A day in the life of a commercial waste customer service advisor
What’s it really like working for Westminster City Council Commercial Waste Services?
Our last staff blog featured Tomasz from our waste collection team – so this time we thought we would talk to one of our Customer Service Advisors, Adele, who spends a lot of her day helping new and existing customers.
Q: Adele, tell us first how you came to work in the Westminster City Council team at Veolia?
A: A friend of mine was working here, and she recommended that I take a look at a vacancy that had come up. The rest, as they say, is history.
Q: Could you tell us what are your key responsibilities?
A: The majority of the day is spent answering the customer service phone lines and liaising with customers. Some of the most common tasks that we assist with are:
- Ordering waste bags
- Handling new business enquiries and opening new accounts
- Arranging bulky waste collections
- Handling and uploading Waste Transfer Notes
- Making sure collections go smoothly and rearranging collections should there be any issues.
As part of the role, I am also liaising with the team of representatives for each area in the Westminster area to arrange calls and visits. Where necessary, I may also be liaising with Westminster City Council staff if they need to be involved in any issues reported to us.
Q: For those who have never visited the Customer Support Desk can you describe the office environment that you work in?
A: We have an open office environment so that all of the Westminster City Council team sits in the same area. In all, there are 3 Veolia teams here, so there can be approximately 20 people in the office at any one time.
The office is very friendly and comfortable, but our real bonus is the magnificent view! We are very lucky that the office we are located in is at the top of a building that looks out over London. We are on the south bank near Vauxhall Station, so transport routes are excellent too.
Q: What are the most common questions or enquiries that you get?
Two of the most frequent questions is ‘How do I get rid of Bulky Items?’ and “When is my Waste Transfer Note due?”.
Just to explain, an example of a bulky item enquiry would be a businesses moving or renovating and need old furniture and equipment taken away. We also will organise bulky waste collections for landlords clearing furniture from their flats and houses.
Waste Transfer Notes are issued annually to organisations that detail the transfer of waste from producer to the collector. Customers need to ensure that every load of waste passed to others (in their case to Westminster City Council) is covered by a Waste Transfer Note (WTN). In this way, there is a clear audit trail from when the waste is produced until it goes to our local energy recovery plants of or gets recycled.
Other frequent topics are:
- Prices for all the different kinds of waste and recycling bags
- What are my collection times?
- Enquiries for obtaining different kinds of bins
- What items can we recycle?
Take a look at our handy infographic, showing you where different types of waste belong
Q: What do you enjoy most about the role?
A: First of all would be the people I work with – we have a great team. Second, would be that there is always room for progression in the role. Third, would be the rewarding feeling of helping customers with their questions and solving any issues they have.
Q: From all your conversations with prospects and customers what would you say are the top 3 reasons that organisations use Westminster City Council’s Commercial Waste Services?
A: The impression I get is that, first of all, we have a really good reputation and are seen as very reliable, which is really good to know. Increasingly, I would say that the next reason is our approach to recycling and commitment to dispose of waste in the most effective way possible. People appear to be much more environmentally aware and so want to know what happens to the waste and recycling collected. Many businesses are worried their waste is dumped abroad.
Finally, I think organisations want the reassurance of knowing they are having their waste and recycling collected in a completely legal manner – and that includes holding a valid Waste Transfer Note.
Q: Do you have a favourite customer?
A: I do. My personal favourite is known in the team as “Mister Lasagna”. He is a really funny character and is always cheerful and patient.
Q: What about any strange requests that you have had to handle?
A: Fortunately we don’t get too many – but I’m afraid they all seem to be around the departed – mainly dead animals!
One request we received was to ask if we could remove two dead cats and a goat from the street. Another was when a pensioner had passed away leaving six dead cats in the freezer. We were able to help and collected them most professionally, recognising this was a sensitive subject!
Finally, I did once have a request to remove a deceased person! I had to advise the resident that she had called the wrong number and quickly helped her find out who to call.
If you ever have any questions, our extremely helpful customer service team will be more than happy to assist you.
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