Planning and Communication for Reroutes that Work
Anyone who works with the public knows that people don’t like change. But is this really true? The evidence seems clear: When a change happens, people get confused, they complain, they may hesitate to comply. This can cause municipalities to re-think or delay new initiatives, even if they represent an improvement. But maybe it’s not change that’s the problem. In fact, it’s often the way change is managed.
Changing your solid waste program doesn’t need to be an unwelcome surprise. With the right planning and communication tools, residents will feel involved and well informed about what’s happening and what they need to do. We’ve worked with many municipalities, like the City of Waco, Texas, to implement successful program changes and communicate them.
Don’t Fear the Reroute
Service route optimization pays off in many ways. It helps you balance workloads; use fewer trucks, fuel, and staff; reduce disruptions; and design more efficient, safer routes. Periodic route optimization is always recommended as a way to contain costs and meet community expectations. But many recycling coordinators try to avoid route changes so they don’t have to deal with frustrated or confused residents.
With Routeware you can assess the benefits of different route options before making any changes. You can model multiple options by adjusting variables like frequency, shift patterns, vehicle type, and yards. Proposed routes can be evaluated faster using real-world data and by integrating on-the-ground driver experience and expertise. And when they’re ready, new routes can be implemented quicker, too, because they can be immediately shared with your haulers’ on-board computers.
Once you’ve created your new routes and the internal team is onboard, it’s time to let the community know what to expect. That’s where digital communication tools from ReCollect come in.
Communicate with Impact
In the past, you may have sent post cards to impacted residents, hoping they see and understand the upcoming route changes. This required lead time, of course, and a budget for design, printing, and mailing. Concerned residents who didn’t notice the postcard may end up calling in to your customer service line when they think their pickup was missed. That can impact the responsiveness of your call center.
With ReCollect’s Collection Calendar and Mobile App, residents have schedule information at their fingertips, and easy ways to access information or connect with customer service. Residents use Collection Calendar to view their schedule using an easy address search. They can verify any scheduling changes and check in if they have bins awaiting pickup. They can also receive notifications about weather disruptions and schedule changes.
When the community is familiar with Collection Calendar and the Mobile App, you’ve got a powerful communication platform. You can easily add custom, targeted messaging along with weekly collection reminders – and it’s a perfect way to introduce and explain a route change.
The support that comes with your Routeware and ReCollect digital tools will help assure a smooth transition to new routes. We recommend you build in these four steps:
Step One: Prepare
Connect with your ReCollect Customer Success Manager as soon as you have initial details about your route change. The more lead time you have, the better. This time will be used to program updates to your Collection Calendar so it’s ready to be released in advance of when the changes go into effect. We can help you program the new schedule to appear on the date you specify. We recommend releasing your updated calendar a month prior to the route change.
Step Two: Promote
Your Customer Success Manager will help you define your promotional goals and show you proven concepts for helping residents embrace the reroute. It’s key to encourage residents to sign up for reminder notifications well in advance of any major transition. Many municipalities have been successful stimulating signups with social media contests. ReCollect can help by compiling contest entries to make it easy for you to choose a winner. Whatever your strategy, remind residents in each communication about the benefits of downloading the Mobile App and receiving notifications.
Step Three: Communicate
As you build your audience of residents who will receive regular reminder notifications, you can use ReCollect digital tools to announce the planned reroute. One approach is to use the campaign function to include educational content with reminders. Campaigns can be programmed months in advance, so you can begin running messaging to build awareness prior to any change. Another popular way to deliver messaging is by adding an attention-grabbing banner to your calendar. Your Customer Success Manager will advise you how to get the most out of these features.
Step Four: Think Long Term
Building your digital notification database will pay off when you implement changes or reroutes. It will also allow you to communicate future issues like truck breakdowns, holiday schedules, or winter storm delays. Ongoing, proactive communication enhances engagement and helps convert residents to a digital-first audience so you can provide services more efficiently and cost effectively.
Making Route Changes Easy
With a little planning, and tools from ReCollect, you can turn a reroute into a positive opportunity to show residents you’re working for them to keep the community well informed, clean, and running smoothly.