Get Better Online Reviews — With Fleet Automation and On-Board Computers

Reading reviews from unhappy customers can feel like the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Customers may start with denial: “On the whole, I have no problem with them, but…” says one resident who goes on to share their disappointment with a lapse in their solid waste service. The second stage, anger, is often punctuated by multiple exclamation points: “Terrible customer service!!!!!”

The third stage is bargaining: “I’m ready to notify the news station and maybe get a response them,” threatens a resident who failed to get a resolution after multiple phone calls. That can be followed by depression: “My neighborhood looks like a mess with all the trash left behind everywhere.” And finally, acceptance: “Unfortunately, I have no choice of trash companies…” These are all real reviews of waste haulers that were posted online this year.

While many residents have no choice when it comes to trash haulers, that doesn’t prevent them from loudly and publicly expressing their unhappiness. Online comments can influence contract renewals as well as future contract wins, and you can bet municipal decision makers – and competitors – are paying attention. Residents and businesses that do have a choice of solid waste companies will sometimes use social media to encourage others to make the switch along with them, creating a herd mentality.

Better tools for service they’ll write about

It’s easy to shrug and say everyone is just complaining a lot these days. But generally people don’t turn to social media with their gripes until they feel like they’ve run out of options. When calls to customer service don’t resolve an issue, or people feel they’re not being heard, you’ll see comments like this one: “Five phone calls and (my) trash has still not been picked up! It’s about to get dropped at their front door.”

Most customers will give a business quite a bit of latitude if they feel like someone is trying to fix their problem. Customers call about issues they think should be simple to resolve, and their frustration increases each time they have to call back or each week they see no action. A look at online reviews from locations throughout the U.S. revealed complaints that can be solved with fleet automation and back office solutions:

Where’s my cart? Whether it’s a cart for a new resident, a bin size change, or replacing a damaged cart, it can be pretty annoying to have waste piling up with nowhere to put it. One customer posted: “It’s like an act of congress to get a new trash can.” If this issue feels all too familiar, it’s probably time to improve work order management so tasks are assigned, completed, and verified with customer service in mind.

Solution: You’ll increase efficiency and responsiveness with Routeware’s back office solutions. Create, assign, and dispatch work orders quickly and easily to make sure carts are delivered when and where customers need them.

You missed! When the trucks have come and gone, the last thing a resident wants to do is roll a completely full cart back up the driveway and wait another week or two for pickup. And when a customer calls, they don’t want to be told – without evidence – that it’s their fault.

Sure, some customers try to have a sense of humor about it: They have the nerve to tell us (our cans) weren’t out or they didn’t see them…Quite concerning that they have someone driving that can’t see bright blue and green cans…,” but that’s not always going to be the case: “I don’t like being called a liar…I’m telling you they missed my trash can!!!” (Those exclamation points again).

Solution: Collaborate with customers to solve pickup issues when you have high-quality cameras onboard every truck. There’s no need to debate cart placement or set-out timing when service personnel can share photos or video with drivers or customers, accurately identifying what caused a missed cart. When customers are able to see things through the eyes of their driver, they’ll be able to choose a better place for their cart. Supervisors can also use video to help drivers increase efficiency and accuracy.

What’s taking so long? Requests to pick up bulky materials or special items are handled most efficiently by a truck that’s already in the area. But that requires coordinating work orders and sending work orders in real time. Even drivers get frustrated when they return to base only to be sent back out to a neighborhood they already visited.

Solution: With Routeware’s fleet automation technology communicating directly to onboard computers, changes that happen day-of can easily be integrated into a driver’s route. A customer who avoids having to haul their own waste is a happy customer – even if their pup feels otherwise: “I’m not missing the trip to the landfill…However, my dog is missing the cookie the nice cashiers would give her each trip.”

Problem solving means more positivity

Negative online reviews not only impact your ability to gain and retain valued accounts, they can also impact employee morale. On the other hand, delighted customers will often go out of their way to post positive comments, especially when an employee fixes a problem or handles a sticky issue with grace. Solid waste companies have received online compliments that often called out drivers and service personnel by name, including this one: Apart from being incredibly professional, funny, and super sweet, they went beyond the call of duty and resolved the issue, getting my recycle picked up.”

With Routeware, you can give your team modern tools that will help them deliver the kind of service they strive for, so customers won’t feel like their only option is to express their grievances online.

Learn more. Are you ready for better online reviews? Let’s talk!

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