Trash Pickup Co Sees High Return

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NEW YORK--As the big users on the block measure telemarketing return on investment in terms of hundreds of thousands of hours on the phone, who is to say that the small guy can't strut its stuff with a high return, be it on a small scale? Cumberland Waste Service Inc., Shippensburg, PA, is one such company that saw its conversion rate of sign-ons as compared to calls jump above the industry average of 3-4 percent to 9.87 percent.

The new company is gearing up to penetrate a competitor's marketing niche: rural residents who are currently paying top dollar for trash pickup.

Telemarketing was thought to be the most effective and cost-efficient direct marketing method to reach these customers, who should be amenable to switching service if it means substantial cost savings, according to Tim Grove, vice president of the company.

Only 50 hours were needed initially to test the effectiveness of the campaign. It was a small campaign by any means, but TeleMart Institute of Marketing was willing to take it on. The Collingdale, PA, company serves small-size companies of the teleservices industry with a maximum potential of 200 seats.

"We do the little jobs big guys don't want." said Douglas Wright, president. Often larger size vendors like DialAmerica will refer jobs to the company.

About 3,000 to 4,000 names were collected for the test. TeleMart needed only two to four telemarketers to work on the campaign, calling weekday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The script informs potential customers of the company's expansion of service into their area and the substantial savings to their pocketbook a switch of companies would afford.

About 4,000 customer sign-ons in south and central Pennsylvania are needed. Offering a far lower price than the competitor -- $10 compared to $50-$60 -- and a complementary 96-gallon rollout cart makes the offer appealing, said Grove.

"I am going with the latest way of picking up garbage," said Grove. His fully automated truck only needs one worker. The cost per truck, 15 to 20 percent more than a standard garbage truck, is affordable because of the fewer employees he has to hire.

Grove currently has signed on for 100 more hours of telemarketing in selected areas.

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