When I started in the moving industry in the waning years of the 20th century, it was still very much an analog industry. Google was in its infancy. Amazon sold books, and only books. Mark Zuckerberg was in high school. Phones were dumb, and apps didn’t exist. Yelp wasn’t a thing, so customers had to find us through Yellow Pages and word of mouth.
That’s not to say we were complete luddites. Thick, boxy computer monitors and CPUs occupied each desk in the sales office. The dispatch office printed sales receipts to create schedules. We only occasionally overbooked.
While the essence of the moving process has barely changed – we still use trucks, boxes, and muscle – most movers have embraced technology. Most are on social media. Yelp and other review sites have made it more difficult to hide unethical business practices, which is good, because the moving industry is largely unregulated. That’s not to say review sites don’t have their problems; they are riddled with fake reviews, and people are more likely to complain than to praise, but still, there is some accountability.
The biggest changes, though, come before and after the move. New apps and software make estimating easier and more accurate than ever. Scheduling software virtually eliminates overbooking. Comprehensive and detailed databases make customer service a breeze.
With technology, though, can come problems. People reserve moves with no personal interaction whatsoever. Email and virtual chat has replaced phones and in many cases, in person visits. Many movers have lost all sense of community.
At Fairprice Movers, we’ve embraced technology, but we have also doubled down on community involvement. We live among our customers. It’s hard to hide when we shop at the same stores, workout at the same gyms, and eat at the same restaurants. We love the ways technology has made our industry better, but we will never let it take the place of actual customer service.
As for future technologies, your guess may be as good as ours, but there will be a day when movers run self-driving trucks, and virtual reality will give customers a more interactive estimating experience. Robots will likely play some roles, but it’s doubtful there will ever be a replacement for good, old-fashioned man (and woman) power.
For now, though, the Fairprice family wishes you and your family a wonderful New Year and New Decade.
Featured image via NeedPix.