Meet Kass Goddard who recently celebrated a milestone of 15 years working with Cleanaway. Kass is currently working out of our NSW Erskine Park facility in a customer-facing role she’s incredibly passionate about.
Role: Customer Service Manager.
Motto for life: Be kind, you don’t know what another person is going through unless they tell you. Kindness is free.
Making a sustainable future possible: We don’t need 100 people doing sustainability perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly but trying.
Love at first ‘site’
Kass was only 19 when she joined Cleanaway, having previously worked on a project in the direct satellite broadcast industry in a customer support role. She knew right away from her early experience that she enjoyed interacting with customers and came to Cleanaway looking to build a career in that role.
“I worked at Telstra in Foxtel/AUSTAR tech support assisting customers with setting up and connecting their new equipment to existing equipment as well as routing technicians when over-the-phone support wasn’t enough,” Kass explained about her first job.
“I loved the interaction with customers and that every single call was different. Once the project ended, I was looking for a job that had the same feel to it, with the same skill set. I wanted a career though, not just a job, and Cleanaway was just the place I was looking for.”
When she first joined Cleanaway, Kass was pleasantly surprised at how much customers cared about their waste. “Waste can become VERY emotive. I realised early on that people were concerned not only about disposing waste but where it went after collection, why it wasn’t collected and how often it was collected,” said Kass.
When asked about the most common misconception she’s heard about the waste industry, Kass was passionate in her response, “It’s a myth that we are all cowboys and we just collect everything and take it to landfill. While it’s true that there are rogue players in the industry, Cleanaway 100% believe in our mission to make a sustainable future possible. Everything we do here takes a step towards that. Look at Footprint 2025. It’s all about building prized infrastructure that will help make this future a real possibility by investing in resource recovery and improved diversion.”
For future leaders looking to embrace in role in the management industry, Kass had this advice to give, “Jump in and get into it! It’s an exciting and infectious industry, and once you’re in, you’re in! It’s filled with great people who want the best outcome for the customer, but make sure you join the best, which is Cleanaway of course!”
Pictured: Kass in front of a container return centre in NSW
A day in the life in customer service
In her role as a Customer Service Manager, Kass is energised by the variety in her job. “One minute I could be leading the call centre team, taking a customer escalation or offering advice on customer enquiries, and the next I am speaking with our Regional Manager about supply chains and how we can improve it,” she explained.
“I could be talking to our General Manager David Clancy about energy from waste and what that will mean to our customers. Or I could be writing communications to go out to our customers. Every minute of every day brings an exciting new challenge and an opportunity to better our service to our customers.”
Dealing with negative feedback is part and parcel of being in customer service and Kass makes it a point to always see the positive side of it.
“I think it’s important to remember that every piece of negative feedback offers an opportunity for improvement,” she said. “What I always do is thank the customer for the feedback and for giving us the opportunity to rectify the situation. As I said earlier, waste can become an emotive topic so staying calm and letting the customer get their frustrations out is extremely important.”
On how to ensure a positive customer experience, Kass shared her golden rules: “Make it easy for the customer to do business with us, put the customer first (but not at the cost of safety) and get it right the first time,” she emphasised.
“Where we haven’t been able to get it right, a root-cause analysis is so important so that the customer isn’t impacted in this way again. In a customer contact centre, specifically taking ownership and a good, positive, can-do attitude will almost always ensure a positive customer experience.”
Kass has had her share of challenging situations, which required the whole team to come together to find a resolution. “The Sydney-wide electrical outages last summer resulted in customers needing to dispose of frozen or cold stock from the stores. This is typically done via bulk bins,” she explained.
“It happened on a Saturday evening and presented a challenge in that most of our operational staff were unavailable or had already worked their maximum number of days and hours. We delivered skips bins out to the stores where we could and reached out to our team mates in the NSW Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) for additional drivers. The team at CDS were so accommodating and jumped in our Commercial and Industrial (C&I) trucks to provide reloads and hand loads at stores using our rear lift fleet.”
“We even had an instance of a well overloaded bin where the customer asked us to provide the manual labour to help unload some of the waste into another bin. We provided this service to them by reaching out to our Municipal team. It was such a combined effort across multiple business units to provide service to our major customers that they were extremely grateful for.”
Pictured: Kass and team at the Acknowledgement For Country ceremony in Eastern Creek
It takes a team to tango
Kass is a firm believer in teamwork and considers ‘open communication’ and ‘continuous improvement’ to be the key ingredients of any successful collaboration.
“I encourage my team (and other team members) to come to me with ideas and suggestions for improvement,” she said. “I don’t mind where a good idea comes from. If it can improve our customer’s experience, I am more than happy to have a look at it. If another customer service centre is doing something better than us in NSW, I want to know how they do it and if it is indeed best practice. If it is, then let’s roll it out across the nation and get everyone to the same standard.”
“I am proud of the level of service our team provides to customers every single day. We have a great team and there is not one person across the state who doesn’t put the customer first and live our ‘Think Customer’ principles,” she added.
Pictured: Kass (third from right) and the Cleanaway team at the recent Waste and Resource Recovery Awards (WARR)
Kass shared a recent anecdote about a team mate who went above and beyond for a customer.
“There was a time that a Customer Service Officer (CSO) came into the depot on a Saturday in her own time to let a customer pick up 240L bins for an event being held later that day. We had no drivers available to do the job on a Saturday and the customer could not take delivery on a Friday due to where the event was being held,” she recalled. “The CSO arranged to meet the customer on-site (with approval from the Branch Manager) so they could collect the bins for the event.”
Pictured: Kass and General Manager Solid Waste Services NSW/ACT David Clancy doing their bit for the environment during Clean Up Australia Day
Memorable moments on the job
With 15 years of experience at Cleanaway, it’s not surprising that Kass has had more than one memorable day on the job.
“Oh there are so many! But there was one I’d rather forget – my interview with David Clancy for the NSW Customer Service Manager job. Let’s just say after 12 years without a single interview, I didn’t do so well. Thank goodness for my sheer passion for the job otherwise I’m not sure I had anything else to contribute,” Kass said with a laugh. “Lucky for me, David backed me cause that interview was woeful.”
When asked to reflect on her proudest moment, Kass said, “Taking on a customer service team at Erskine Park and introducing them to performance benchmarks and eventually achieving our Grade of Service goal was one of my proudest days on the job. And, of course, my Star Award nomination for Internal Customer Service Champion.”
Pictured: Kass and Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal at the opening of Cleanaway Erskine Park Transfer Station
“And finally, there’s that morning tea celebrating my 15 years milestone. That was a happy moment I was glad to share with my team and Cleanaway family.”
Pictured: The team celebrated Kass’ 15 years with a Cleanaway cake
On a healthy work-life balance
Outside of work, Kass is a loving mum to her family of four.
“I have a three-and-a-half-year-old little boy Hudson who has my personality and enthusiasm for everything. Unfortunately, he has my clumsiness too, so he keeps me on my toes! We also have an eight-month-old baby girl Paige who is a daddy’s girl and then there’s my hubby Justin.”
“We love being outdoors when we have time and camping is one of our favourite ways to relax and unwind. On a weekend you will usually find us on a picnic somewhere attempting to keep the toddler entertained and burn some of his energy!” Kass said with a smile.
Pictured: Kass and her youngest daughter, Paige
Kass has a lot of love for her Cleanaway family. “Thanks for the ride!” Kass said good-naturedly. “Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey here. There are some very special people in this company whom I am proud to call friends as well as colleagues, they know who they are. I have literally grown up in this place and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Cleanaway.”
“Here’s to 15 more years.”
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