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Top 10 Moving Customer Complaints

Posted in: I'm a Mover, Customer Service, Operations

Giving the People What They Want

HireAHelper has almost 40,000 customer reviews now.

Yup, our customers – your customers – are definitely speaking out. And what’s really cool is that the great majority of them are giving 5-Star feedback. We are proud of what you guys have done out there, and we are excited about what this means as we continue to move forward and grow.

The Good – What Customers Want

So what exactly is it that makes our customers happy? Here are a few quotes from actual reviews:

John was on time – 6am – and we were on a tight schedule. He worked hard and steadily.

“They were extremely polite and respectful in every way.”

“They were exceptionally careful with our items.

They were late…but called me to let me know when they would arrive.

“Everything was received 1000 miles away without scratch or any sign of damage.”

The Bad – Top 10 Things Customers Don’t Want

We love great reviews, and you guys get plenty of them. Of course we all know that not every move goes perfectly. Things happen. We are human. And guess what? We have never had a customer complain about their helpers being human.

So what are our top moving customer complaints? Here are the Top 10 as we see them.

1. Showing up late for a job. (No kidding, right?) But let’s think about it. Fifteen minutes might not seem like a big deal to us – we know we can get the job done. But the same fifteen minutes can totally stress the customer out. They end up looking out their window, wondering when or if their movers are going to get there…and they start to sweat, imagining the worst…and their blood pressure starts skyrocketing… And it won’t just drop right back down to normal when we do show up because already the move has gotten off on the wrong foot and the customer – without even realizing it – will start looking for other ways the move is going to go wrong. And this makes for a tougher day all around.

To be sure, not all customers will have a coronary over fifteen minutes. But for some it’s the beginning of the end. Then it becomes easier to complain about other things. A quick phone call takes care of this.

2. Underestimating the job. The importance of communication comes into play as soon as a customer places their order. Why? Because we need to know exactly what is waiting for us. While it is possible to get a pretty fair estimate of the job over the phone, some customers place their order for service online. This makes it a lot harder to know for sure the size of the job and the nature of the situation (i.e. long carries, stairs, unusual or heavy items) we’ll be faced with. Customers don’t like it – and don’t understand it – when what they estimated to be a two-hour job takes us six.

Going over the details of the job with the customer when we make our confirmation call can help put everyone’s expectations more in line with reality. To learn how to better estimate job times over the phone, check out our article on “How To Predict Job Times” in our Movers Academy.

3. Not being in uniform. Once, long ago, I wore blue jeans to go with my navy blue moving company t-shirt. My boss said I looked like I was a day-laborer they picked up off the street. And I had to agree.

This is certainly not to say blue jeans are bad or wrong. The point was, everyone else had dark blue pants on. And this made me look like, well, a guy from off the street who was given a t-shirt.

Customers are impressed – or not – by how we look. How well we do our job may be the most important thing but customers do mention now and then that they expected a uniformed crew and didn’t get one. Like a courtesy call to say we’re on the way, a professional appearance goes a long way.

4. Not bringing the correct (or enough) equipment. This can also be a result of not going over the details of the move with the customer beforehand. Forgot to bring your hand truck? Or only brought one when you could have used three? Not the end of the world though your day just got harder.

More troubling is when we don’t have tools to disassemble that big oak bed frame, or a reefer dolly to get that armoire down the curved staircase, or a piano board for the baby grand. Didn’t you guys know about this? In the customer’s eyes, we should have.

5. Not using furniture pads. OR not using all of them…especially when the customer supplies them. Maybe we’ve pad-wrapped every last piece of furniture, every last major appliance, every bicycle and outdoor grill in sight. But if something shows up scratched or gouged on the other end and there is a stack of unused pads sitting in the corner of the truck the customer can easily believe we could have done more.

Overwrapping stuff can seem a waste of time. Under-wrapping stuff, even if only in the customer’s opinion, is a waste of their money. They want those pads they rented (or bought) to be put to use.

6. Slow/Inefficient Movers – particularly when the customer is paying by the hour. We’ve all heard the comments by our more impressed customers. You guys are amazing. Don’t you ever get tired? You don’t waste any steps, do you? I’m exhausted just watching you guys work! And it isn’t because we’re running up and down the stairs and long-jumping onto and off of the truck. It’s that steady pace that impresses.

I’ve been on jobs that take forever. Jobs that seem to never want to end. But even on these the customer knows if we’re hustling. And they can see just as well when we’re not.

7. Damaged & Lost Stuff. No one should be surprised that this is a big one. That we handle everything with care is one of our customer’s biggest concerns. That everything gets to their new home is the other.

8. Damage to the Customer’s Home. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the home they are moving out of or the one they are moving into. No customer wants or needs the added stress of dealing with scratched hardwood or a hole in the sheet rock. That their insurance may cover it (and few people know for sure) doesn’t erase the headache of taking care of it.

If the damage is to the place they are moving out of, then it has to be dealt with from a distance which is no picnic. If the damage is to the place they are moving into then not only is it one more headache, they are now standing there looking at you, thinking – or saying out loud – Look what you just did to our new home!

That’s no picnic either.

9. Not understanding insurance. What’s the only thing worse than a customer finding out their antique Victorian wingback chair with the lion’s paw feet is now a three-legged animal? That same customer finding out that their insurance doesn’t cover it.

Make it a point to be able to explain all the ins and outs of the coverage HireAHelper makes available to the customer. It’s all right here.

10. Surprise charges/Higher final cost. When we are simply charging by the hour there shouldn’t be any real surprises on the bill. But what other things do we charge for? Shrink wrap? Equipment rental? Does the customer understand when our hourly meter starts and stops?

Explaining everything may not even be enough. With everything in writing, shown to the customer as we explain it all, we can head off any misunderstandings down the road and avoid one of the most common moving customer complaints.

And of course there’s… Not Showing Up

No excuses for this. Keep in mind that no-shows will display on your HireAHelper public profile for 1 year. They used to only display for 6 months, but we’ve upped it to 1 year. You should take hitting that “Accept” button really seriously. Because if you cancel after that, it counts as a “no-show,” and that thing will be a shiny black eye on your profile for 1 whole year for all potential customers to see. Seem harsh? Yeah, well, nothing pisses off the customer more than no-shows, especially on the day of their move. Seriously, you should hear some of the calls we get. If you find a HireAHelper CSR curled up under their desk in the fetal position rocking back and forth softly whimpering, they most likely just got off a no-show call.

If something happens – and hey, we’re all in the same business, we’ve all been through those days from hell – prevent the fall from bad to worse and pick up that phone. Call the customer. Call us! Our first priority is taking care of our customers, and that’s what we need to do. The rest we can sort out later.

These common complaints are not exclusive to HireAHelper by the way. Check out this Consumer Affairs rundown of various moving companies – including the likes of United, Allied and North American – and you’ll see these same moving customer complaints again and again. Something else you might notice is the problem some people have had with not knowing who is delivering their stuff on the back end of a long-distance move. This is one way we’ve got the big guys beat. Because we have this industry-shaking community of helpers our customers can choose exactly who they want helping them on both ends.

Which brings us back to the good things our customers are saying.

They like that we come on time. They like that we get to work and don’t waste anyone’s time. They love finding out just how polite and professional the guys they invited into their home turned out to be.

But do they say any more than this? You bet they do.

“They knew exactly how the truck needed to be loaded for maximum space efficiency and minimum shifting during our long drive ahead.”

“Our helpers provided recommendations to better protect my furnishings and valuables for transportation.”

And to sum up what is most important to our customers:

“They were not the cheapest but they were the best!”

That, right there, is what we want to be. The best.

When we live up to our word and our customers’ expectations that is exactly what we are.


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