Relationships not price

Jul 06 | 2015

When every other company seems to be talking price, some Australians are discovering a point of difference to grow business. Brett Epstein from Hire A Mover explains how you can stand out without cutting prices.

“The Australian removalist market has become so price driven that very few operators think to focus on customer experience,” said Hire A Mover Director Brett Epstein. This may be the reason that complaint numbers across the Australian industry are higher than anyone would like. In 2010, the Victorian Consumer Affairs watchdog alone received 200 official complaints. In New South Wales, it was 287. These statistics don’t account for any of the unhappy customers who may have complained to their removalist company or simply suffered in silence.

This was a key consideration for Hire A Mover when it established its business in 2013. Complaints about removal companies appeared to be wide spread amongst surveyed customers. With more channels (online and offline) to share their negative experiences, their complaints spread even further. For the industry it created both a deep problem and a prime opportunity.

This insight led Hire A Mover to build its business model not on price, but on mover relationships. “Customers often first look at price when choosing a removalist,” said Epstein, “but price is the last thing on their mind when they recommend one.”

Hire A Mover invested time and money before launch to select what it felt to be the best movers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. It developed individual partnerships with professionals who had a proven track record and an interest in professional development. The company maintains close contact with its handpicked teams to ensure best practise is maintained and more importantly, movers are happy. It even promotes its individual movers online.

It’s a long-term approach to business that understands that low cost can initially win more business, but strong relationships will guarantee long-term success. “Larger companies will always have the flexibility of lowering rates but it’s not a long-term solution. You can’t buy the stability of having the best professionals who earn the trust of customers,” said Epstein. “Customers don’t linger on whether their service cost $200 or $300, they remember how a smiling professional took a bed apart for them or safely worked their couch through a narrow corridor.”

There are of course a lot of customers out there. Each one of those provide movers with an opportunity for a recommendation to further business. 43% of Australians moved house over the last five years, that’s almost 10 million residents who had an interaction with a removals business. As inner-city businesses move even more frequently, each is a greater opportunity to earn a repeat customer.

Positive experiences on every move offer an organic source of repeat and referred business. Of course, it can’t just be left to manage itself. “You have to build the feedback channels for customers to tell you about their experience,” said Epstein. “When they’re happy, you pass that positive feedback to the mover. If they had a problem, we work together with our professionals to ensure we all learn from it. It’s a win-win and worth the investment.”

At each stage of the process, smart businesses look for customer feedback and encourage reviews. They accept the costs involved in setting up the processes and handling the odd negative feedback. In the long run it wins repeat business and solidifies relationships between business leaders, movers and customers alike.

 “My advice would be to listen,” says Epstein. “Listen to customers and their experiences. Listen to your removalists when they ask you for support, training or acknowledgement. Then give it.”

Photo: (right to left) Rafael Brandon, Perth Team Leader and Bruno Silva, Perth Removalist

Click here to see the next Editors Pick!