CRM System Issues | CRM in Waste Management

By: Alan Paget

The Problem
I have met many refuse collection managers over the last twelve months whom are dissatisfied and quietly fuming into their RCVs about the overselling of CRM into local authorities.

Many of them have been told that the corporate CRM will provide not only all the 'front end' citizen facing functionality required - logging a missed bin call, providing rounds information - but also the 'back end' operational management functionality - rectification jobs, bin maintenance schedule, Duty of Care Certificates, cesspool emptying rounds, split billing, etc. But after the initial implementation in the call centre many refuse managers are left waiting, and waiting, and waiting for back end functionality that never arrives!!!

Councils face significant challenges to improve efficiency, handling an increasing number and variety of transactions at first point of contact. A CRM system sounds like the perfect answer - on the face of it.

Just one example of how CRM is failing refuse managers is in the area of Special/Bulky Collections. Simply taking a call and emailing a service request for a special/bulky collection to the depot can be fraught with problems. What if:
&bullthe bulky items consist of an oversize fridge and a sofa which requires different vehicles
&bullthe vehicle has capacity for just one 'normal' size item on the allotted day

Another example relates to the age old 'missed bin' complaint. When a citizen calls the contact centre at 10am saying that the morning kerbside collection round missed the bin most call centre operatives log it without question then send the information to the depot. In reality, the bin "was not presented" or was "contaminated with garden waste) which had been logged on the paper round sheet but still with the driver on the round at 10am!

The Answers
So what is the answer? An interface between the CRM system and a specialist waste management solution with a mobile (PDA or similar) module (see diagram below) will enable a 'joined-up' service ensuring that, at first point of contact, the citizen and CRM operative can agree an appointed service, with the appropriate vehicle as well as having the very latest details of how the kerbside round is progressing in 'real time' - so no more missed bins (unless they are genuine)!

But how do heads of service resist the pressure to rely solely on a 'corporate call centre'? I think the answer is to learn from the experience of others perhaps through APSE or PSNet, obtain evidence of the failings of CRM, and develop a business case for a specialist waste management system to operate in tandem with the CRM.

Only through integration between a specialist waste management system and CRM can waste management departments provide a true 'joined-up' service providing the citizen with 'closure' at first point of contact.

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