Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue Cart

There has been discussion in the media because of the cost of The City of Calgary’s Blue Cart marketing and education campaign.

But according to The City’s communications chief, this one-time expense will save taxpayers money in the long term.

The City budgeted $500,000 to educate Calgarians about the recycling program that picked up its first blue carts on April 21 in the city’s Southwest.

Cindy Pickett, The City’s Director of Communications, said the initial marketing campaign saved tremendous stress and cost to The City’s customer service 3-1-1 call centre.

“Our initial research showed that when compared with other municipalities that launched similar campaigns, we could expect up to 30,000 calls in the month of the blue cart’s launch,” said Pickett. “Instead, because of our educational efforts, we’ve received about one-tenth of that number which is saving a substantial cost and maintaining great service delivery.”

Paula Magdich, program leader for The City’s Blue Cart Program, said the one-time cost to educate and inform customers is necessary to ensure everyone is on the same page when the program launches.

“This is a brand new program and we have heard from other cities that communication and public education is absolutely critical,” she said.

The first billings will appear on utility statements for southwest residents starting on April 24 while the rest of the program will be rolled out city-wide over the next three months.

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