Virtual Surveys: Easy, Convenient & Social-Distancing Compliant Moving Home-Survey Option
There is no question that we are currently living during extraordinary times. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and think about the future. However, we all know that there will come a time, hopefully in the not so distant future, where life will return to normal. Despite the transformative impact of the current pandemic, many people are still working, albeit from home, still planning moves, and still touring homes , just virtually. Consciously, we know that when things begin transitioning back into normalcy that we need to be ready to move forward on our personal and professional plans. For those professionals involved in corporate relocation, this may mean finding ways of keeping as many employee relocations in motion as possible. Importantly, moving is considered an "essential service" and most moving companies continue to do moves as things like lease renewals or home sale closings are often not negotiable and must happen as scheduled. One valuable tool that is enabling both corporate relocations and personal moves to keep progressing during this time of social distancing is the virtual survey.
Traditionally performed as in-person surveys, virtual surveys allow moving companies to assess the items needing to be moved to create accurate pricing quotes for a given household goods move. There are several platforms that are used within the industry; for the purposes of this piece, we will focus on how virtual surveys function through northAmerican® Van Lines and their chosen platform, Virtual Moving Technologies (VMT).
In order to begin the virtual survey process, your relocating employee will need to fill out and send back a waiver for the physical survey to the moving company. With these virtual surveys, there are both guided and unguided survey options, however, for corporate clients, we strongly recommend your employees opt for the guided virtual survey. Under both options, the moving provider will set up the relocating employee in the VMT system. From here, they receive a link with instructions on how to download the VMT app. The link automatically incorporates the relocating employee’s unique survey code which allows them to securely access the app.
With the guided option, your relocating employee will join a representative from the moving company on the app to walk through their home on their laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The employee is able to perform the necessary measurements for the moving company with the help and guidance of the moving company’s representative. Upon the completion of the survey, the representative will create an inventory based on the content of the virtual survey as they would have from an in-person survey. From there, they are able to generate and share an estimate for the cost of the household goods move.
Since performing a virtual survey is likely something new for your employees, here are some helpful tips to aid them in conducting one well:
Make sure that you are using the app with either Wifi or data speeds of 300 KBps or higher in order to ensure good video quality.
Have a tape measurer handy to measure items that the moving provider may request dimensions for. Typically, you will be asked to measure only a few items. Items such as glass over 30 inches (standing mirrors) or any type of marble will require measuring.
Make sure to take your time during the recording or on the guided survey. For the most accurate quote and inventory possible, be sure to open every cabinet and closet, and be as detailed as possible in showing all of the items to be moved.
Ensure that your rooms are well lit so that the moving provider can see all of your items as clearly as possible.
Know that the VMT app is very user-friendly, uncomplicated, and easy to navigate. Should you encounter any issues, your moving provider is there to help. Anyone who has used other video conferencing platforms or chatted with friends over Skype or FaceTime, should feel very comfortable on the VMT app.
One of the ways we as a country are dealing with the effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our professional lives and future planning is by using various technologies to support us in continuing as much business as possible. We know that life will return to normal again and when it does, we want to be sure that we are supporting our corporate clients and their relocating employees with helpful tools that keep them moving forward. While relocations may be on pause for some, moves are still being performed as an essential service. For those with employee relocations on the books for the months ahead, offering virtual surveys to their relocating employees can help to keep the process moving so that when their moving day arrives, they have everything in place.
If you have questions about how to best plan for your future employee relocations through a corporate relocation program and policy development, please contact Bobbi Maniglia at Bobbi.Maniglia@northamerican.com .
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