Technology For Your Next PCS
by Lizann Lightfoot - August 4th, 2021
How did Shyft come to be, and what does the company do?
Shyft is the brainchild of Alex Albert, who grew up in the moving industry. The moving industry is one of the last pre-internet industries, and he was frustrated by the lack of technology. There are so many things still manual in the industry. He started Shyft to alleviate challenges for the moving companies and the customers too.
For example, doing in-person surveys inside the home for estimates valuable time away from both moving company and customer. So, we started doing video surveys that you can do from your home. These videos allow us to build a good inventory and give accurate pricing for our customers.
This technology is for corporations who move, but it's also for military families who PCS. We have multiple options with thousands of movers in our network. We are trying to create a great moving experience for everyone. We built this technology to allow the customer to get multiple options, book, and then have their entire military move managed for them, all using technology.
Walk us through the process for a family doing a PPM (Personally Procured Move, formerly called a DITY move)?
We start by setting up an appointment for you with our personal Move Coach. They do a deep assessment of your needs to give you the best options for your military move. We understand that not all moves are the same size, and our experience with this approach has been excellent.
We have a 24/7 live support team that can support the customer at any time. The needs assessment is a series of questions to determine the customer’s needs. Then we schedule the video survey of their home to show everything they want to move. Each of these steps takes about 30-35 minutes and can be done from home.
After the video survey, we can compile an inventory sheet very quickly for the customer. We ask the customer to verify the inventory sheet so we can provide as accurate a move as possible.
Our “secret sauce” is the Shyft Exchange, where we have thousands of providers ready to service your move. This generally saves our customers money, because it creates competitive pricing, even for rush moves. We post the inventory, which includes dates and destinations, to that Exchange. Then we get pricing options from that, which we present to the customers, giving them plenty of options for hiring their own movers if they so choose.
We vet the movers on our platform upfront. So, you are essentially choosing from thousands of movers at once. We use automated processes and make sure there is 360-degree communication between us and the customer. We oversee all stages of your move, even during a PPM or DITY move. We strive to “over-communicate” in case there are any questions or problems throughout the moving process.
The last piece of it is that if there are any issues once your move is complete, we appoint people to help with settlements on your behalf.
How does your bidding system guarantee quality movers?
Before movers are allowed to get onto our platform, we go through an extremely thorough process that includes reference checks, checking with the Better Business Bureau, doing an interview, and then having them sign a contract with conditions. We first let them on the platform for a 30-day trial period, so if they are underperforming or not meeting our standards, we reserve the right to kick them off the platform. They are representing Shyft, and we want the customer to have the best experience possible.
Can customers rate their mover after the move is complete?
After every move, we send out a survey to customers and ask them to rate their experience with us and also to rate their experience with their mover. We have a monthly scorecard that shows where each moving company needs to improve. The feedback we get from the customers after the move is extremely important for us.
This year, the moving industry has been strained by labor shortages. Is this impacting Shyft too?
There has certainly been a huge impact for the moving industry this season. Peak season always comes with challenges, but this year is unique. The “normal” challenges have been exacerbated by what was essentially a double-peak season. We worked hard prior to peak season to add additional suppliers to our network. We recently added 1,000+ suppliers that focus specifically on local moves.
We also focus on communicating with the customer and letting them know what realistic expectations should be. There are bound to be hiccups, but we want to fix things as quickly as possible. We recommend customers try to remain flexible and change their move dates by a few days whenever possible. That way, we can find as many solutions as possible within our network.
Military moves - especially PPM or DITY moves - require weight tickets for reimbursement. Is this accounted for in Shyft moves?
Movers within our network will not be paid out until we have verified weight tickets and inventory sheets, and the customer has signed off on the move. We know that is an essential part of the process for the military, and we are happy to provide that to our customers.
Military families who have moved before have a good sense of their weight and volume needed for a move. How does Shyft technology help with that?
We have tackled this problem with the video technology that we have built. It picks up items that are common to a move. Over the six years that we have used it, we have built a huge database of items that are common to a move.
We have a team of people behind the scenes who can make adjustments based on size or weight that the video may not be able to distinguish. Statistically speaking, our inventory sheets are about 94% accurate. Our price changes from estimate to completion are only around 16%, which is extremely small in the moving industry.
We trust the technology we have built and want the customer to have a good experience without paying out of pocket.
High-value inventory is a huge concern for some military families. How does your video identify those items?
We always ask that high-value question up front, but the customer has the option to note that something is high-value, or they can add notes about how heavy it is. They can also request that specific items can be crated, so the company will add that request to their initial estimate and bring the proper supplies.
PCS Pro Tip: Keep track of your valuable items and report your missing belongings to Lost During My PCS, a huge online network of military families.
Where can we learn more about Shyft?
You can visit us at www.ShyftMoving.com and find us on social media as @shyft. We have written several blogs specific to military families, all available on our website.
Prepare yourself for your next military move with area guides, reviews from other military families, and lots of valuable information on our website, PCSgrades.com.
Our Guest: Keo Sar, Chief Revenue Officer from Shyft. Keo has been with Shyft for over two years. He enjoys using technology to enhance the human experience. Working with PCSgrades has been his favorite part of his job so far!
Keo grew up in San Diego, so he's a little familiar with military families. One summer, he worked at the Commissary on the Navy base, and another summer, he worked at NASCO, where they build Naval ships.