I just had a 5 star service experience at my local refuse yard and it’s not the first time. In fact, just about every time I go there I get what I would consider good to excellent customer service. It’s not a place you would normally think of when you picture exemplary service but, Ritz-Carlton or not, the system works.
Here’s 5 reasons why the Kailua Refuse station is getting an A+ from me.
- They’re ALWAYS open: After loading up my truck with stuff from the backyard and garage, we didn’t need to look for a schedule to see if the dump was open because it (almost) always is! Except for New Year’s day and Christmas (?) the dump is running 365 days out of the year. And really, who’s going to be wanting to go on those two days?? It’s flat out convenient. Period. A+
- They greeted me when I arrived: You have to stop and check your load when you first enter the Refuse area. The guard (concierge?) at the front greeted me with a polite, cordial and respectful “Whaddya got this afternoon, sir?,” asked me some clarifying questions , told me to proceed up to the top and “Have a nice, sir.” It was perfect. It didn’t feel scripted, he didn’t look bored because it was late afternoon and he’d already asked 250 people other people the same questions, and he got the job done effectively and efficiently. When I arrived at the top I was greeted politely again, asked more questions to clarify and assist me, and instructed to park in stall 4. When I said “Thank you” the attendant there said “You’re welcome.” Politeness is so uncharacteristic at so many of the BUSINESS establishments I’ve seen that this really impressed me at my local dump. Basic human interaction skills, baby. Solid. A+
- They’re friendly: There’s a guy who works the front gate that my family calls “Superman.” He’s an older man, probably retired and working to stay busy. Every time we go to the dump, if he’s there, he’ll greet us, ask us what we have in the back, listen to our response, and ask “You have any kyrptonite in there? I doubt it because I would undoubtedly feel it if you did. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses.” Not everybody there cracks superhero jokes but most everyone is positive and helpful. These are some rough looking dudes here; I’m not talking about aloha-shirt wearing, slacks, suit and tie, types. They’re local, big, and kind of scary looking. They deal with that, whether consciously or not, by their friendly, welcoming approach to us when we arrive. A+
- They anticipated my need: I forgot to empty one of the three trash cans in the back of the truck (I was distracted/talking and yes, that happens frequently). I found out when we left the “household” section and had already driven up to the “metals” area. It’s a one-way road from the area we had just left and I didn’t relish walking it back with the leaking trash can. The attendant (the same polite one) saw me across the way and called out to me “Whatchu need there?” I told him what happened and he told me not to worry about coming all the way back and to just dump it out in bin 4 right next to me. It doesn’t look like an example of great service until you break it down. 1) He saw me doing something outside the norm for my area; 2) He was proactive, initiating and anticipating the problem. 3) He offered me a solution that fit the problem perfectly. A+
- They had me talking about my experience: We work so hard for this positive word-of-mouth and one bad experience and bam! it’s over. We’ve all heard about how hard and expensive it is to get new customers and how a customer with a bad experience will tell a dozen or more people about what happened. My trip to the dump turned out to be a checklist how-to for delivering excellent service. This is definitely what every business wants: customers who tell other customers about the spectacular experience they had at the hotel, the restaurant, the movie, the dealership, the office, and now, for me, the dump. A+
I would still prefer the Ritz to take my wife on a nice vacation but, hey, maybe a latte and a little drive up to our local dump ain’t so bad after all.