Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Bin-lifts Not The Only Ups & Downs

More Insights from Luke O'Donnell

Growth is foremost among business objectives. It is not however, without its pitfalls. Big business risks isolating the individual, the same people - the very same person - who helped the business grow in the first place. Away from the office everyone at The City Bin Co. is a customer, a purchaser, a client of someone. We know firsthand how easy it is to feel expendable. We know how frustrating it is wind up in the margin.


The City Bin Co. has long espoused the virtues of customer service, we've even won a few gold stars for our efforts. We'd like to think it stems from our ability to answer phones within a single ring, to fix problems within a quarter of an hour, and perhaps most importantly keep callers duly informed. Daily we hear palpable delight from people we call back, people who doubted such courtesy or had written it off altogether. While The City Bin Co. is and always will be a Galway icon (albeit one with a substantial suburban following now in the capital), the fact our customers number in the tens of thousands makes it "big" business. That said, we approach every call and every query individually. We do this for no other reason than it's an individual who called.

Competition too is an industry staple, not just of the waste industry but across the commercial board. Competition is healthy. We know this because our arrival in Dublin City in December gave a massive chunk of the population within the M50 an opportunity - the first for many - to choose. A massive chunk chose us. Smaller chunks continue to do the same. By that same token, a recent industry pricing reshuffle appealed to a clutch of Galway householders - many of whom were hit as hard as anyone by rising unemployment and financial instability. Many among which several months and weeks back wheeled out red bins for collection on a regular basis. Now they wheel out another's.


Wanting neither to exaggerate nor come across contrite and melodramatic, we mourn these departures. I'm not saying we beset bossman Gene with bereavement leave requests, mess up the mascara, or wear black to work for any reason other than fashion and available laundry, but departures sting. Never more so than when callers share with us the circumstances which prompted their switch. The perennial exodus of Galway's seasonal student body is inevitable, and yields exchanges which invariably finish with "seeya after summer". News however of two incomes becoming one, or one becoming none hit hard. We would love to do more, and often we do. If we can't, we try. Likewise, settling a deceased's estate involves cancelling various arrangements on their behalf and waste collection is only one among a heartbreaking raft.

The City Bin Co. is no longer a corner store enterprise servicing the needs of a few central city restaurants and retailers. We are a national player in the environmental industry. Yet when you call us, you are not re-routed offshore. You won't suffer the ignominy of bad music while you wade through several cups of tea and an ever-burgeoning bladder. You wouldn't have time for good music or a dash to the jacks anyway. You won't endure countless options for accounts, customer sign-ups, your horoscope or the latest in celebrity break-ups before dialling 39 for a real person. You'll talk to someone, straight-away. And when you ring to cancel your subscription, you'll find someone there too. And they'll miss you.

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