Why modernizing customer communication is essential for success.
By Conor Dowd

Effective customer communication is essential to attracting, converting, and retaining customers. Whether you are trying to increase your commercial business, provide better service to individual residences, or get invoices paid faster, how and when, you communicate with your customers is critical. When it comes to the service they receive, customers’ expectations are increasing. They are requesting a level of service comparable to an online retail experience, where all the data they need is at their fingertips, any service change can be made online, and their questions about products or services are answered quickly and completely.

The reality is that many waste haulers have been slow to adopt technology that allows them to offer a holistic approach to customer communications and service. While customers still want to engage via a phone call, businesses need to offer consumers the ability to connect with them online as 60 percent of customer service interactions take place online. Waste and recycling companies that master digitizing business communications, such as having an engaging website, automating service notifications, providing self-service ordering, or processing online payments will meet the demand that is already in the marketplace. This type of premium customer experience will give these businesses an edge.


A communications strategy that includes an easy-to-navigate website, e-mail, and social interactions allows waste and recycling companies to engage with customers throughout their journey.
Image courtesy of iStock. Provided by AMCS.


The Future is Now for Enhanced Digital Experiences
Compared to other industries, waste and recycling businesses still have a huge opportunity to benefit from digitizing their business processes. To continue attracting new customers, the time is now to begin modernizing communications. Some customers will remain comfortable with the analog world of paper invoices and contact centers. Businesses will need to cater to them and bring them along on a digital journey. However, these customers are declining. The industry is at a turning point as a new generation of workers and customers want to use digital systems that provide 24/7 access to customer data and flawless support. Waste and recycling customers expect to be able to sign in and book services at any time from any device. Most customers are used to this type of access for nearly any other service in their lives—from ordering food from their couch to booking a vacation online or even being able to purchase an automobile using their handheld device.
The future success of individual waste and recycling companies depends on automating processes, bringing customer services online, and making communications responsive, intuitive, and customer-friendly.

What You Need for Effective Digital Communications
The first thing any business needs to do when plotting a transition to digital is to figure out how to best connect with current and potential customers. Waste and recycling companies need to engage customers at every stage of their journey. To do so, digital communications should include:

  • Brand Awareness—Increasing the exposure of the company’s name and mission maximizes the chances of converting visitors into paying customers.
  • Website Development—Companies need an effective website that is fresh, easy to navigate, and fully functional on mobile devices.
  • Search Engine Optimization—Make sure potential customers see your company name first. A ‘search engine friendly’ website will increase traffic, leads, and conversions.
  • E-mail Marketing—E-mail marketing still offers the highest ROI and is a great way to share regular updates so this direct outreach to potential customers is a must.
  • Digital Content—Regularly add fresh content that will persistently educate and engage your audience.
  • Digital Advertising—Pick the most suitable channels to run ad campaigns, tailored to your target audience.


As more than 60 percent of customer service interactions are online, a business strategy that offers customers the ability to connect digitally is essential. Photo courtesy of AMCS.

Six Ways to Use Digital Engagement for Better Customer Communications and Experience
For those organizations that have not yet invested in transitioning to digital formats, the process can seem daunting. The best approach is to take it one step at a time, as well as to partner with providers who know both the best technologies and the specific needs of waste haulers and recyclers. Here are six digital engagement strategies for every stage of your customer’s journey:
1. Use digital tools that better identify and target prospective customers. Get your message in front of prospective customers on a 24/7/365 basis. Highlight waste services through images or video, and target customers in precise areas that you wish to prioritize for growth.
2. Tailor web experiences, provide frictionless quotes, and rapidly convert prospects to customers. When prospective customers land on a new vendor website, they will rapidly decide whether the advertised services meet their requirements. Providing tailored, relevant content gets them to a faster buying decision. Visitors can be geolocated via their address or ZIP code to swiftly determine what services are available to them.
3. Smooth, stress-free self-service with a mobile-friendly portal that customers can access from anywhere at any time is key to drawing in new customers. Delight customers with easy access to self-service functionality. Customers want to be able to explore and book waste services via a handheld device, as well as manage service details at their convenience. Allowing customers to order a new service, view a service calendar, see their transaction history, or make payments is a differentiator in the waste industry right now. Providing reliable mobile customer service will create a better customer experience and increase sales in the future.
4. Boost customer retention with convenient, automated messages sent directly to customers. Keeping customers informed with automated service notifications will build customer loyalty and streamline customer-facing business processes. Messages sent via SMS text, e-mail, or even social media provide a convenient, modern, low-cost way to communicate with customers.
5. Get paid faster and deliver an Amazon-like experience by integrating digital payments. Integrated digital payment solutions make it easier for customers to pay for services, from autopay to embedded Pay Now links in invoices. Today, customers expect to be able to make a swift, safe payment online. A streamlined, simplified payment process can reduce cart abandonment, accelerate on-time payments, and raise sales.
6. Connect digital channels with your ERP so that customers have access to real-time information about services and costs. ERP software provides businesses with a treasure trove of essential data—from collections to container tracking, route planning, and customer payments. Integrating ERP data with customer-facing digital channels provides customers with information such as container availability, service time windows, and pricing data that can help close sales.


Waste and recycling operators can stand out from their competition and capture new customers by using online technology when engaging with customers. Image courtesy of iStock. Provided by AMCS.

Roll Out Your Digital Strategy
If you want your business to lead the industry, having a digital engagement plan must be top of mind. Agile and digital-savvy operators stand to capture new customers in an environment that demands flawless and immediate communications. These companies may also be able to recruit new employees who are digitally savvy and want to use more technology when engaging with customers. Those companies that fail to press forward with this transition risk being left behind. Forward-thinking waste and recycling companies should consider how to best roll out their digital strategy right now to capitalize on the growth opportunity that digitization represents. | WA

Conor Dowd is currently the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Sustainability Solutions, at AMCS with a global view of trends shaping the waste and recycling industry in North America and Europe. Previously, he was head of sales for Ireland and UK Recycling. For more information, visit www.amcsgroup.com.