A Few (of Many) Marketing Lessons from Moving Cross Country

I do a lot of research when making decisions — I like to see all my options. There’s so much information at our fingertips, sometimes it can be overwhelming. But it makes me feel more confident that I’ve made the right decision. In approaching things this way I feel I cover all my bases and won’t overlook details.
But I did just that recently — I overlooked an important detail. Although I only hold myself partially accountable. Most of the problem stems from the vendor I chose for not making it easy to work with and especially not setting my expectations appropriately.

Lesson #1: Planning is Key

I moved from Boston to San Diego in January and stayed in an Airbnb for eight months. My belongings were in a storage unit in Boston until I found a more permanent place to call home.
While I was in the Airbnb, I researched moving companies — analyzing all possibilities that I could find. I explored using Pods, driving the belongings myself, or hiring a full-service moving company. I looked at prices, methods, customer reviews, insurance, length of shipping time, and the guarantees. My experience with all of these companies — the ease of contacting and working with them, their level of knowledge, and the comfort level I felt from our conversations helped me make my decision.
After this laborious process, I chose a moving broker. A moving broker estimates the move, manages most of the details, and schedules the carrier. 
I went back to Boston and on August 11, the movers came and packed it in a truck. I took a brief vacation with my family and came back to San Diego about 10 days later. Since the day the stuff was packed, I thought the truck was on its way to the west coast. The timeframe for shipping was most likely going to take about three weeks, I was told. When I did the math, it worked out that I would be in my new place for a few days prior to my things arriving. I could deal with that!
On September 1, I moved into my new apartment with just my clothes and laptop thinking I’d be waiting only a few days.
Just one of two storage units to clear out.

Lesson #1 Summary: Planning is Key

Planning enables you to focus your efforts for the best return. When you spend the time to plan, you are investing in the outcome and giving yourself the best possible chance for success. This applies to growing your business, or any major endeavor. You need to plan — you’re dealing with big ramifications, time constraints, and a budget. But…things can and do go wrong.

Lesson #2: Details Matter

Communicating with the broker has not been satisfactory. The only way I can reach out to them is through the phone, and there’s that three-hour time difference as their headquarters is on the east coast. They do send emails but they are set to “no reply.” There is no live chat feature on their site. Way to go for making it easy to work with you. After they got my deposit, my experience working with them went downhill.
Fast forward to September 7. I was able to contact them about a possible delivery date but this is when I learned that the date I gave them (the day I arrived back in San Diego, August 23) was the “first available delivery date or FADD” and that the contract states they have 30 days from August 23 to deliver the goods. Didn’t know that. Ok, so that means it could be delivered around September 13. I gave up on the original three-week estimate they gave me, which was bogus. 
On September 14, I learned that it’s not 30 days from the FADD, it’s actually 30 BUSINESS days from my FADD. Wow, ok. That’s a big difference.
On September 15, they loaded my belongings into a bigger truck at a warehouse in New Jersey. Wait, what? So, it hadn’t even left the warehouse they brought it to on August 11. I could have gone back to Boston and rented a U-Haul and driven it back and been all settled by now. Noted. Next move — drive the stuff myself.
So…my things sat in New Jersey while I’ve been sitting on a beach chair in my empty living room, watching tv on my laptop on top of an upside down cardboard box. Though, rather than look at it this way, I am grateful to have a roof over my head, access to a microwave, bathroom, and internet. And the yoga mat in the pic below helps with that gratefulness 🙂
The delivery date and shipping time were important details in the process — expectations should have been clearly set by the mover and having not done so, my experience was horrible.

Lesson #2 Summary: Details Matter

Strategy and planning are important. Research is important. But it’s the details that will get you. They can make or break a relationship, a customer experience, even a purchase. Customers will remember details and sometimes, unfortunately, when things go wrong, those details are the reasons why they leave you a bad review vs. a good one. I have mine written and ready to post.

I guess it could be worse, I’ve read reviews of moving companies where they’ve cancelled the moves the night before pickup and all sorts of other horror stories.

But, I reserve the right to change my opinion on whether it could be worse — for if and when I finally do receive my belongings.

p.s. You may not have needed all this detail to get the point, though, it was cathartic for me to write.

Let us know if we can help you plan your next marketing endeavor, we really do pay attention to details.

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