Category Archives: For Business
In today’s digital world, your first interaction with many potential customers will be via email. Do your messages get the response you want? Try these email etiquette tips to impress potential customers and win more business.
Apply basic grammar rules
Non-traditional capitalizations and creative abbreviations (e.g. l8r) may be common in text messages or emails between family and friends, but these composition shortcuts are never appropriate when communicating with potential customers.
Whether you’re trying to schedule an estimate or sending a thank you note post-move, be sure to apply the grammar rules you learned in grade school.
- The first word in a sentence and any proper nouns should be capitalized
- Always use complete sentences
- Start each message with a greeting that addresses the recipient
- End with a professional closing
Stay away from all-caps and don’t assume spell check will catch everything, especially when it comes to client names. Take a moment to proofread your email before you hit send.
Save imagery and bold colors for your advertising
Email today provides a lot of opportunities for creative expression. From new fonts and extensive color palettes to animated GIFs embedded in the message, the sky’s the limit. Unfortunately those enhancements can make your message more difficult to read and may even get it routed to the SPAM folder.
Know when not to use email
The convenience of email makes it a prime communication tool between movers and their customers, especially if you own a smartphone, which enables you to email on-the-go. However, it isn’t always the best communication method and could be costing you business.
Before you start typing, take a moment to consider any communication preferences the potential customer expressed. Anything requiring an immediate response or potentially sensitive information may require a phone call.
Yesterday, the MCR team and a few friends braved the sweltering heat to support our good friends at Move for Hunger at the Chicago Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon and 10k. The MCR team did the 10k (perhaps the 1/2 next year!) Thanks to Move for Hunger for taking care of us before and after the race with a shady tent, drinks, snacks and words of support. It’s awesome to see how much Move for Hunger continues to grow and how many moving companies throughout the country have stepped up to fight hunger. If you’d like to donate, it isn’t too late – check out our fundraising page here.
We connect consumers with companies based on their selected moving needs (see image). This provides an awesome consumer experience, and higher quality leads for the mover.
Movers: update the Moving Services area of your business listing to appear in more search results. Our categories are Full Service, Moving Labor, Packing Services and Portable Storage Containers.
To promote the moving services you offer: Sign in > Account > Edit Business Listing > Moving Services
After updating, you’ll receive leads based on your selected services. For example, if you want labor only leads; you get labor only leads.
Here are a few FAQs from our support team:
Q: I’m currently a Suggested Mover, will updating my Moving Services change the leads I receive?
A: As a Suggested Mover you will be charged for any Suggested Leads regardless of service type. For example, if you select Full Service and Portable Storage Containers; you receive suggested leads of consumers that indicate their looking for Full Service movers and/or Portable Storage Containers.
Q: I have multiple business listings on MCR. Will changes to my ‘Moving Services’ show on all of my listings?
A: Yes – all locations will display the same moving services.
The whole team is running a 10k to support Move for Hunger
We’re in training for the Rock n’ Roll 10k on July 19th as part of Team Move for Hunger. Yes, you read that right. Even our “non-runners” are braving the July heat to run 6 miles in support of this wonderful charity.
If you live in Chicago, come join us! If you don’t, you can still support our team with a donation (with all proceeds going to Move for Hunger).
Support Chicago’s Move for Hunger Team (Donate here)
When you donate $200 to the Chicago Move For Hunger team, we’ll feature you in a special ad unit on MCR from June 15th – July 31st. The ad will include your name and a link to your MCR listing. You’ll get even more brand exposure during the busy summer move season.
To donate, just use this link. We’ll get notified when your donation is received and we’ll reach out to you about your ad.
Not an MCR member?
If you’re not part of MCR, learn more about us here. You can still donate and receive a free ad. Just include your company info and contact info in the donation form notes and we’ll call you to get you all set up.
Now let’s get running!
An important note about our terms
We wanted to call to your attention to our Business Owner Terms which prohibit the re-distribution of MCR leads. MCR is committed to protecting our users’ privacy, letting them choose the movers from whom they want estimates, and providing a transparent and consumer-friendly experience every step of the way.
In simple terms, this means that when you receive a lead from MCR (either paid or unpaid), you may not share it with anyone. Our users expect to hear from the movers in their list and no one else.
Please take a moment to review the section below.
When you Claim your listing on MCR, the leads generated from your listing (whether free or paid) belong to you and to MCR. In order to protect our consumers’ privacy, we prohibit your re-distribution of leads to 3rd parties (ie other moving companies or lead aggregators). Exception: In cases where you cannot service a move for an MCR-generated lead, you may recommend an alternative mover directly to the consumer. You may not pass this consumer’s lead details onto another company without the consumer’s explicit consent. If MCR suspects you are re-selling or re-distributing a lead without the consumer’s explicit permission you may be removed from the site.
Some research says moving counts as one of the top 5 most stressful things you can do. I believe it.
I’d like tell you a story – a story of how I spent 3 years finding a great mover.
First, some background. I moved more than 15 times in my life. Early on, I would move myself. As I acquired more stuff and got a bit older, I hired movers. Every single time I tried to find a mover online, I thought to myself, “wow, moving is the industry the internet forgot about.” Why could I not search movers? Why could I not read verified reviews? Why could I not see photos of movers, or get any info on them at all?
When you search for other things online, reviews, prices, photos, and other great information guides you to an informed decision. I wanted an Amazon, or Orbitz, or Tripadvisor, or Cars.com, or HomeFinder for moving. Heck, I would have settled for a list of licensed movers in my area. Instead, I constantly ran into a blind lead form – one that asked for all of my personal information, without showing me any of the movers that would contact me. You know what happened when I submitted that lead form? I got called by not one, not two, but by SIX movers. Argh!
Making it better
3 years ago, Shannon Cullins, then HomeFinder’s VP of Product, and I decided to change things. We learned everything we could about moving, and decided to build an incredibly trustworthy, consumer friendly service to help consumers find great movers and experience happy moves. We called it MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR for short). Shannon took over as General Manager, and we launched the site in February of 2013. We launched with a few key features to guarantee we focus on helping people find the best movers:
- We verify every review with either a moving receipt (called a Bill of Lading), or a move confirmed by a quality moving company
- We prominently display each mover’s review rating
- We prominently show every mover’s state and federal licensing information, links to their federal complaint history, and any other pertinent government information
- We put caution badges on movers with suspect quality, or fraud complaints
Finding my mover on MovingCompanyReviews
Fast forward to today. I moved last week, and found Olympia Moving through MovingCompanyReviews. Interestingly enough, I chose a different mover than I thought going in. Reading all of their verified reviews swayed me to them initially, and then their fantastic customer service during the quoting process won me over.
I am happy to report that Olympia made my move wonderful. They were, by a wide margin, the BEST movers I have ever used. Their attention to detail stunned me. They wrapped things meticulously, carried things extremely carefully, pointed out existing damage before wrapping or moving anything, and went way above and beyond what I expected. For example, they expertly squeezed an huge armoir into a bedroom by taking some of it apart and putting it back together again. Every other mover who moved that armoir just gave up, or damaged walls trying to shove it in. The Olympia crew took such great care that we had no damage to any items, or any walls, other than a tiny smudge here and there.
Here’s the best part – they estimated 12 hours for the move, and it only took them 8, so we saved a bunch of money versus our quote.
I almost forgot the icing on top – I got a free pizza from MCR by leaving a voice review about my move. Nothing tastes quite as good as a free pizza on move day.
My best move ever
It feels great building something that makes a difference. Moving delivers loads of stress. Having the fantastic movers from Olympia made this move much better and much less stressful than any other time I moved. I’d like to thank the whole MovingCompanyReviews team for their work the last few years, you guys rock.
Planning to move soon? Find your mover and get free estimates at MovingCompanyReviews.com.
Real Estate Agents & Movers – a perfect team
As a unit of HomeFinder.com, we’re always looking for ways to integrate with real estate. This week for our Prototypes initiative, we’re thinking up ways to integrate with HomeFinder’s app, Open Home Pro. As we discussed in this post, Prototypes give us the opportunity to quickly build new ideas and get feedback from our colleagues in the form of a highly competitive contest.
Open Home Pro (OHP) is an app to help agents collect and convert more leads. Rather than use an old fashioned sign-up pad and paper, OHP helps agents collect contact info for visitors to the open house they’re hosting. They use OHP to organize and communicate with their open house leads and convert them to future clients.
Integrating MCR with the most popular open house app on the market
So, how can we leverage the thousands of agents who use OHP and the buyers and sellers they interact with to promote MCR’s best movers?
Here’s our idea:
- OHP agent opts-in to send their sellers helpful emails throughout their selling process
- After an agent indicates that the property has sold, we trigger an email from them to their seller
- The email includes some helpful moving tips and a link to see their recommended movers
- The seller lands on a special MCR page with the agent’s photo, move tips and recommended movers for their market
- Movers get exposure to a totally ready-to-move audience, and agents look good by giving their sellers super helpful information
What do you think?
Any other recommendations on how to integrate MCR with real estate? How do you develop those valuable relationships with real estate agents? Tell us in the comments below!
1. More than 70% of the consumers using MCR come from online searches for movers in their city
This means every consumer using MCR to submit quotes is in “moving mode”. They’ve done their homework, and decided to use our site to find moving services. Our free business listings appear in online searches to attract these active consumers and drive them to MCR.
2. Consumers choose up to 5 movers. Or, we’ll suggest licensed movers for them
Movers may list their company in our national database for free. Our default search results are based on location, number of reviews and overall star rating.
On MCR, consumers choose the movers they want to hear from. Movers get free leads when consumers choose them.
We’ll also suggest qualified movers as part of our pay-per-lead program. This gives movers access to every lead in their service area.
3. We partner with Homefinder.com to provide home details
We standardize addresses and whenever possible, we match them with public records via HomeFinder.com to pre-populate beds, baths, square footage and home type in order to give movers more accurate information.
4. Consumers understand your brand every step of the way
Keep your brand and online reviews in front of consumers by replying directly to the quote request email. When a consumer selects your company to provide a free quote, they’ve already provided basic move details and and are ready to chat.
Make it personal, be sure to mention your required next steps (in-home estimate etc.) or price to help the consumer make a decision. Try to address any specific needs the consumer may have mentioned in their notes.
Be sure to keep your profile and online reviews up to date. Having great reviews and a high overall rating is a great way to stand out from your competition.
5. We reward consumers on their move-in day
On move-in day, we offer every consumer the opportunity to get a FREE Pizza if they come back and review their move on MCR.
We also have a program to collect reviews from your past customers, helping you focus on moves while we focus on your online reputation. Learn more about Review Advantage.
As Shannon wrote in “Behind the scenes at MCR: Our chatroom” we use our chat room for just about everything. It is one of the most used tools in our business. It’s obviously a great communication tool, but it’s a huge productivity tool for us as well.
We deployed our own customized version of a chat room robot forked from the Hubot Project. GitHub describes Hubot as “A Customizable, Life Embetterment Robot”, and we’ve certainly found our lives to be embettered! Hubot is an open source project written in CoffeeScript on Node.js and in our case runs on Heroku. The first thing we had to do after forking the Hubot project was to give our robot a name. We named ours “Review Bot”, or “Rbot” for short. Then we put him to work on a variety of tasks. The best part is since he’s a robot we don’t have to put him on the payroll… HE WORKS FOR FREE!
So what does Rbot do for us? He helps us with project management, customer assistance, and even monitoring our production web applications. Need some help with that math homework? Rbot has you covered, he’s great with numbers. All we have to do is ask “Rbot calculate 1+100″ or “Rbot calculate sqrt(81)”
We’re a small team, but it’s still easy to lose track of what everyone is up to. Not to worry, Rbot keeps track of all that for us. We just have to tell him “Rbot I am working on ticket #1234″ or “Rbot I am working on lead reports for invoices” and he now knows what we’re up to. At any point a project manager or anyone on the team can simply ask “Rbot what is everyone working on” and get a quick summary.
Rbot helps keep the software development process flowing so that we can continue to add great features to movingcompanyreviews.com. We use a continuous integration tool to automatically run tests on all of our software as we push out changes. Rbot keeps an eye on this of course, and can tell us if the build is passing or failing. We just have to ask Rbot “what’s the mcr project status”. He also monitors the Heroku platform that we run the site on. If we need to deploy some code changes we can ensure all systems are a go with a quick check-in with Rbot – “Rbot heroku status”
The business and operation folks are friends with Rbot as well. Account managers can get a quick sense of how many leads we’ve delivered to a mover just by asking Rbot “Rbot location rfqs for 12345″. We reward our users for reviewing their movers via phone with Domino’s gift cards, and we use a third-party vendor for fulfillment. We wouldn’t want our account to dry up and not be able to give away pizza, so we ask Rbot to check our balance from time to time “Rbot what is our tango card balance?”. Product people can get a conversion report on how users progress through our review process from requesting a quote to receiving that free pizza just by asking “Rbot pizza funnel”.
Rbot isn’t all business, he has a fun side to him as well. He’s super friendly and is the first to greet everyone as they start work in the morning. He doesn’t sleep (he’s a robot remember) so he’s always online. We like to celebrate our wins at movingcompanyreviews.com and Rbot certainly gets in on the action. He fires off a cannon when we get a new sale, sends out a round of applause when a mover gets their first request for a moving quote, and gives a salute from the original tough guy Chuck Norris when anyone says thumbs up.
Having a rough day? Rbot to the rescue! Just ask him “Rbot I need some advice”. Maybe you need to predict the future? Rbot will give you an answer to any question like the classic magic 8-ball “Rbot eightball will we hit our sales goals for the quarter?”. This one has come in handy many times when preparing boardroom presentations!
We have a great office at movingcompanyreviews.com and homefinder.com. One of the perks of being in the office is our ultra-modern kitchen, complete with a double-handled beer tap! After a long work week it’s nice to unwind with co-workers over a beer. But what’s going to fill your glass when you pull on that tap handle? Rbot knows, we just have to ask “Rbot what’s on tap?”
Our omnipresent robot friend has been an awesome addition to the MCR team. Rbot keeps us informed and entertained, and he’s always learning new tricks. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know him.
Moving from MI to NYC
Our colleague, Jen, is moving from Michigan to NYC in a few weeks. Naturally, she came to the MCR team to guide her in planning her move. In addition to advising her to use MCR, our best piece of advice: get estimates NOW! Jen will be moving in mid April so we told her she’d have a better shot at getting what she wanted if she started planning asap.
Jen submitted a quote request via MCR and was contacted within minutes by a major van line. The call center rep conveniently scheduled two in-home estimates with two different agents – Agent 1 and Agent 2 - within an hour of one another. “Great!” Jen thought, “I’ll have this part done in a day.” As the date approached, Agent 1 contacted her to confirm their appointment but Agent 2 did not. When Jen contacted Agent 2 directly, they said they often have scheduling issues with the call center and they’d need to set up an alternate time. So much for the two-birds-with-one-stone approach. By this point, Jen was frustrated: “Goodbye Agent 2!”
Agent 1′s in-home visit went well and the surveyor provided her with a detailed inventory and simple written estimate. They gave her two options: (1) transportation in a moving truck with other people’s belongings, with delivery date within a 2 week window (2) transportation and delivery via a crate on a truck with a guaranteed delivery date. Here’s a summary of the 1st version:
But she needed more options. After contacting one portable storage container company by phone (and waiting on hold for way too long), and submitting an online estimate for another, she discovered it would actually cost LESS to move with Agent 1. The portable storage container company - Company 3 – provided her a detailed breakdown like this:
Jen knew she needed another quote from a moving company in order to make an educated decision. After performing a search in her area on MCR, she submitted a quote request to a Michigan mover, Agent 4, who contacted her promptly. However, he admitted she’d pay for travel time because he wasn’t nearby. He referred her to Agent 5. This mover also came to Jen’s house for an in-home estimate.
Like Agent 1, Agent 5 offered two options: (1) Shared truck transportation with a 2 week delivery window (Agent 5 cost $75 less than Agent 1) and (2) a portable crate with guaranteed delivery date (Agent 5 cost $700 LESS than Agent 1). In the end, she based her decision on convenience and price and chose Agent 5. Although Agent 1 had better customer service, she liked the guaranteed delivery date with the crate option and the $700 cost savings sealed the deal.
Takeaways for movers
So why does this matter to you? Here are our top takeaways from Jen’s experience:
1. Closing a lead begins the moment you pick up the phone
- Call immediately
- Make scheduling as easy as possible: Provide flexibility, confirm appointments and show up on time
- Putting someone on hold or having to follow up multiple times can be deal-breakers
2. Cost and convenience go hand in hand
- In the end, Jen chose the more expensive option from Agent 5 but the less expensive option compared to Agent 1 (despite preferring Agent 1′s professionalism and demeanor). Making people comfortable and offering options to respect their busy schedules is key in their decision.
3. There’s a long way to go…
- The diagram below shows all the steps Jen took to find and book her mover. How can we as an industry improve this? Share your thoughts below! And stay tuned for the story of Jen’s actual move.