Webinar recap: The Art and Science of Moving with Beau Roskow
November 2, 2022
Beau Roskow is the Vice President of Naglee Moving and Storage. He has over 20 years of experience working in various capacities at Walmart and Sam’s Club headquarters. His Corporate America background allowed him to have a fresh perspective when joining Naglee Moving, a United agent based in New York. They service residential, corporate, commercial, international and fine art moves.
In a recent Ask the Experts Webinar, Beau shares about his data-driven approach to running a moving company, and how to bring the financial and labor aspects of a moving business together.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your day-to-day?
According to Beau, the biggest challenges he encounters day-to-day are finding and keeping talent, keeping up with the needs of modern customers, and evolving to embrace new ways of working.
Talent development and talent acquisition
There is a huge driver shortage in general, which started even before the pandemic and the pandemic just accelerated it. Finding and keeping drivers is getting more challenging and forcing moving companies to re-evaluate how to incentivize employees.
In Beau words, “the customer of 1980 is not the customer of today”. Modern customers spend way more time doing online research and are a smarter, savvier consumer. They’re no longer just influenced by word of mouth, but spend a lot of time validating things through reading reviews, etc. And it’s not just millennials. Everyone is online.
New ways of working
One big theme that surfaced in our conversation with Beau was that the work is the same but HOW you work is dramatically different.
“How we take that intersection of innovation and data and talent and customer and bring all that front and center to a new way of doing business. So we can still Look Backwards because I think the past is what shapes the future but we can't keep working the way we always did or we will not to be where we want to be tomorrow,” says Beau.
How do you look at revenue and what is revenue vs profit margin?
According to Beau, there is a gap in the moving industry’s overall financial acumen, with many companies chasing revenue without a good expense structure or understanding of their competitors pricing, and their own margins.
“I personally hated my first two years when I lived on four months of a peak season and literally had to hope and pray that we had a great season to then survive the rest of the year. There had to be a better way. “
He goes on to say that it’s not enough to look at year-over-year data because of the anomalies in this industry. Looking at three-year trends helps you see the bigger picture without only hoping that those 12 weeks of busy season will get you through the year.
When you’re looking at numbers, think of them from a KPI standpoint for that particular line of business, i.e., payroll, accounts payable, etc. Then you can see if you were on or off target.
What is customer service vs customer centric?
Beau spoke at length about the difference between simply offering good customer service and being truly customer centric. He describes customer service as very transactional and usually a tactic employed after something bad happens where you’re measured on how fast you react to the bad thing that happened.
Being customer centric requires a change in mindset, from being more reactionary to being strategic. “it's more about listening, it's more about determining what that customer is looking for and then having the ability to dissect that,” says Beau. He goes on to say that having processes to incorporate customer feedback into how the job is done is also key to creating that top notch experience.
How do you incentivize your company to incorporate customer feedback?
Beau says that the key to getting everyone in a moving company on board with incorporating feedback comes down to one key question: What’s in it for staff? (The answer? Usually more tips).
So, as an owner you need to help your team understand the impact their job has on those customers. It requires a certain level of emotional intelligence to empathize with what the customer is going through. Beau points out that moving is usually associated with a big life event (new/lost job, marriage/divorce, birth/death, etc) and being empathetic to the customer in those times of stress and chance can make the difference in their overall experience.
“You know a chair coming out of an office is just a chair. The chair coming out of someone's personal office could have been their grandfather's their grandmother's. You’ve got to have some of that emotional intelligence in those environments to offer that best service and we're working on trying to bring our guys up and ladies up to that level.”
He goes on to say that superior service tends to translate into increased tips for the crew. So helping movers make the connection between empathy, better service, and increased tips ultimately benefits both crews and customers.
How does tech benefit your business?
Naglee went from 200 manual touches when Beau started, down to 20 today. [More on how below.] They’ve incorporated tools like Supermove, Podium, Samsara, Quickbooks and Bill.com to help the business improve in terms of quality, financials and retention.
Beau makes a strong case for using technology to get a full picture of your business:
"This industry has a way of pulling you in truly as a tactical individual contributor. And as a leader and as in as a CEO you have to make sure you are spending more time working on your business than working in your business. And if you don't have global visibility into what's going on in your business, you are going to naturally go to the areas that you feel you can help the most, or what areas are on fire that you just need someone there.”
He says that while it’s possible to live for a little while like this, it’ll ultimately cause burnout. And that’s why he says it’s so essential to create systems and processes that let you see the business holistically, create benchmarks, see trends and focus your time on moving your company forward.
Beau pointed out that Supermove has been a huge factor in the acceleration of a common vision and alignment for Naglee. Historically, no one could see what other departments were doing since everything was in silos, but Supermove lets them look at one system either as a whole or as different departments.
"I've been a customer of Supermove now for over a year and a half and its been a huge player in our acceleration into what we call a common vision and a common alignment. So to give a visual, there are what? 18? 12? lanes in an olympic sized pool? The one thing I saw in this industry was everybody was swimming in their own lane so nobody could really see what the other person's lane looked like let alone what the entire pool looked like. And depending on where somebody was at in their lane, it was affecting our end results.
Supermove has led to that global alignment and visibility. My ops people see everything but they know where to live for their ops work. My back office people see everything but they know where they'll live for their back office work. My coordinators, my sales people etc. So there's a harmony. We can all look at one system and see what we need to see from key performance indicators for our own particular areas but then have some very good conversations on the business in general."
Converting clients despite increased industry challenges
Transitioning from a transactional moving world to being more solution-based has helped Beau and his team navigate these challenges. By reviewing where they want to focus their work and how they can be profitable and grow, they were able to target customers that were much better suited to their business instead of waiting for leads to come in that weren’t a good fit.
How did you decrease customer ‘touches’ from 200 to 20?
“We had over 200 manual touches when I got here. It blew my mind and I'm thinking ‘how do you even quality control that?’. And really it was just by yelling and screaming at each other during peak season. So it was like ‘no let's turn down this noise completely’ and again we have not arrived but we got those touches down into the 20 mark.”
According to Beau, the process of decreasing their manual touches from 200 to 20 was “troublesome and problematic but worth it”. He collected data by sitting with everybody in his company for 1-3 days (each) and made a check sheet of everything they did. Through this process, he noticed there was a lot of duplication, things that were incomplete, things that if you pre-printed sheets with this info on it you wouldn’t have to keep filling it in several times etc. This gave Beau the information needed to create processes that would give his team a lot of time back.
Beau’s final words: Stay curious. Stay engaged. Continue to be a student. We’re all in this together to make this industry better than when we got into it.
Full webinar transcript: The Art and Science of Moving with Beau Roskow
Note: This transcript has been edited for readability and clarity.
Heidi: Welcome everyone to our live Q&A of the ask the expert series. My name is Heidi– I'm the strategic partnerships manager at Supermove. I've actually been at the company for two years now and it's been one year of hosting these live Q&A's so it's been a lot of fun! I've learned a ton and we'll be continuing them so thank you so much for all registering, joining, watching this wherever you are and it's going to be a great afternoon just chatting with Beau.
Supermove is on a mission to make moving simple for everyone so that includes your dispatchers, your sales, all the trucks you're working with day-to-day– bringing all that onto one system making things easier for everyone to run their business.
Today I'm joined by Beau Roskow Vice President of Naglee Moving and Storage and I look forward to talking about the science and art of moving and running a moving business, bringing together that financial aspect with the manual labor of a moving business.
We'll be talking about everything from looking at how you look at profit margins to finding a solid niche to grow in.
A brief bio about Beau, he's worked at corporate headquarters at Sam's Club and Walmart for over 20 years in many different capacities and his background has given him a perspective when joining Naglee Moving which is a United agent based in New York that Services residential, corporate, commercial, international, and fine art moves.
We're here today to learn from you, Beau, and prick your brain about your data-driven approach to running your moving company.
I'll start off by asking some questions that were submitted during registration and open it up to questions from the audience. So as a reminder for everyone there is a question box you can type your questions there throughout and then we'll be addressing them towards the end.
Heidi: So to kick it off Beau, tell us more about your story. How did you get into the industry and what brought you back into the industry?
Beau: Well first off thank you and thank you for all that are attending on here. Thank you for teeing that up.
I’ve got 20 plus years with Walmart and Sam's. Interesting parallel as I've gotten into this industry, I know a lot of companies around the nation are very family owned
and people have come up organically through their own family business as well– from starting on the trucks to coming all the way through to warehouse. Very similar to what my career with Walmart was. I started as a cart attendant in the Philadelphia area looking to make some extra money to go to some athletic camps in the summer and found the company that invested in me both professionally and personally and opened up some doors from an education standpoint as well as professional aspect, and basically organically came all the way up through. I wish my last name was Walton ,we would be having a whole different conversation today if that's the case. It’s not quite a family business but definitely a company that values its employees and made a lot of personal deposits in them and they took a lot from that culture.
So I had the opportunity to come to Naglee which was a family-owned business. Naglee's been established since 1912 so the brand has been in the area for a very long time. Four different family transitions but most recently my father-in-law Phil Schweiger who had the company with several other partners, he got to that part– which I'm sure we may cover at some point to– where there was not a very strong succession plan of knowing what life was going to look like when the moving world ended for him. So I guess you can call it the perfect storm, Heidi. We were in that intersection of “what am I going to do for the rest of my life” and “what is he going to do for the golden years of his life?”.
So I saw a lot of potential, saw a great network of people, and just a passion for this industry that is really unique but I also saw a lot of opportunity for growth. So my story has really just been that transition, that life change, that industry change and diving into something similar to what you guys are doing to try to differentiate and do something different in an industry that's so rich with legacy but also thinking of how we move into the new times.
Heidi: So what was it like joining this very established family-run company, being completely an outsider?
Beau: It was like drinking from the fire hose. It was crazy. It spoke its own language, it functioned in its own way, it had legacy processes that I used to joke it was like how only indigenous people can navigate the Outback but they learned how to do it by song from when they were infants. So there was a lot of peeling back the onion.
To reshape Naglee and how we continue the reshape Naglee was learning a common language and being able to understand things more from the end user and not the operator and breaking things down into digestible chunks. I don't want to say changing how the business was run, but interpreting it in a way that was more common and visible to everybody was a part of it.
Heidi: When you first joined were you guys specializing in fine art moves or was it just focused on residential at the time?
Beau: We were still diversified but we were 80% residential households at that point so we were sampling in other areas but we were not fully invested or we did not have strategic plans in those particular areas and then over the last five years we have really changed the allocation of what our portfolio looks like to be more sustainable from a 12-month standpoint than just your traditional peak and non-peak seasons.
Heidi: So being with Naglee for seven or eight years now, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face day-to-day?
Beau: Oh great question. I would start probably in this order– number one is talent. I think especially with the acceleration of what the pandemic has done to the entire globe, but even before that, there were indicators here of talent development and talent acquisition. With the explosion of e-commerce and some of the other things, all of a sudden trucking became very popular to a lot of people.
Well, when you can easily just move stuff for Amazon and Walmart and Target you don't want to take a couch up and down stairs or do things along those lines so we had to really rethink what that new mover was going to look like and what that new career was going to potentially look like and how you attract from a different generation.
You know, we kind of always think of the moving world as just the people on the truck and in the warehouses but how the whole infrastructure works behind that as well. So we had to really start re-examining that but at the same time put that through one talent folder because again we just talked about how they speak their own language, they do their own thing so we're looking for folks that met certain criteria with no experience so we've really had to balance that. So Talent is still the biggest thing.
I think we've also tried to tackle the modern customer. The customer of 1980 is not the customer of today–
Heidi: Are you speaking specifically about the millennial customer?
Beau: I think even my grandmother is a “millennial focus” now. I mean she will research something on her Apple phone, she will research different things so the consumer in general regardless of the generation is just a smarter consumer. They also are influenced now not just by word of mouth, they're going to validate things through data and reading and other things.
Typically if you had the biggest yellow book ad you were winning in this space and that's not near where it is today. It's such a collection of so many things from top to bottom. So I mean understanding that new customer is also a challenge inside there.
And then that leads to that third piece–if you're constantly developing talent and you're constantly trying to drive that customer experience it's just that new ways of working. And that's what we've deemed it. The work is the same but how you work is dramatically different and how we take that intersection of innovation and data and talent and customer and bring all that front and center to a new way of doing business. So we can still look backwards because I think the past is what shapes the future but we can't keep working the way we always did or we will not be where we want to be tomorrow.
Heidi: Can you tell me more about the talent? How you and Naglee have viewed the problem? You said the pandemic expedited it, but was it something that was happening before the pandemic that people were not wanting to be movers they were just going to other industries?
Beau: Yeah I mean I think the biggest thing at least for us and I'm sure it's scaled all over was there's just a huge driver shortage in general. I looked at a lot of the data before the pandemic and after I mean there's a mass exodus of professional drivers just in general then it accelerated through the pandemic so we had an opportunity to really dive in and start looking at our numbers and say hey how much more can we do with straight trucks, hey how much more can we do with cargo vans.
You know you got to really know your numbers and being able to use some of these things because they can sound like great ideas but if it doesn't work out from a volume or a pricing standpoint you're just going to bury yourself anyway but we really turned the entire business upside down and for the lack of a better term examined everything and asked the question to everything– “why do we do it this way?”. And if we couldn't answer, it wasn't that it was wrong but we examined it harder so we could get everybody on board to understand that what you're doing matters and this is how we're going to measure it.
Heidi: So digging more into that. Looking at the details, how do you look at revenue for your company and what is revenue for you versus profit margin? How does Naglee look at these numbers?
Beau: Oh great question and I probably have some friends on here that I'm glad I can't see because they tease me quite a bit.
Heidi: Are you a numbers guy?
Beau: I’m a data guy, I’d rather go with that because I think sometimes number people get associated with just being an accountant or procurement or this or that and are only changing the pennies.
But I do really pay attention to the relationship aspects and that's why when we start talking about revenue one of the biggest things I saw in this industry was there there was a gap in financial acumen. We chased revenue revenue revenue revenue revenue and there is some value in some aspects to that but chasing revenue too much without a good expense structure or not understanding your competitor's pricing or understanding the margin levels in different lines of work could bury you real quick because you're only dealing with a certain amount of capacity.
So your question of how do I look at that? I look at that numerically. I have a whole financial roadmap from a daily, weekly, quarterly, monthly, yearly standpoint and then typically we look at three-year trends. I mean historically this business in general has such anomalies with certain months and certain quarters over time it's it's hard to really only look at things from this year last year's standpoint. You really got to look at things a little bit more scaled out and holistic to kind of see where those trends are and then start making those incremental changes to where you want to go.
I personally hated my first two years when I lived on four months of a peak season and literally really had to hope and pray that we had a great season to then survive the rest of the year and there had to be a better way.
I'm not saying that we have solved it but we're in a much better place to be more sustainable throughout the year than just depend on 12 weeks out of the year to make it.
Heidi: And do you compare your numbers to your competitors or maybe a peer that you talk to? Where are you getting your benchmarks from?
Beau: Yeah it's a great question. So I've used several of the more national conferences to build some benchmarking and some baselining. We also do an owner's retreat. I have four or five close friends that once we established trust in that people weren't doing espionage against you we retreated off to a bed and breakfast area and I spent three days to just tackle some things and we used some of our PNLs to establish what is a mid or max of certain lines what's your ratios and then more importantly just not identifying the what but then having good conversations on the how – how'd you conquer this how did you know this was a problem. And the one thing I will give this industry in general people have such passion for what they've done if you ask the right questions they give you a tremendous amount of information.
I am just getting into a segment now with commercial moving. It’s something new, something we haven’t done but went out and had one of the subject matter experts. Ed Katz was a developer who transitioned from this old world to a new world and is just a wealth of knowledge but not just from the art but also established the science. And that's where I've tried to use that globally with how I can bring myself up to speed in this industry but also set Naglee on a flight path for success in the future.
Heidi: You've told me about this owner's retreat that you do and that sounds like so much fun. I wonder how often or how common it is for other people around the US to come together and have their own peer groups that are forming.
But why don't you think there are national benchmarks that are able to be you know easily accessible online, like why is it that you have to just ask your neighbor “hey what are you guys making this year?”.
Beau: You know that's a great question. I would say in my opinion, and I don't think I qualify as an expert in this field, but I think there's a fear, there's an insecurity of the financial acumen that a lot of people haven't formally been brought in around numbers.
In my time with Walmart we had to know our numbers. If you didn't know your numbers, that was the price of admission to even get in. I don't know if that's necessarily something that's pushed at the ground level in this industry so there's a gap that starts there.
Then there's a fear factor that we're going to share something that our neighbor is going to take and beat us at it. Sometimes that is true but in other times I think you don't know how high high is and you don't know how low low is, so to start establishing certain financial indicators or warning signs or positive signs I think can be helpful. But it also requires a lot of trust and it requires a relationship because you only get burnt once or twice with stuff like that and then you're not going to want to share your toys with anybody.
But you know for the most part I think for an industry that's in a pivot standpoint right now of “what will we look like?” that financial awareness and that financial acumen of understanding these benchmarks I think will help the entire industry. Because let's face it, I know when I got in here and started researching the industry there was a lot of shady movers out there and there were a lot of hostage stories and things like that that absolutely erode customer confidence and other things but there's also a lot of moving companies that could do it easier if they understood those numbers better and that's that's hopefully maybe what we can shine some light on today.
Heidi: Talking about the the numbers piece, how often do you look at your financials? You said you have a road map but how often do you actually really take a deep look at them in order to then make decisions and changes?
Beau: Great question. So I look at numbers every day. The difference in the numbers and how I look at is the purpose of what I'm looking, so I have certain numbers I look at just from what I would call a KPI, a key perform indicator, so there are certain numbers such as payroll there are certain numbers such as bills there are certain numbers like that that you just got to keep a certain ratio and thought on.
Then I look at numbers from a perspective of ‘what goals did we set in the beginning of the year in a particular line of business, how far are we penetrated into that, are we on target, are we off target where are we at?’.
So they all have a different mold and purpose. When I talk my ops manager, when I talk to my sales manager when I talk to the art side– everything starts with a financial base and some type of metric base, then we start discussing the business off of that so I don't know if that necessarily answers your question exactly but it's a daily conversation with me getting up to speed with what's going on in the business or reacting to what's going on to the business or forecasting where I want the business to go.
And then typically when we want to make more holistic changes or shifts or want to try something then that's when we either will start using customer feedback and we'll use anywhere between I'd say 12 months to 72 months trending to start establishing certain lines and maybe where we want to try some new things.
I am not a big ‘let's jump out and go all in’ type person. And I know some entrepreneurs love that, that all in, but not so much this guy. I want to take a calculated risk. I'll take risk but I want that risk to make sense in data, in support and in sustainability. So I move slower but typically I don't have to move backwards as much to get going.
Heidi: Have you looked at the numbers for peak season this year compared to last year? I'm just kind of curious what your thoughts are on you know why business was either better or worse?
Beau: Great question. I mean I think our capacity changed dramatically from the pandemic. We had to reduce capacity quite a bit but the reduction in capacity helped us have a healthier pricing matrix. So in comparison from a revenue standpoint we did very well and we feel very good about where we came out revenue-wise per ratio to our other peak seasons.
One thing I've recently seen is there was a lot harder stop this year. We were seeing our months at 85% 90% capacity almost 30 to 40 days prior to that month coming up. Now all of a sudden we saw that capacity drop like a rock where it's now in that 40% range but it's okay because our focus changes. So our quarterly focus now changes to other lenses. So we're going to push more commercial in these slower seasons, we're going to push more of our other type of international stuff, so it's just being very purposeful. We take what the market gives us but then we don't hold on when that value is not there, we can change and pivot and then start reassessing our resources into those other areas.
So to answer your question from a traditional peak we felt very good, but stepping back we feel very good about just how the whole year is because we're seeing growth coming out of the pandemic of getting back to 2018 and 2019 numbers prior to the pandemic.
Heidi: That's great to hear. I'm hearing mixed mixed news from moving companies. Some are seeing like much less sales compared to last year but I'm glad to hear that business is doing well. Can you tell us a little bit more more about Naglee fine arts and what kind of clients you guys do work with?
Beau: Sure I'd be glad to. So really our fine arts division was the birth of a major account client that we have had for years, established for over 60 years serving that they just had a very particular need in that space and since we were already helping them withsSolutions with so many other places– I have to give it completely to my father-in-law it was way before my time– they got into this space to help them just relieve some of that pressure so they didn't need to use all their internal resources for that.
Traditionally my father-in-law and that team used our arts division just as an ancillary business. He left it in a great place in the seven years that I've come through, and now i’ve been able to take that and realize hey you know there is some opportunity here to expand that off-season work that doesn't fall traditionally in the peak season to get into that groove. And the reason why is a lot of the art institutions are also schools and universities and things along those lines where they have more of a 12-month need in that space than other areas of our business. So I would say it was a great accident. Him and his team were being solution-based to help fix a need.
And we were fortunate we have two major art institutions within a very close proximity so we have students and we have professional art handlers who just are organically in this community that we're able to leverage and get involved. Because you don't really get to have a claim in arts. It's one thing to fix the chair and fix the couch, but you're not fixing some of this stuff so you have to be very very methodical and process-oriented with what you're doing there.
Heidi: I don't hear of very many companies that specialize in fine arts moving so I'm very intrigued that you guys have carved out such a niche business here. How do clients usually find out about the fine like that you guys do find aren't moving they're just the internet?
Beau: Well it's not advertised. When you talk about understanding the customer, no one's really like ‘hey who's the best art mover here?’. It is a hundred percent referral based because there's such a trust and quality benchmark. And you talk about another industry that speaks their own language has their own processes, and has all these different pieces. It’s slow– that's why I'm saying you have to really wait. It's not a growth boom business but the referrals will come and then the loyalty is great.
Heidi: all right well maybe I'll inspire people to take a look at that but–
Beau: Conquer the other stuff first trust me.
Heidi: Just shifting gears. I’d love to talk more about the new modern customer and how
your company views your customers. I know that in our prep call you talked about customer service versus customer centric so can you just tell us a little bit about how you guys are viewing customers today?
Beau: Yeah it's a passion. I wish I could tell you here we've arrived but we have not. It's a journey, it's a process but I think it changes with our mindset around customer service as well. And again this could also be branded from my experience in retail and coming up through there.
Customer service stuff has always been very transactional and usually it's post something bad happening– a bad refund, a bad claim, a bad whatever. So then you're measuring how fast you react to the bad situation.
Yet, being a little bit more customer-centric is changing the mindset of not always being reactionary. And both concepts share a common word: communications key in both of them.
Great customer service is usually great communication. Being customer centric is also great communication but one's a little bit more strategic in nature because it's more about listening, it's more about determining what that customer is looking for and then having the ability to dissect that. So like we talked about earlier having a language that's different than what your customer is expecting. And again, I came in and I was new to this world. I kept hearing ‘delivery spread delivery spread’ and I'm like ‘what in the heck? What is that?’. And I'll tell you, ninety percent could tell you ‘well it's this and I can deliver it to this’.
The problem is, customers don't care. They don't even know! Now, just that same word, if you switch it to delivery window. That's a common word– FedEx gives you a window, your cable provider gives you a window. So when you start looking at shared services as something as simple as that language, now when you're engaging a customer that common language sets equal and consistent expectations. And when we started going through that and we started challenging the entire team here at Naglee. First, we have to all start speaking the same language because ops would answer something in one way, sales in another, and we're all talking about the same thing with four different dialogues. So now we flip it to say okay, what would the customer experience be and can they pick up intuitively on what we're speaking about.
So after a move not just getting that five-star review but truly asking the questions of how was the experience, how was this how is that, and blending that feedback into how we do the work.
I heard too many customers tell me moving is like its own world. Like, why do I have 8,000 pieces of paper when everything else is electronic now? The customers want their life to be as normal as possible– not have moving be such an experience that it's like it’s from an outer world space station. How do we get it as similar to their life? And that's really where it's a bigger term but that customer centric is really starting with the end in mind from a customer perspective, not just how we take care of the customer.
Heidi: I think incorporating feedback is a really important thing for not only individuals to do but as a company, so how do you guys incentivize your movers and drivers to actually incorporate the feedback that's been given to them on these reviews from customers?
Beau: So we do a lot of listening sessions and have different feedback groups both internally and externally. No plug on Supermove here but we've also used Supermove quite a bit. The tablet applications, for instance. Let's face it, a lot of these guys have lived on tips or love tips. Well we've really been able to break down what is a tip? A tip is what goes above the average service capability. And now you make it easy on a credit card. A tip on a credit card is usually easily three to five times higher than what a cash one is, where a majority of the time whenever everything was done on paper, what kind of tips were they getting? It was all cash. And of course you get people who go “well cash some people claim it some people don't claim it and it was easy”. But when you show them the numbers and said you're right you may not claim twenty dollars you got to claim the hundred but net you're still making more with a hundred dollar tip than you did with the twenty dollar tip.
So educating them on what's in it for them really helped expand some of that aspect that way. And then we were also able to get in and keep pushing that your service level your and your review level the customer is going to feel more at home more friendly. Let's face it, when people move it's usually over something dramatic– a new job, they just lost a job, new marriage, they just got divorced, new baby, or they just died. I mean it's crazy!
But they are all the big ones and our folks are front and center to this dramatic event so if they can find a way to make that harmony there and make that transition not only do they contribute to a great experience but usually they're rewarded for the services that they're offering and it's not just picking a couch up and putting it down they're actually solution-based.
So I wish it was just one answer, and I hope I didn't go too far in there but if you really step back. And you’ve got to help our guys– some of our guys just dont’ see it, but really breaking down what they're doing. and I would come back to it's just not the job they're doing, it's the relevance of that experience.
You know a chair coming out of an office is just a chair. The chair coming out of someone's personal office could have been their grandfathers their grandmothers. You’ve got to have some of that emotional intelligence in those environments to offer that best service and we're working on trying to bring our guys up and ladies up to that level.
Heidi: How do you motivate and tie everyone to that strong mission?
Beau: By trying to make it as simple as possible. When I when I think about our crews, we start as easy as three blocks: it's my customer, it's my crew, it's my truck. And then what does that look like inside? But really it starts with the whole company in general being very transparent.
Back to that whole piece we talked about, with us all talking the same language, giving updates to the entire team on how the company is doing, calling out individual performances when they do really well. But guess what? Also calling out when we do not do well so we don't just make dog and pony shows and be like ‘yeah we're great’. No, we really screwed up here how do we change it? We let the customer down. Not using it as a stick but using it as a measurement to get better and be more consistent.
Heidi: I’d like to hear about your your thoughts on technology in the industry? What are some top tools that you use on a day-to-day to manage your business?
Beau: Sure well obviously Supermove is hosting this. I've been a customer of Supermove now for over a year and a half and transitioned– I won't call out other ones– but transitioned from some other moving software. And its been a huge player in in our acceleration into what we call a common vision and a common alignment. So to give a visual, there are what? 18? 12? lanes in an olympic sized pool? The one thing I saw in this industry was everybody was swimming in their own lane so nobody could really see what the other person's lane looked like let alone what the entire pool looked like. And depending on where somebody was at in their lane, it was affecting our end results.
And Supermove as well some of these other tools that's one of the lenses I put on– it’s how does that fit? How can we all look at the same pool but can still have the fine lines inside the pool to make sure we're doing what we need to do at different times? And Supermove has led to that global alignment and visibility. My ops people see everything but they know where to live for their Ops work. My back office people see everything but they know where they'll live for their back office work. My coordinators, my sales…etc. So there's a harmony. We can all look at one system and see what we need to see from a key performance indicator for our own particular areas but then have some very good conversations on the business in general.
And the question for the audience that I have in here in general my question back is really about the balance. This industry has a way of pulling you in truly as a tactical individual contributor. And as a leader and as a CEO you have to make sure you are spending more time working on your business than working in your business. And if you don't have Global visibility to all of what's going on in your business you are going to naturally go to the areas that you feel you can help the most or what areas are on fire that you just need someone there. And you can live for a little while like that but that's why you will burn out. So creating processes, creating things where you can constantly see the business holistically, creating benchmarks, creating trends and having these tools and resources to keep that pulse on there so you're seeing everything there and then focusing your time on moving your company forward. So Supermove’s a big one. We use podium, we have used Samsara which is very similar to like a Verizon connect from an ops standpoint. From our financial sides we've used some upgrades to QuickBooks as well as Bill.com which is an electronic bill-pay process so it's almost hard to label all the different ones but technology is a very important fabric in what the new Naglee looks like today and it was to tackle your initial question– we had over 200 manual touches when I got here. It blew my mind and I'm thinking ‘how do you even quality control that?’ and really it was just by yelling and screaming at each other during peak season. So it was like ‘no let's turn down this noise completely’ and again we have not arrived but we got those touches down into the 20 mark.
Well from 200 to 20 what do you think is improved? Well, our financials our quality, our retention. Why do things a certain way? But if you don't know any different you don't change so technology is a huge huge huge focus and I wouldn't even just say technology it's integration innovation that is a key component to where we're going and how we continue to grow.
Heidi: From 200 to 20 touches that that must really shape the customer experience because I think about how if I'm having too many emails back and forth with my co-worker then it's time to just pick up the phone and like let's end it you know let's let's figure it out right now. I don't want more touches, so I can't imagine how much headache it was having so many touches.
Beau: We spent more time picking up pieces on things than we did actually with moving the needle forward. Like I said the activity does not always equal results and and we teach all the time here– it's great if you did 20 miles today but if you're on a treadmill you're in the same spot. That's great that you're conditioned to do 20 miles but you're standing in the same spot so how do we actually move the needle to where we're going?
Heidi: We are getting closer to time but I'm going to just turn it over to our Q&A. I have a few questions coming in from the whole audience here.
I'm going to start with Nathan's question:
As a new owner of a moving storage Packing Company what advice would you give me what would you do different when you first started the business?
Beau: What would I do different when I first started the business? I would have spent more time truly understanding what we wanted to be versus just jumping into what we were . So from Nathan's question I I guess I would phrase it if he's a new company if he's an established company if that would change that lens. I would have spent a little bit more time trying to figure out who we wanted to be and then building that strategy to determine how closely aligned we were. Here at Naglee I think we lived in our legacy too long so we had a great legacy but we we kept expecting different results because of the results we used to get not what we were currently doing today.
So Nathan, depending on your situation I'd say really understand who you want to be and how close you want to be there. And back to the two most important pieces in my opinion: know your numbers and understand your expenses. We are so great at just chasing revenue– just doing. It was almost like if we're doing something we're doing good and that’s not the case.
Heidi: All right Joe says hey Beau how are you converting clients old and new at a necessary rate despite increased overhead individual safety standards via covid-19 and more competition in the moving space than ever?
Beau: That's great question. I think managing those expectations is really where it's at. There's customers today that we don't service anymore because we had to make a decision here at Naglee that that was not the line of business that we could stay competitive in because our competitors were cutting corners but just was not the space we wanted to be in. So really we had to establish our baselines of saying hey here's where we have to operate, here's where we have to be profitable at, here's where we want to grow at, and we went out and targeted those consumers versus just waiting for leads to come in that way and trying to match. Again I'll go back– the consumer is smarter than they have ever been if they apply certain research.
So to differentiate yourselves you have to meet them on really what they're looking for and if they were just looking for price and convenience we might not have been the right match for them. If they were looking for the full experience that we were going to walk them from the start to the end and know we were going to be there even past the end we made that match a little bit better that way so we we've really transitioned from that transactional moving world to being more solution based.
Heidi: I think you guys are in a unique position because you're able to be intentional I think a lot of companies are just taking any and every lead they're they're desperate for leads but I think once you have a niche and once you establish your brand and you say “this is what we're best at” then I think it helps everything else the safety standards overheads.
Beau: Absolutely absolutely. Household is not easy and the margins that this industry has been doing it with for the length of time it has has been straight up scary. And I think the pandemic will hopefully reset that a little bit, but again, knowing your numbers knowing what we're doing how we're doing it comes all the way back because unfortunately you have to pass those costs on. There's not enough margin in this business to keep absorbing these type of obstacles that are there. The money is just not there to do it.
Heidi: I'm going to take one more question. There's just not enough time but I will make sure to reach out to those folks and hopefully we can get those questions answered later but we have an anonymous question:
Can you expand on what you mean and how how you went about reducing the manual touches?
Beau: Sure. It was troublesome. It was problematic. But it was so worth it. And literally, literally I sat next to everybody who did something with this company for anywhere from a day to three days and literally made a check sheet of everything they did. And it was painful it was long but after we did it and started comparing it we saw there was a lot of stuff being done in duplication. There were things that were being done incomplete, there were things that if we just pre-printed sheets with this information on it you didn't have to keep filling it in 800 times so you really had to data collect first then scrub it all out and then start putting processes in place that would actually reduce those touches and give more time back to taking care of the customer, taking care of our people and and driving solutions. But it was painful.
Heidi: In the moving industry it's so unique because the customer gets passed from one person to another and you know without that transparency you don't know how many touches each person is getting.
Beau: Supermove helps consolidate all of those touches just so you know.
Heidi: We are out of time I do want to wrap things up both thank you so much for this afternoon and discussing so many of your secrets at Naglee. I'm feeling very inspired, I think you have such great energy I really enjoy all of our conversations so really appreciate you once again.
This live Q&A has been brought to you by Supermove. We are helping the moving industry simplify your business by bringing everything onto one system. If you're not using any moving software today if you want to learn more about how we handle everything from sales, dispatch, to accounting and payroll functions please reach out or sign up for a demo on our website and you can mention that you attended this live Q&A with Beau.
Beau, do you have any last question before we you say goodbye?
Beau: No, just want to thank you. I I think you guys are making tremendous impact in this space so thank you for being the advocate for this industry and I want to thank everybody who jumped on. Stay curious stay, engaged, even if there's things I said that you're like “what are you talking about?”, if it inspired you to think a little different or look at it differently then there's a spark there. Don't think you've arrived in this industry or any industry, continue to be a student and remember at the end of the day we're all in this together to make this industry better than where we got it. I look forward to crossing paths with all of you and again thank you for your time today.
Heidi: Awesome yeah thank you everyone for attending and you can look out for our next event by following Supermove on social media. We will be posting this recording later and sending it out to everyone who registered so that is all thanks so much take care see you later.