DoD Updates: Earlier this year, the Transportation Department said that emotional support animals (ESAs) could no longer fly for free on commercial flights, and you would have to book either a cabin seat or a cargo space for that animal. The AMC pet travel page is now following similar rules to the federal regulations. So you will need to book either an in-cabin space or a cargo spot for that animal. This is specific for Emotional Support Animals, not those who are specifically trained as a seeing-eye dog or other specific need. There are also details in the recent AMC Pet Brochure.
Our Guest: Keo Sar, Chief Revenue Officer from Shyft. I’ve been with Shyft for over a year and a half. I enjoy using technology to enhance the human experience. Working with PCSgrades has been my favorite part of my job so far! I grew up in San Diego, so I’m a little familiar with military families. One summer I worked at the Commissary on the Navy base, and another summer I worked at NASCO where they build the ships. So I look forward to supporting the military community!
Tell me how Shyft came to be, and what they do?
Shyft is the brain child 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 in the industry. 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, in-person surveys inside the home to do an estimate for the move takes time for the moving company and the customer. So we started doing video surveys that you can do from your home, which allows us to build a good inventory and give accurate pricing for our customers. This is for corporations who move and 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 move managed for them.
Walk us through the process for a family doing a PPM (Personally Procured 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 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 take about 30-35 minutes, and can be done from home. Then we can compile an inventory sheet very quickly for them. 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. We vet the movers on our platform up front. 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, so we oversee all stages of your move. We strive to “over-communicate” incase there are any questions or problems throughout the moving process.
The last piece of it is that once your move is complete, if there are any issues, we appoint people to help with settlements on your behalf.
How does your bidding system guarantee quality movers?
Before they 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 trial 30 days, so if they are under-performing or not meeting our standards, then 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 it is possible. That way, we can find as many solutions as possible within our network.
Military 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. So 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 scene 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 coming out of pocket.
High-value inventory is a huge concern for some families. How does your video identify that?
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.
Where can we learn more about Shyft?
Time for a big announcement!!!
PCSgrades has teamed up with Shyft to provide two Grand Prize winners each with a full-service PPM including packing, loading, transportation, and unloading for a stateside-to-stateside PCS! Those are just the two grand prizes! We have more planned for the other prizes, including two $1,000 gift cards from Home Depot, or $750 or $500 gift cards from Home Depot. There will be a total of 10 winners in this contest!
This contest goes from August 15- August 31. We will choose a winner in September. What you do is click on the contest link, go to PCSgrades, and fill out a review about your housing or neighborhood. Then, you will fill out your favorite PCSing story–good, funny, etc. Your reviews help “pay it forward” while helping the military community. Our judges panel will go over the PCS stories and choose winners based on the emotional response and entertainment value of the stories. Spelling and grammar are not part of the judging criteria. Our PCS stories are best-sellers, so we want you to share yours! You can submit more than one PCS story, just leave a new review on PCSgrades with each entry.