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Putting people before process

Nov 13, 2017
How Gerson Relocation is deploying video survey technology to offer even more value to its clients, By Damien Seaman, Head of Brand at Buzzmove.

With the impact of Brexit and global terrorism, the international relocation market is tougher than it’s been in years. For example, one recent poll by Ipsos for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council found that only 18% of employees would move abroad for work. That’s a drop of 7% since 2012.   

Can technology help relocation companies to compete and thrive in this challenging market? I talked to Mark Rising, Group Sales and Marketing Director at AGM Group about this topic – and particularly how Gerson Relocation are planning to use video survey technology, but also how the other AGM companies, i.e. Momentous and Abels, can use this technology.  

I asked Mark how important technology was for his business.  He said that technology has changed the landscape not only from a supplier but also a customer perspective, without doubt it has been a force for good, however it depends how it is used. “As a supplier technology does enable us to be better, more efficient and more streamlined, but that’s not all it is,” he said.  “It’s the combination of good technology and highly trained people that enables us to be ‘phenomenal’. If we explore the changes the video survey has brought to the moving marketplace it would be very easy to use this to simply reduce costs, however we are looking at how we can use this, along with other technology tools, to help us provide a better solution for our customers.”  

So, does that mean that technology is increasingly important to clients too?  “Absolutely,” said Mark, “but it depends on the client you’re talking about.” He explained that this could be the corporate multinational business, the HR or mobility team in that organisation, as well as the family that is moving. “Technology enhances the level and speed of support in all these cases. It helps provide data for the reassurance towards compliance, risk and security to everyone involved. The right data can give various stakeholders including mobility, reward and procurement departments, better insights into costs, service usage, performance as well as helping mobility to develop the right policies for their mobile population.”  

Mark said that all technologies can be used to drive value through to the end user and that doesn’t just mean charging less than someone else. “It’s how you communicate, how efficient you are, and how you can assist people to have a better relocation programme and families a better move. It’s about creating a value proposition that has a positive impact on the business and the individual.”  

“Video technology if used effectively can assist with service efficiencies, it allows us to provide a service equal to a face-to-face personal pre-move survey in a more flexible way,” Mark explained.  “For instance, imagine a situation where a customer is in a remote or inaccessible location, is time poor through work or a short notice requirement, has a multilingual requirement or simply does not want to meet on a face-to face basis or if they are only moving a small volume of personal belongings – do these customers deserve any less of a service? Absolutely not. So, we can now use video surveys to remedy that.”  

Gerson Relocation recently won the award for International Relocation Company of the Year at this year’s Re:locate Awards. I asked Mark why he thought his company had won.  “This may sound corny, but it’s not just because we have such a low insurance claims ratio, or because we have better than 98% customer satisfaction rating: it’s because we proved how much we invest in the training of our people. Technology is great, but it’s nothing unless you can merge the contributions of the right technology with the right people.”    

Re:locate said: “Gerson Relocation was an example of a firm that put people before process, and its commitment to a people-centred approach shone through in this entry. The efforts made by Gerson Relocation to improve service provision had provided a highly responsive approach to its clients’ needs. Integration between companies in the [AGM] Group is demonstrated so as to provide a seamless and consistent level of service delivery. A clear winner!"  

I wondered what extra services Mark expected to be offering in the future through the use of video technology.  “We are looking closely into how we can use and develop the technology more widely,” he said.  “I feel strongly that we keep developing technology as a tool to drive greater value to our customers. I also believe, virtual reality and artificial intelligence applications potentially have the power to transform our industry sooner than most of us think, and that’s where I believe we’re ultimately heading.  Today, with our eyes and ears wide open we are learning where and how. We are also talking to other industries and seeing how they are using technology intelligently to add value. Our ultimate goal is to continue to give customers what they need, and ensure we can be market competitive in a world that embraces and invests in technology and people.”  

Technology in the removals industry is the theme of this year’s Movers & Storers Show on 8 and 9 November.  Buzzmove will be there, exhibiting its Gobuzzsurvey video survey tool at stand B1.  

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