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  • Dear Readers!

    “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past but by the responsibility for our future.” This piece of wisdom was uttered by the great Irish author George Bernard Shaw and it would certainly appear to be true looking at the challenges that humans are having to face today: the need to protect the environment and prevent climate change, to supply sufficient quantities of food and raw materials but to conserve our planet’s natural resources at the same time. Taking on responsibility for the future means nothing less than acting and doing business in a responsible way today so that future generations have a world that they are able to live in. Being a family-run company that is committed to sustainability in each and every sector it operates in, this is exactly what we intend to do. We have, therefore, added a new slogan to reflect this mission:
    From now on, the REMONDIS logo will appear together with the strapline ‘Working for the future’. This is not some empty promise: every day, the 30,000+ people working for REMONDIS prove this is the case by collecting, sorting and processing recyclables, by ensuring our soils are clean and full of nutrients, by supplying water and treating wastewater, by generating sustainable biogas and energy and by carrying out joint public-private sector work to keep cities clean and roads safe. REMONDIS is, therefore, working for the future right now so that our children and their descendants have urban areas and indeed a planet that are worth living in. The present gives us the opportunity to change – and change is definitely what is needed if we wish to shape the future.

    One example in the Netherlands clearly shows that our neighbours are also thinking of the future. When a Dutch municipal company sells all its commercial activities to REMONDIS, it is certainly worth asking why they decided to do this. In an interview with REMONDIS aktuell, ROVA managing director Hans Groenhuis explains how European public procurement law determines whether a company can be awarded an “in-house contract” and why it is advisable for local authorities throughout Europe to think about giving up their commercial activities altogether.

    Just how satisfied are our public sector customers and what can REMONDIS do to further improve the way it supports local authorities to provide public services? We wanted to hear details here and so we asked them. The results of the customer survey, which was carried out by an independent institute on behalf of REMONDIS, are both encouraging and an incentive at the same time. It is certainly good news when not only our regular customers express their great satisfaction with the company but also the overwhelming majority of our past customers who could well imagine working together with REMONDIS again in the future. We will not, however, be sitting back on our laurels. There is always room for improvement when it comes to serving local inhabitants. REMONDIS will be doing everything in its power to optimise its portfolio and to provide both its contractual partners and those receiving its services with the best possible solutions at fair and favourable conditions. Working for people. Working for the future. 

    I hope you enjoy reading this edition of REMONDIS aktuell.
    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf 

Quality is crucial

  • Sometimes it can be really easy: businesses wishing to find out how happy their customers are with their services can simply ask them. Things are a bit more complicated, however, when it comes to surveying local authorities as they are not the ones actually being served even though they are the customer. The services are provided directly to the local inhabitants. Moreover, high levels of satisfaction do not automatically lead to customer loyalty, as European public procurement law is not interested in quality and long-term business relationships between customers and their service providers. Despite this fact, the quality of the work is crucial. If businesses wish to improve their services and products, they need to know what their customers think about them. REMONDIS, therefore, had an independent institute carry out a survey to answer this question.

A comprehensive range of activities

  • REMONDIS provides a wide range of so-called “public services” on behalf of its municipal customers. Even if the term “public services” has been overused by politicians, these are basically services which aim to make life easier for local inhabitants or indeed make their life possible in the first place. This includes more obvious services such as collecting waste to promote public health and hygiene as well as water supply and wastewater treatment, road cleaning and winter services, running recycling centres and managing waste and recyclables from public institutions such as hospitals, kindergartens and schools. When it comes to serving the public, customers expect the highest levels of quality and low prices – especially from the private sector. All the more reason, therefore, for having an independent and objective institute find out how satisfied the local authorities are with the services so that further improvements can be made that are based on solid facts.

Survey carried out by letter and by phone

  • This spring, REMONDIS commissioned the Hamburg-based firm, Institut Wolff, to carry out a scientifically based survey of its municipal customers to question them about topics such as brand awareness, level of satisfaction with the services provided, image and potential areas for improvement. The people contacted at the German local authorities included mayors, departmental heads and managing directors of municipal companies.

    It is essential that objective and independent surveys are carried out to find out about levels of satisfaction so that future services can be further improved.

    In order for the results to be as objective as possible, not only the company’s current customers were contacted but also a number of former and potential future customers. To begin with, they were sent a letter informing them that a survey was about to begin. Former and potential future customers were contacted directly by Institut Wolff in order not to distort the results as far as brand awareness and image were concerned. Current and potential customers were given the choice of answering the questions in writing or on the phone; all former customers were contacted by phone as this enabled the institute to elicit more detailed answers.

Both praise and room for improvement

  • The results of the survey were most certainly positive. The most obvious area that needs to be improved is complaint management which is particularly affected by weather conditions and leads to increased numbers of complaints in certain seasons. The individual results of the survey are as follows:

    When it comes to brand awareness, REMONDIS already has an excellent position in Germany. More than 95% of the public sector employees questioned knew the company’s name. 

    At the same time, REMONDIS has a very positive image among its municipal customers. They are not only aware of the company’s merits such as “family-run business”, “reliability” and “partnership”, they really appreciate them and see the company as being a trustworthy partner.

    The services provided by both the workers and by the contact people were rated by the customers to be ‘good’ or even ‘very good’ – especially in the categories “reliability” and “expertise” which were the most important criteria for the customers.

    REMONDIS’ former customers also rated its services to be “good”. This shows that the main reason for awarding follow-up contracts to others was the public procurement law rather than because they were dissatisfied with their private sector partner.

    There is room for improvement in the area of complaint management across all regions of the country. Most noticeable here was the seasonal increase in complaints about problems on the roads due to snow and ice caused by the weather and staff being off sick. REMONDIS will be doing everything in its power to optimise its complaint management system to prevent such problems in the future.

Motivation for the future

  • The satisfaction index achieved by REMONDIS, namely 81 out of a possible 100 points, reflects the high levels of satisfaction among its municipal customers and partners. At the same time, the results of the survey will spur REMONDIS on to do everything conceivable to provide the local authorities – as its customer – and the local inhabitants – as the people actually receiving its services – with the best possible quality of service in a friendly and competent manner and at fair prices.

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