Leaving behind other technology to implement ReCollect may feel scary. Municipal staff may ask themselves “What’s the benefit to our residents or to staff?”
A number of municipalities — large and small — have transitioned from other technology products to ReCollect. With planning (and a little bit of fortitude), transitioning to ReCollect can improve the municipality’s efficiency through better metrics, while fostering improved customer relations with residents.
In this case study, staff from Denver, Strathcona, Loveland and St. John’s explain how, and why, they successfully transitioned from other products to ReCollect.
SWITCHING FROM IN-HOUSE TECHNOLOGY
The City and County of Denver, Colorado, used a reminder technology product developed in-house. This “legacy” project was more than ten years old and starting to show its age.
“The previous product was designed in-house for our subscription based recycling program. It could send out emails to recycling customers letting them know their recycling days,” said Juri Freeman, then Recycling Program Manager for Denver. “It was difficult and time consuming for us to manage and it did not cover our full range of solid waste services such as trash collection, compost collection, large item pick-up, or overflow.”
Denver staff began to investigate “out of the box” solutions like ReCollect. Staff were impressed by ReCollect’s focus on an exceptional resident experience, and the capabilities within the ReCollect system to display a wide range of collection scheduling.
“ReCollect was very nimble and willing to work closely with our team to make sure the service met our varied needs,” said Juri. Denver and ReCollect developed a transition plan and over 35,000 subscribers were seamlessly switched from the legacy product to ReCollect. “Beyond just the reminder service which has been great, we are also very happy with the campaign feature and use ReCollect as a low-cost and easy way to share information with our customers”.
For example, Denver has since conducted a major media effort to encourage residents to subscribe for a new fee-based curbside organics collection service. “We’ve been using ReCollect’s campaign feature to promote our educational workshops and the benefits of participating in the curbside organics collection program. It’s so easy to schedule campaigns and target specific areas of Denver to receive them.”
Denver initially launched ReCollect’s online Collection Calendar and a Mobile App called Denver Trash and Recycling. Since then, 50 per cent of Denver’s addresses have set a collection reminder, while the mobile app holds a 4.9 star rating with over 20,000 downloads! Residents are finding the tool not just useful, but delightful as well. A year after launching, Denver decided to make their ReCollect suite more comprehensive and implemented the Waste Wizard product, now with over 440,000 items searched. “We are getting great feedback from our staff and customers,” added Juri.
IMPROVING MOBILE APP EXPERIENCE
For three years, Strathcona County, Alberta, had been using a custom mobile app developed on their behalf by another vendor.
“One limitation was that our original app worked only on iPhones,” stated Jennifer Tames, Communications & Marketing Specialist at Strathcona County. “Also, I couldn’t update certain things myself. If I had to add an item to our searchable materials list or add information about our services, I had to send it to the developer for updating.”
Concerned about the app’s reliability, developer response times and wanting to offer a mobile app to Android users, the County decided to use ReCollect instead. Jennifer’s concerns were validated as today 35 per cent of the “Strathcona County Waste” app downloads are through android platforms.
“I didn’t want to have to worry about iOS (Apple) updates and how they affect our app. I also wanted the ability to be able to update the information as needed,” explained Jennifer. “We had always wanted to expand the app to include Android, however with our experience with the iPhone app, we didn’t want to do a custom build. I am not a web developer and I like the fact that I don’t have to come up with new features, the ReCollect team is doing that for me! ReCollect met all of our requirements and more.”
Due to the success experienced with the ReCollect tools, Strathcona later introduced a sorting game to reinforce their approach to public outreach, “our decision to use the sorting game was based on the ability to use it across platforms and online. Our outreach staff use the game as an educational tool during their school presentations.”
Jennifer was concerned about the transition, but ReCollect made recommendations on how to seamlessly manage the switch. “I continue to be very impressed with how responsive and amazing ReCollect is to work with. If I have an issue they are on it immediately! It is a very refreshing change!” Strathcona County residents also seem to be pleased with these tools — with over 12,000 downloads, the Strathcona County Waste app has a 4.7 star review and continues to be used and prove its worth to both residents and government officials on a daily basis.
TRANSITIONING FROM AN INCENTIVES- BASED PROGRAM
For a year, the City of Loveland, Colorado, used an incentives-based program that offered redeemable points loosely based on how much a resident recycled. “We felt the program did not target the entire community, but rather engaged those who were already avid recyclers,” said Brenda Browning, Business Services Coordinator for the City. “We were not reaching those households that could provide the greatest boost in our yet-unrecovered recycling tonnages.”
The City chose to leave the program because it didn’t educate residents about desired recycling behaviors. Additionally, the program did not provide an adequate return on the City’s substantial investment. After researching other options, Loveland made the change because “ReCollect was the cream that rose to the top!” said Brenda.
“Residents have embraced the ReCollect products. We have heard many comments of its ease of use and the overall helpfulness it provides. From a collector’s point of view, we have been able to reduce the number of return trips to collect late set outs, educate residents with beneficial collection pointers, such as time of set out and placement of carts, and promote upcoming events of interest to them,” Brenda explained.
“The Waste Wizard feature provides the necessary education we desperately needed.” Residents are inquiring about the proper sorting and disposing of materials through the tool, leading to Loveland’s Wizard having over 30,000 item searches to date. “While increasing recycling tonnages is important, the resulting interest in ‘recycling it right’ has been an additional benefit. The ReCollect program allows us to educate our residents each and every week.”
SWITCHING FROM A COMPETITOR’S PRODUCT
The City of St. John’s, Newfoundland, originally used a competitor’s product.
“As we were investigating other options, we were really impressed by ReCollect’s technical know-how. ReCollect really understands how to make it easy for residents to use the products,” said Janine Piller, Waste Diversion Supervisor for the City of St. John’s. “In addition, they make it so easy for municipal staff to access behind-the-scenes dashboards and make updates. As one of our staff people said, ‘There’s no way we’d get all this with the other product. It would take [them] two days to just get back to us’.”
ReCollect works with its customers to develop a transition plan. This helps move residents from one product to another. “ReCollect has been very prompt, with great turnaround. They never leave you waiting and wondering for a few days what’s happening. ReCollect solves things effectively and quickly,” shared Janine.
In the three years since ReCollect was implemented at St John’s, over 95 per cent of residents have looked up their address in the calendar tool and nearly 40 per cent of these have created a collection reminder. Similarly, approximately 330,000 items have been searched through St. John’s waste wizard, Put Waste In Its Place, proving to be a great tool for tackling resident’s disposal uncertainty.
If you’re currently using an in-house or existing solution and thinking of switching to ReCollect, the overwhelming advice from these municipalities would seem to be ‘Do it!’ ReCollect will work with you to migrate your existing users, and help you launch a great web and mobile solution!
Questions? Contact us!