Webinar recap: Balancing business growth and quality with Alston Ke
November 21, 2022
Sometimes you just have to do things the old-fashioned way to have a really big impact. That’s the mentality that Alston Ke, owner of Reliable Moving in Richmond BC brings to the table when trying to maintain quality through growth.
In a recent Ask the Experts interview with Supermove’s Heidi Liou, he says that, while he recognizes that technology, software, and other tools can be key to improving processes pre- and post-move (and even some aspects of the customer experience during a move), moving is still moving. It's hands-on, and requires a level of care, consideration, and empathy to stick out from the competition.
During the webinar, Alston outlined some actionable tactics that he used to get traction in his community, build up his reputation and referrals, and grow his business.
4 takeaways from our Ask the Experts webinar with Alston Ke of Reliable Moving
Interact with your local community
Alston encourages movers to really embed themselves in their community. Not only does this build trust with individuals, it can lead to opportunities you might not expect. Libraries, museums, and other municipal organizations need movers, and these contracts can help balance out your year during the slower season.
On top of that, lots of businesses–whether they’re growing or just moving to a new location– use their own staff to move. If you can form relationships with these folks, there could be some good commercial jobs in it for your moving company. According to Alston, Reliable Moving built up a decent roster of commercial and municipal clients by being very present at community events.
Get creative and curious with the tools available to you
Expanding your business doesn’t have to be expensive, but you have to be willing to experiment, says Alston.
“Whatever the idea you have in your head is, you need to try it.”
He explains that when Reliable Moving first broke into storage, he started by posting an ad for a single storage locker on Facebook Marketplace. This test was wildly successful, with more than 75 people reaching out, and now Reliable Moving offers full storage services.
More recently, Alston has been curious about video marketing. He’s curious to test the difference between doing a sales call on the phone vs doing it by video. He wants his customers to be able to see who they’re dealing with and form that relationship early on.
He encourages movers to get curious about the tools that are available to them for free. Being able to run tests on Facebook Marketplace to gauge interest, or explore tools like Vidyard that have a free plan cost you nothing but can have a big impact in the long run.
Care and consideration go a long way
One of the questions that came up during the webinar was about damage– sometimes during a move, damage (either to customers' belongings or the building itself) feels inevitable. Alston was asked how Reliable Moving works to prevent damage, and what they do if and when it does occur.
He offered three tactics in response:
Consider equipment that you invest in once to keep key pieces safe– custom boxes for TVs and other pieces of furniture that you know you’re likely to encounter frequently.
Don’t rush it– if you’ve gotta take 30 minutes to move a TV, then take that time to avoid damage. Always remove legs off couches, always wrap large pieces, and pad EVERYTHING (including doorways). Yes, it takes time, but it’s worth it to keep your customer’s belongings safe.
If there is damage, how you deal with it makes the difference. Don’t ever think you can get away with it– own up to it and fix it. It will often cost less to just replace an item than to risk your reputation. He also says that you need to recognize that moving is stressful and any mistakes can still be used as an opportunity to improve and create a good experience for that customers.
Just really focus on quality moves
Alston wrapped up by pointing out that moving is a tough industry, and some companies are not in it for the right reasons. Issues like rogue movers have led to a lot of distrust from consumers, so if you can come in and do a good job, treat everything with care, talk to them like a human, be professional, and make their move easy, you’re already on your way to building trust with your community.
Alston says that great customer service is your chance to differentiate. When you have no money to advertise, do a great job and ask for those referrals. He points out that it took about 2-3 years for Reliable Moving to really see strong growth and a lot of that was down to the time it took to get traction in the community and build up reputation and referrals. So stick with it, test out your ideas, and don’t forget the human touch!