First let me start by introducing myself, my name is John O Connor and I am CEO and co-founder of Kollect. Today I’ll be giving you a little insight into how the Kollect culture of always going over and above for customers came to be. Of course, it’s very important in business to look ahead but we worked hard to get where we are and understanding where we came from helps us move forward in the right way.
So, to begin it was just me and the other founders Robbie Skuse and John Heagarty. That was way back in December 2015 and it was an exciting time, we had a vision to create a business model similar to mytaxi, the on-demand taxi platform, but instead of moving people, Kollect would move waste. We would have three verticals Bin Collections, Junk and Skip Hire. Initially we focused on bin collection and at the end of the first month we had 10 customers. We knew early on that the industry was stacked against us so we had to create our own niche or calling card. The big guys had money and resources and all this corporate firepower that we could not match so we sat back and began to think—what could we bring to the table that none of them could? The answer just came about naturally.
It wasn’t that we set out with this grand plan to outdo competitors in terms of customer service. No, by June 2016 we had a thousand customers and the culture really stemmed from us simply appreciating that customer base so much that we would do absolutely anything to look after them. We didn’t want to lose even one. That meant giving out our own phone numbers, answering calls from 7 am to 11 pm every night and we even went out and emptied bins into our cars free of charge if the third-party guys missed them. We would have a meeting each morning to discuss where we fell down yesterday in regards our service and introduce processes to ensure it wouldn’t happen again Nothing, not profit, nor our time, nor wages came before making sure those customers got excellent service and I think it paid off.
From there we knew we had something that nobody else could match, so we kept it going. At first we were like the rest you know, wary about admitting when we messed up but soon after we were like, hey, mistakes are natural it’s facing them that counts. So we took each mishap as an opportunity not only to make it up to the customer but to show them just how far we would go to fix things. People are very understanding they just appreciate that you care enough to solve whatever problem it is they’re facing.
We were very conscious starting out that companies often have aspirational sets of values and mission statements that sound good but don’t really create a culture within the business. That’s why we chose to wait in forming our own, to see how things played out and build on our strengths. By January 2017 we had 10 employees so we decided it was time to formulae our own values and establish what the Kollect way really was in order to guide the company in the right direction as it grew. We now needed a solid foundation from which to build.
The founders, John, Robbie and I, all went away together with the sole task of putting down in plain words what the Kollect mission and values would be. The results are used every single day so, personally, I think it was two days well spent.
Here’s what we came up with:
Provide simple ways to get you waste collected and recycled, innovating in customer service and creating customer delight.
Kollect’s Core Values
Exceed Expectations: Deliver Wow through Customer Service.
Be You: Authentic, Positive, with a Can-Do Attitude
Honest: Be Straight Up, Always do right by our Customers.
Responsive: Be Prompt, Always Keeping Customers in the Loop