The Importance of the Personal Touch in Business, why bigger isn’t always better in the ITAD World!
When choosing an ITAD vendor to service your company’s various needs, it might be tempting to go with the old adage, Bigger is Better. At first glance there seems to be a certain amount of logic to the thinking, as if a company’s size must naturally be a reflection of its overall value. And yet the world we live in today is cluttered with big businesses that are known for low quality products and poor customer service, so much so that a quick Internet search will yield multiple articles about America’s most-hated companies. What do these well-known but most-hated companies all share in common? You guessed it: they’re all really big.
This is not to say that bigger is inherently bad, only that it is not necessarily better. What it really boils down to is the quality of a company’s culture, which is built on the vision of its leadership and reflected in the values and goals of its workforce. That vision, combined with said goals and values, manifests itself in a variety of ways–including what is commonly known as the personal touch–strengthening the relationship between a company and its customers. This white paper will show why bigger isn’t always better when it comes to choosing the right ITAD vendor, and why instead a company should be evaluated on the values of its workforce and the vision of its leadership.
One way the personal touch is exemplified is in a company’s ability to offer custom solutions to one-of-a-kind situations. In the world of electronics recycling and asset management/disposal, no two projects are the same. And yet more often than not it’s those big companies whose size seems so appealing, who in fact have little more to offer than cookie cutter packages that, because they worked for one group, are supposed to work for your business as well.
It is typical for potential customers to inquire about standard pricing and procedures. Ours is a world of seemingly one-size-fits-all options. The truth is that there is little room for options in the one-size-fits-all business model. Reality dictates that what is good for one customer isn’t necessarily good for the next, and businesses are just as unique as the individuals that comprise them. The ideal ITAD vendor is one who can listen to your needs and draft a custom solution that meets your particular needs and exceeds your expectations. Too often bigger isn’t better because, ironically enough, companies become constrained by the uniformity of their own largeness. Instead of looking for the biggest company you can find, look for one who approaches you with the custom solution your business deserves.
Know What You’re Paying For
Many people believe “bigger is better” translates into lower costs for the customer, but unfortunately the truth is often just the opposite. Many large companies are constantly looking for ways to pass off their overhead to their customer base in the form of higher processing rates and increased fees. That new oversized facility you read about may sound and look great, but what isn’t being talked about is the company’s increased expenses to operate said facility. This is not to say that growth is a bad thing for customers, but merely that you ought to consider what a company’s ever-increasing expenses will cost you when choosing the right ITAD vendor for your project.
The news is filled with stories of industry giants who came crashing down after failing to meet revenue expectations; all too often their path to defeat is marked with increased costs on customers’ end to try and offset their inevitable failure. Make sure to do your due diligence and choose a company who isn’t overcharging you simply to pay for their overhead. Quality service comes with a price tag, yes, but out here in the free market that price tag ought to make sense. Look for an ITAD vendor who is transparent and able to work with your budget.
The Attention You Deserve
Customer service is one of the first things to suffer in the pursuit of “bigger is better” business models. Sometimes it is sacrificed altogether. In the pursuit of expansion, too many companies forget the very thing that got them to where they are: you.
But what is customer service? In a world where the unsmiling kid who takes your meal order is said to be working in the customer service industry, it may be that the words no longer hold any real meaning for you. Well, quite literally, customer service is the action of helping or doing work for the person or organization buying goods or services from your company. But many people who work in customer service are anything but helpful, and too many don’t seem interested in working for you at all.
The bigger a company gets, the more employees it requires to operate. When a quota must be met for hiring employees, too often the people who get the job are simply the ones who show up. This is why that kid taking your meal order doesn’t seem to care too much about the quality of your experience. His employer needed to fill that position, and he showed up to fill it, and you the customer are stuck accepting his lousy attitude or taking your business elsewhere. But who has time to look elsewhere when you’ve already spent so long waiting in line?
That’s why when you’re choosing the right ITAD vendor for your business, you should consider the employees you will actually be working with as you move through a project’s various stages. Are the folks who answer the phones helpful and enthusiastic? What about the account managers and the billing department? Do they ask you about your expectations and get back to you in a timely manner? Do they really listen to what you’re saying? Or do you get the impression that they’re just collecting a paycheck and not particularly concerned with your needs and expectations?
Some of the larger companies will tell you that they are the best simply because they are the biggest, but the truth is that you deserve more than that. Being big might be good for them, but it will take more than size to win your business. You have a right to explore your options and to demand a level of customer service that helps you sleep better at night. After all, when it comes to entrusting your business’s data and assets with an ITAD vendor, it’s not unreasonable at all to look for a company whose employees make you a priority.
Following the Leader
The values and goals of a workforce are a reflection of the vision of its leadership. The ones at the top set the tone of how business gets done and provide precedent for better or for worse. Unfortunately, with the “bigger is better” mindset, that precedent is too often for the worse.
While delegation is one of the keys to successful leadership, all too often a customer can get the feeling that he or she doesn’t matter to the people who really count. The people who really call the shots and dictate procedural protocol are the ones with the real power to address a customer’s concerns, and yet in so many large companies, these people never come into contact with the customers whose business they rely on to survive. The bigger a company gets, the more leadership tends to lead from afar.
When choosing an ITAD vendor for your electronics recycling and asset management needs, why not look for a company with visibly active leadership? The customer service reps and the account managers will likely be able to handle your every need, but wouldn’t it be nice to know you can reach the CEO or the president if need be? A CEO who will actually take your call or respond to your email is truly something to talk about in a business culture built on the idea of call screening. “I can send you to his voice mail,” you’ve undoubtedly heard the operator say a million times, but how often have you actually heard the voice of the person who runs the entire organization?
Putting it All Together
At this point, you know what to look for when choosing an ITAD vendor to manage the recycling and disposal of your electronic assets. You know that while it’s tempting to go with a company simply because they’re “big,” in reality it’s better to look for a company who meets the following criteria:
- Custom solutions (with pricing tailored to fit your project’s budget) are preferred over cookie cutter packages that ignore your business’s unique ITAD needs. Choose an ITAD vendor that takes the time to get to know you, who seeks to understand and meet your expectations.
- Transparency and accountability are essential for any relationship, including the one between you and your ITAD vendor. Look for a company that provides easily accessible reporting and a pricing structure that best suits the needs of your business.
- Customer service is about more than just taking your order: it’s about a commitment to your best interests, combined with consistent attention to detail. When choosing an ITAD vendor to handle the management and disposal of your assets, do like you would with any other relationship and go with the one that treats you how you want to be treated.
- Approachable, active leaders are few and far between, so if you find yourself doing business with a company whose leaders are willing to talk with you one-on-one to gain your business and ease your concerns, you should give that company a chance to prove themselves. The ideal ITAD vendor is one whose leaders take the time to meet with you, who actually take your calls and return your emails.
A Solution to Your ITAD Needs
Ken and Barb Ehresman have been in the electronics recycling and ITAD industry for over 15 years (and the technology industry since the early 90s). A husband and wife power couple–she’s the CEO, he’s the COO–Ken and Barb are the hands-on owners of the R2-certified Advanced Technology Recycling (ATR).
ATR is an industry leader in the ITAD market, setting trends and upping expectations not by attempting to be the biggest, but instead by insisting on being the best. ATR is a nationwide company with 8 certified facilities and an entire fleet of trucks ready to tackle any job of any size. ATR is an organization with experience in all industries, from state and federal government, to Fortune 50 businesses. ATR is involved in all aspects of the ITAD industry, from recycling and disposal and guaranteed secure destruction, to the recovery of commodities and the remarketing of assets.
ATR employs a dedicated Client Experience Team, with multiple regional Account Managers and national Business Development Managers led by their Director and longtime industry veteran, Ray Magee. “ATR has been in this business for a while now,” says Magee, “and while we’ve certainly grown a good bit since the days when Ken and Barb first got into this business, we haven’t gotten so big that we’ve lost sight of what matters most: our clients.”
Not only are Ken and Barb known for meeting with prospective and current clients on a regular basis, they also meet weekly with the Client Experience Team (as well as the various managers) to make sure that everyone is still on the same page, which includes adhering to the highest industry standards and always keeping our diverse client base the top priority. Even on the floors of our warehouses, where our workers sort and process your assets, you will often see Ken or Barb walking around, checking in with their team and making sure things are running smoothly and efficiently.
When you choose to do business with ATR, a dedicated Account Manager or Business Development Manager will work with you to ensure that your needs and goals are clearly outlined and that you are kept involved and informed throughout the entire process. We at ATR know that our success is completely dependent on your success, and we work hard to make sure you’re happy. Call us today at 877-781-7779 or visit our website at www.atrecyle.com to see how ATR’s personal touch can meet and exceed all of your ITAD expectations.