Video surveys are increasingly part of removal companies’ repertoire, with at least two thirds of UK relocation companies interested to try them. But, like with any shiny new tech tool, it’s no silver bullet – it’s what you make of it that really matters.

To learn more about where video fits in as part of removal companies’ long-term planning, I’ve made a short trip out of the office to Soho’s famous Dog and Duck. Here, I’ll be talking with our Training and Implementation Manager Gerrard Halsey.

Gerrard celebrates his one-year anniversary with us this week, having started in January 2018, and we’re delighted to have him. He is renowned for his quality and enthusiasm for the industry, with over 23 years of relocation & removals experience, having worked at some of the biggest names, including 14 years at Crown Relocations in the UK & Australia. Later, he implemented video surveying for Crown’s UK business, with outstanding results. He draws on his own direct experiences as a Video Surveyor, and a deep understanding of Operations, Sales and Management, to support our client base in their video-surveying endeavors.

We converge on the Dog and Duck around midday. Like a good removals company, this place is at the intersection of old and new. Decked with period tiles and wood paneling, it describes itself as ‘a traditional pub of unique character’. But while, back in the day, it was frequented by the likes of John Constable, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and George Orwell, in 2019 it’s more of a hangout for smartphone-touting hipsters and trilby-wearers.

Anyway, let’s take a seat.

So… what’s all the fuss with video surveys?

‘Things have been done the old way for so long, and video is still the new way of doings things, which is very exciting as the opportunities are colossal,’ explains Gerrard.

‘The old way of doing things was to put on your coat, fire up your car and drive countless miles and hours to a customer’s home in the middle of the day. And this is the worst part, they might not even go with you for their move,’ he continues.

‘Or, we have a new way of getting things done using Video Surveying. Video cuts out all those fuel costs, wasted hours and carbon emissions, not to mention offering a more convenient and compelling service for the client.’

Plenty of removal firms don’t even track the personnel and vehicle costs that go into acquiring new business the old way. And there are huge savings to be had here. But potentially more significant still are the time savings.

‘I know from personal experience you can do double the number of surveys you do a day by opting for video,’ Gerrard notes, sipping his cider. ‘That’s twice as many customers moving down your funnel – and who wouldn’t say “yes” to all that extra business?’

So, video surveys are an absolute must for movers looking to scale fast.

And that’s not all: doing things by video means you get survey results more quickly. Gerrard estimates a three-hour turnaround for quotes once everything has been cubed up. This means you can move to close transferees more quickly. In a hyper-competitive market, where home movers receive multiple quotes, being the first over the line can be the key to winning the job.

I can recall booking new business at a faster rate then my competitors were even contacting clients to arrange surveys. Using video, I’ve experienced increases in booking ratios on corporate and private moves from 65% to 80%, irrelevant of move size, together with higher mark-ups than I ever achieved during a 20-year career on the road performing physical surveys.

Gerrard Halsey, Training and Implementation Manager at buzzsurvey

Video Surveys for International Moves

Cost reduction, time saved, more space to quote, higher conversion rates, high profitability – these are a few of the operational benefits of Video Surveying. And these are certainly enough to make any serious removal professional’s ears prick up. And they are of course amplified for international moves.

‘Doing things by video is much better than paying to send someone halfway round the world, so to speak,’ Gerrard points out.

‘Long gone are the days where managed 3rd-country moving requires lengthy procedures that slow a corporate international move down. For example, a Video Survey can be done from the UK for a client in Singapore moving to New York, which allows the UK mover to maintain control, dramatically speeding up the process – satisfying their client further still, especially for quick-turnaround moves.’

‘I remember an example well. I was on annual leave and, despite this, jumped in the seat to perform a Video Survey for an account whose employee was moving from Melbourne to Chicago, all within a week! The transferee and corporate were astonished and delighted in equal measure at our speed and accuracy – and the move was secured by the next day.’

But the industry needs to move its mindset away from using Video Survey only for opportunities that are far afield. Mrs Smith down the road is just as good a candidate for video survey given all the potential customer-side benefits… Let’s have a look at some of these now.

 

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Video Is Not All About Price – It’s About the Customer Experience

It’s easy to see video survey solely in terms of its operational benefits – as a way to run a more efficient removals company. But it’s also about bigger shifts in consumer trends, which extend far beyond removals alone. Namely, the Internet.

The Internet has completely changed the game for all B2C industries. From shopping, package holidays and takeaways to banking, insurance and booking a taxi, customers’ lives are permeated with mobile tech – putting choice, convenience and transparency at customers’ fingertips. And moving house isn’t any different. Like it or not, today’s transferees want a slicker moving experience. One that’s more flexible. 24/7. On demand. And video surveys can offer just this.

‘Video surveys can be done at a time that’s convenient for the transferee, including in the evening and at weekends, so they’re no longer held to the 9-5 working day of physical surveyors,’ explains Gerrard. ‘Also, video surveys don’t take long to carry out – usually no more than 30 minutes.’

Greater convenience and faster quotes are two of the things home movers value the most. To these we would add the fact that video surveys are un-intrusive – you no longer need to have a surveyor physically enter your property. Moving home is a stressful, busy time, so anything we can do at this point to make things easier – or simply less emotionally draining – will be greatly appreciated.

And any transferee can enjoy these benefits too – all they need is a smartphone and an Internet connection. ‘There’s a misconception that video surveys are only for tech-minded or younger customers,’ comments Gerrard. ‘Having a video survey is as simple as opening your WhatsApp or sending a text – things everybody does on a daily basis.’

Occasionally, customers may worry that video surveys are “lighter” than having a physical surveyor in their home. However, Gerrard knows he’s actually had fewer inaccuracies – not more – in his time using video:

‘The video being recorded allows for multiple viewing (if required), pause and playback. And anything that we miss, such as precise measurements, can be added later via buzzsurvey’s upload feature.’

Video software helps unburden surveyors in other ways too. ‘Our inventory deck is built by industry experts with accurate volumes for all common household items,’ explains Gerrard.

‘These volumes can also be amended if required, providing critical evidence that protects movers’ margins and operations in the event of “blow-outs” or additional items being added. We’ve all been there, where shipping overflows FOC due to our inability to protect ourselves fully. This, thankfully, is no longer the case.’

Knowing that the survey is recorded takes a weight of surveyors’ shoulders too. It lets them focus on greater rapport-building with the customer – it’s the surveying equivalent of meeting a load of new people but not having to worry about remembering their names.

‘With the right behavioral characteristics and core competencies, you can build rapport, sell your company, and control and lead the client for an accurate assessment – creating all those important expectations and promises,’ expands Gerrard.

Remember, the survey isn’t just another job to get done, it’s your best chance to convert the customer. And if your surveying approach combines speed, convenience and superior customer service, those are three very sound reasons for customers to prefer you to the competition.

How do I Make Video Survey Work For My Business?

Great tools are only as great as their application. So, where do you start when it comes to implementing video surveys?

First things first: don’t go in thinking that video surveys are meant to replace physical, face-to-face surveys – see them rather as a complement. The key is to work out exactly how video can help you, to drive adoption and to embrace the change. Everybody’s business is different, so there’s no hard and fast playbook. That said:

‘Any removals or relocation company wants to use face-to-face surveys for their highest-value moves,’ explains Gerrard, working away on a pork scratching. ‘Video lets you create additional capacity and save money on regular moves. The last thing you want when a high-value job comes along is to have all your surveyors out doing small jobs’.

So there’s a balance to be struck between doing volume jobs and doing value jobs. And this balance is becoming more difficult to achieve because of how the removals industry is changing.

For a start, we’re seeing a higher volume of smaller moves, especially within corporate relocation. These don’t just threaten margins, they also swamp movers’ resources – meaning that higher-value jobs can suffer as a result. However, by being smart in how they combine face-to-face and video surveying, removal companies will ensure that they move with our very changing times – and don’t get left behind.

What should I look for in my video-survey provider?

So, you’ve worked out how video surveys can be a welcome addition to your arsenal, both from an operational and a customer perspective. But how do you choose the right video partner for you?

It goes without saying that you want a robust, stable and secure product to offer your moving customers – not something that’s going to break halfway through. Ease of use is another important consideration. A complex interface is one thing at the surveyor end but is absolutely unacceptable to moving customers. The more intuitive, the better – and customers are always more comfortable if there’s built-in customer support.

‘Quality is the most important thing beyond revenue, beyond profit – it’s all about exceeding expectations,’ comments Gerrard. ‘But your video-survey partner can be much more than just a tool provider. At buzzsurvey, we offer video surveying as an end-to-end service, which allows us to provide a lot more value to movers’.

As we’ve said, we believe that video survey tech is only as good as its implementation. And this is one of the main reasons why buzzsurvey has its own in-house video-survey pioneer and trainer – Gerrard – who works tirelessly to help moving companies with video survey, from implementation and to set-up, sharing best practices aplenty from his own track record of success .

buzzsurvey doesn’t just provide a piece of software, we are committed to making movers more successful through technology. And, with someone of Gerrard’s experience at the helm of our training and customer support, we’re in a unique position to work with you consultatively and support you through the process.

buzzsurvey: SaaS versus DIY Approach

Numerous buzzsurvey partners now use our software to conduct their own surveys with their own surveyors (DIY option). But this isn’t the only way we can help you.

We have a team of accredited surveyors in house, who are ready to jump on the job for you (SaaS option). And you can of course combine DIY and SaaS approaches, whatever works best for your business. When it comes to surveying-as-a-service, buzzsurvey is all about:

  • Building a rapport with the transferee
  • Exercising control and leadership
  • Ensuring a warm, personalised handover experience from ourselves to the mover

‘At buzzsurvey, we don’t see ourselves merely as an outsourced company that does a survey and verifies someone’s household effects,’ says Gerrard.

‘We go above and beyond to represent not just ourselves but the removals company we’re working for. We want to leave the transferee with an overwhelming preference to move with the company we’re representing. And, last but not lease, we are UK-based, run by seasoned industry experts and talk the language of the removals industry.’

Any final thoughts? ‘The removals industry is notoriously archaic, heavy and operationally focused. People are rigid and stuck in their ways, almost scared of change and resistant to adapting,’ Gerrard concludes, setting his finished pint glass firmly down upon its coaster. ‘What holds back video survey adoption right now is not technology, it’s mindset.’

And there we have it: enough insights to have got through a full pint. Which is plenty for now because it is, after all, lunch hour. Tune in to our next post as we continue our tour around Soho’s eclectic watering holes – and discussion of the many-sided virtues of video-surveying technology.

To get the facts, go to drinkaware.co.uk. And to get your free demo of buzzsurvey today, simply fill in your details below.

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