Will video surveys ever replace face to face surveys?

Video surveying is gaining in popularity in the removals and relocation industry just lately.

There are dozens of companies in the UK alone already using video for some or all of their surveys. And more trialling the technology and looking to go live soon.

Plus there are the international relocation firms based in the US, mainland Europe or Asia with operations in Britain who are also starting to see the potential of video surveys.

But, despite all this, some companies are hesitant to try it. Usually, they say something like:

“Video surveys aren’t going to replace face to face surveys though, are they?”

But this is based on a misunderstanding about what video surveys are for and what the real benefits are.

How video surveys work

Video surveying is a way of carrying out surveys over a live video link. The surveyor uses their laptop to call the customer on their smartphone.

When the customer answers the call, it opens a video screen on their phone. They can see the surveyor in the bottom right of the screen, so they get a face-to-face connection. That gives surveyors the ability to build a personal rapport.

Then the surveyor directs the customer around their property, asking them questions about what’s being moved, where it’s being moved, and so on. Those tricky areas like kitchen cupboards and bedroom wardrobes become a breeze, because the surveyor can get them to open these up to see what’s inside and get an accurate idea of the volume inside.

More convenience all round

This is easy and convenient for surveyors and customers. It’s quick to connect. Surveyors can carry out more surveys in a day, increasing their chance of closing more jobs.

Plus, for busy customers it’s a real boon. They no longer have to wait around all day for a surveyor to come to their property. Now they just have to wait for the call. Instead of taking hours out of their life waiting around, they only have to give up the 20 minutes or so that the survey actually takes.

That’s a great time saver. And for employees at large corporates, it’s increasingly essential, since it’s becoming harder and harder for them to get time off work for physical surveys.

The real benefits of video surveying for removal firms

But the ability to offer greater choice and convenience with video surveys is just the tip of the iceberg for removal firms.

The real benefits go much, much deeper.

And that’s because video surveys are not designed to replace physical, face-to-face surveys.

Quite the contrary: they’re designed to complement them. Here’s what I mean:

Any removal or relocation company wants to use face-to-face surveys for their highest value moves. In that case, using video only makes sense where the company doesn’t have enough capacity to carry out those surveys face-to-face. And there’s more.

Because removal companies can’t always control the quality of inbound leads, they often end up surveying small moves. In the case of relocation firms with corporate clients, corporate moves are increasingly moving towards smaller volumes – one or two rooms’ worth of belongings at the most.

“Video is a way for us to do stuff smarter”

In cases like this, it makes perfect sense to use video for those moves. Companies can use video for the lower volumes, freeing up the time for surveyors to do face-to-face surveys for higher value and higher volume moves.

So video is a way of being more efficient – NOT replacing face-to-face surveys. Much less putting surveyors out of jobs.

Mike Bentley from Gerson Relocation put it best: “Video is a way for us to do stuff smarter.”

Grant Hodgkins from Pearson agreed, saying: “Especially at this time of year, anything that can reduce time is a big bonus, as we’re getting around 5,000-6,000 enquiries per month.”

And, as Louis Spies from White and Company made clear: “We haven’t gone and sacked all our surveyors. We won’t use video for all our surveys, obviously…. Now, video is a way for us to do surveys quickly when you can’t really get a surveyor to it.”

To use the old cliché – video surveys are a way to work smarter, not harder. And the removal companies that understand this are well placed to close more jobs, win more large accounts and increase margins.

And that’s a win-win-win for all concerned.

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