Waste tracking is more than just an environmental exercise; it can also be an important compliance and financial activity for businesses.
Haulers that can help customers meet waste tracking goals stand to benefit by becoming more than just a commoditized trash removal service; instead, they can become more of an operational partner in areas such as risk management, thereby strengthening their ties with existing customers and standing out to potential new customers.
And waste tracking isn’t merely a hypothetical risk. Last week, Whole Foods agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for improper recordkeeping regarding hazardous waste, according to the Associated Press.
As part of the settlement, Whole Foods will help educate Texas retailers about these laws and the importance of compliance, says the EPA.
Now think about your own customers and whether it’s possible that some of their items aren’t being disposed of properly or that they don’t have compliant recordkeeping for hazardous waste.
It doesn’t even have to be industrial items. In Whole Foods case, the company says the issue involved products such as nail polish remover and vitamins which were purchased, opened and then returned, thus they had to be considered waste, according to the AP.
Your customers certainly don’t want a fine, and they may not be fully aware or have the capabilities to track their waste properly. That’s where haulers can come in to offer a deeper partnership, which is important because loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs via HelpScout.
How can haulers increase loyalty in this area?
For one, they can provide the same sort of education to businesses that Whole Foods will now provide to some retailers in Texas. That could be done in a variety of ways, such as simply speaking with customers next time you see them for pickup and perhaps scheduling a date to talk further; providing literature on how to properly track and dispose of all types of waste; or offering a training workshop in your community, which could double as a marketing event to introduce other businesses to your services.
Additionally, haulers and their customers can use new tools for better waste tracking.
As we wrote about a few weeks ago, the EPA rolled out a new waste and materials tracking feature to its Energy Star Portfolio Manager online platform. And with Grid Waste, haulers can provide personalized waste collection reports. So if they use the EPA’s tool to track waste and materials usage, they can see how that aligns with what’s actually being collected. And if they don’t use the EPA’s tool, better collection reports still help businesses stay on top of how their waste is being disposed.
Offering these types of services shows customers that your business can help them reach their goals and can provide a better experience than simply picking up the trash every week.
And customer experience is key to profitability and growth. In the U.S. auto insurance industry, for example, companies that provide the top quality customer experience generate two to four times more new business growth, as well as 30% more profitability, since satisfied customers are more likely to renew their policies, finds McKinsey.
The same can apply to haulers. Providing exceptional customer service such as anticipating that customers need help with waste tracking can increase the chances that those customers will remain your clients, and it could be the calling card you need for other businesses to hire you.