This is the first in a series of such stories,
as it is high in many recyclers awareness, as they wonder, will
larger operations put others out of business?
This first story discusses customer service, a
key to success. One of the benefits of being among the industry’s
thousands or smaller recycling facilities is that you enjoy rapid
adaptability. Sole proprietors have the flexibility of not having
to hold a meeting or notify partners or investors before making
a change. You are able to meet the market on a whim. More importantly
such recycler owners can offer something no one else can: you.
Sure the customer can go to a larger consolidation
facility where they are just one of the several customers in progress,
or they can come to your facility where you can take personal
care of them. Focusing on attentiveness and how much more important
every single customer is gives the small facilities advantage
over our larger competitors.
Customers like personal attention; I know I like
to be recognized when making a purchase. When I was about 10 years
old my parents went to purchase new furniture. Anyone who knows
my father is aware that he wears his gray uniform almost everywhere.
When we arrived at a large department store, mom picked out the
furniture she wanted, and all the sales people ignored us. Dad
was getting frustrated and called on a salesperson (of course
they thought we were only taking up their time). He was told someone
would be with us in a bit. My dad made the purchase in cash, and
the reaction on the salesperson's face was priceless. Even at
10 years of age, I noticed the lack of customer service. When
we train a new salesperson, we make it clear that they are to
treat every customer like they were your parents - give them the
attention you would want to have. Some of our first customers
still walk through the door, or call looking for parts. Be positive
on the phone; you can never go too far with being cordial, courteous
and friendly. Treat your customer well and they will return it
With the continued growth of consolidators, small
recycling facilities are likely to face even tougher competition
in the future, but there will always be a place for smart recycling
facilities of all sizes. When customers call or come in for a
part they like to be recognized, they like attention, they like
the fact that you personally pulled and tested their part.
We have the ability to keep our customers for
life, but do we?