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What do great connected experiences look like? The Waste Management example

02nd December 2021

Author John Bessey

A Q&A with Waste Management’s Darryl Michaux on the importance of getting closer to customers and transforming the customer experience.

A month or so back, I shared my thoughts on why experience transformation is so important for New Zealand organisations – and never more so than right now. Following on from those reflections, I wanted to look at what great connected experiences look like in action, and share insights from a customer who is deeply involved in an important and ongoing experience transformation journey.

So, to set the scene, when it comes to organisations creating true connected experiences, what does great look like?

When I think about what great connected experiences look like in real life, I often refer back to this book: Leading Digital – Turning Technology into Business Transformation.

What Leading Digital shows is that the organisations that are true digital leaders have very good digital capability to drive the transformation required, but they are also able to lead the change needed. Where you see organisations being really successful is where they have invested in both the leadership of that change and the capability they need to drive that change. And it’s always a journey. No one organisation has done it; they are always doing it. It’s always ongoing.

In his insightful piece published here last week, our Experience Consultancy Practice Lead Richard Hollingum reflected on what organisations need to do to bring together human creativity and the power of technology to create meaningful connected experiences that allow organisations to compete and stay relevant in this age of transformational change.

He says that, as organisations in a time of great and continuous change:

How we think, how we connect, how we challenge, how we create – and how we create value – and how we make a difference as sustainable and meaningful entities in this new world will become the most powerful way in which we can define and differentiate ourselves.

The possibilities are boundless, but we believe that an organisation’s ability to innovate isn’t just about technology, Richard says. It’s about creating seamless connected experiences that allow us to connect people with each other; and it’s about connecting technology with powerful ideas and insightful perspectives on human moments to create highly relevant ways to connect.


Creating great connected experiences: The Waste Management example

When I look specifically at great examples of connected experiences in New Zealand, I can think of a number of organisations that I think are doing great things.

Waste Management is one great example of an organisation committed to transforming customer experience, constantly broadening and building upon their experience transformation journey in a number of ways – all with the goal of making things easier and better for their customers. If you’re not already a Waste Management customer, I encourage you to visit the website, enter your address and see just how easy it is to do business with them – it’s a real game-changer.

With Waste Management’s new Optimizely digital experience platform recently launched, we talked to Darryl Michaux, Waste Management’s Customer and Digital Delivery Manager about Waste Management’s experience transformation journey so far, and how they’re creating connected experiences for their customers and team.

Echoing Richard’s observation about technology being just one part of the equation within a much wider set of considerations, Waste Management saw an opportunity to step back from a technology-driven conversation, taking a holistic approach to how they connect with their customers and conduct their commerce to really transform the experience.

Here are some highlights from our conversation with Darryl, and you can read the full Waste Management case study here.


Tell us about your move to your new digital experience platform – what were you looking to achieve in creating connected and more engaging experiences for your customers?

We wanted to move to a new platform that offered us a lot more flexibility so we could operate at speed and do more things, more quickly. But we didn’t want the project to just be a technology project where we moved from an old system to a new system without being clear on what we wanted to achieve for our customers.

So we took the opportunity to start with a blank page, and worked with Davanti to define our vision and goals and understand our customer needs. We knew that our overall goal was to understand the problems that our customers are trying to solve and make it easy for our customers to do business with us. Our mantra in everything was: Make it easy.

For us, it’s all about adding value for our customer and creating greater engagement, always asking: What is the value I can add for you as a customer?


Tell us a bit more about your focus on customer experience through your recent CMS replatforming programme.

Our customers have an expectation of the level of service and sophistication we should be operating with as a service provider. They also expect that we will get better and better and won’t stand still. And they compare us to other service providers – like My Food Bag or TradeMe – that they interact with on a day-to-day basis.

With our new digital experience platform in place, we’re now in a position where we can engage and communicate better, and it’s our goal to exceed that expectation and to wow our customers. If they can do something on our website and go, That’s better than I expected – that’s what we’re looking to achieve. We’re not quite at that point, but we’re certainly now on the path to being able to achieve that.

We’re also one step closer to being able to deliver a real omnichannel experience – where our customers will have a consistently good experience through any channel – whether they are on our website, interacting through the chatbot, over the phone or through the call centre. We’re in a good place now to move that forward.

We’re also on a journey to provide greater customisation and personalisation based on our customers’ specific needs, and with our new CMS we’re in a good place to take those steps and keep getting better.

Working with Davanti through our digital customer experience journey so far, through that experience we’ve become more customer focused in everything we do. We know that listening to our customers is the right way for us to prioritise our focus in terms of what we deliver next. This is a discipline and a mindset we’re committed to and – looking to what comes next – we want our roadmap of new features and enhancements to be driven by what our customers tell us they want, rather than what we think they might want.

We’re super excited about it. It doesn’t stop here. It’s about getting better and better. Add more value, quickly – that’s what we want to do.


You can find out more about Waste Management’s customer experience transformation journey here:



Related reading:

Making the difference we need through experience transformation

Things will never be this slow again – competing in the age of transformative change