chat, text messages and web portals.
The technological and cloud advantage cannot be denied as all of these channels can be attended to in an automated fashion. The end result is a faster, more organized and highly efficient customer service offering.
Beyond The Complaint Box
Clearly one of the hallmarks of customer communication is handling customer complaint tickets. In many cases, these create bottlenecks in customer service flow, and digital tools shorten response time. For the savvy hauler, this converts into a risk mitigation strategy as well, since serious problems are detected sooner and addressed promptly.
Taking a hint from the medical industry, a root cause of malpractice litigation is poor and delayed communication. The sooner a waste company is alerted to a problem the better. Tools such as an online customer communications portal extend the eyes and ears of a company out to the fringe. Your own customers do the reporting since they have an effective channel to communicate.
Makes Life Easier For Everyone
When a company puts its house in order, huge changes occur. Technology makes complex processes easier which frees up time to focus on business growth. The online customer portal is a perfect illustration.
From one place, companies can manage new service requests, service details, job progress, invoice status, payments and regulatory documents. Meanwhile, customers can login to their account at any time to purchase new services, pay bills, see service status or download documents. Clients can also contact customer service by email, phone, phone text message or online chat.
If you simply isolate the new service request feature, you can clearly see the advantage of letting clients order a service automatically at any time, day or night. Instead of having a single live call center with tasks piling up, portals enable proper work triage and flow to occur. The business runs smoother and customers are happier.
The 24/7 Convenience Economy
Digital problem solving has improved services all over the world. In many industries, these solutions are now the norm, not the exception. Companies roll out online access to their customers since it’s good business. Having a store front open at all times, without having to hire more employees, makes sense for any brand.
Many in the waste service industry are among the last holdouts in the convenience economy. Still, not all companies are resting on outdated strategies. Instead, they’re looking to leverage every advantage to grow into the future.