What is the secret of a successful relocation?
I would like to say the secret is planning; however, some of my best relocations have been last-minute moves that went brilliantly!
I learned long ago that no two moves are ever alike. Just when I think I have heard just about everything, someone surprises me. Everyday challenges range from the mundane–such as meeting dates—to the difficult—such as clearing customs for your client in any country.
So the real secrets are in good communication and having some empathy. Always advise your clients what is going on, even if it may not be what they want to hear. It’s important to understand what they are experiencing.
It starts with that very first phone call. I try to make it as personal and warm as I possibly can. How would I feel if I was moving overseas? I want our clients to be as comfortable as possible to ask me anything that is worrying them. Once the lines of communication are open, they can be as honest as they would like. Are they worried about taking their pets overseas? Is there support for their children to settle in? Where do I get my hair cut? All these things help make the transition easier.
You get to know when a little extra help is needed
Relocating people is a very personal business and there are times when you find you get closely involved…when a crew goes back out to a home because a mother, who just lost her infant baby, cannot find their blankie, and that crew stays up all night searching through every single box until they find it; the crew that pokes holes in a packing box so a little girl’s babies don’t get scared of the dark; when I get to find a fuzzy pink dog for a client who has an autistic daughter and the move-out traumatized her—but the move-in was great because she had an ear to rub; the clients who still send you holiday cards; whenever a customer can make you cry because of the job you did for them; the customer who was so wracked with worry about her move to a foreign country and when all was said and done, she sent you an ornament from that country saying you were her Relocation Fairy. Such times are part of the service, of course, but they are memorable for all the right reasons too.
Customer Service Manager, Los Angeles