What You Missed at the AMSA 2017 Conference

Email is dead. Movers are hungry for innovation. Online reviews are still a thorn in our side. The new administration will impact our industry. Incorporating charitable work into your day-to-day is easy.

Those are just a few of the themes frequently heard at the AMSA 2017 Education Conference & Expo in Palm Springs, California. With over 700 people in attendance to learn and network, the conference was one for the ages. We’ve compiled the following highlights in case you weren’t able to join us… 

Useful apps for moving companies

One particularly great session focused on helpful apps to increase productivity, efficiency, and revenue. While the majority of apps are useful for all professionals, we found that a few were especially useful for moving companies. Here are our top picks:

  • Slack. Slack is a fantastic inter-office communication tool that we use here at Updater. With so many fires to put out on a daily basis, email is too slow. Slack’s messaging capabilities will allow your teams to communicate quickly and effectively — without skipping a beat. Plus, it integrates with other tools you may use.
  • Asana, Trello, and Redbooth. In the session, Asana and Trello were both recommended as office project management software options. But at Updater, we use Redbooth. Redbooth enables your in-house office teams to collaborate on projects in real time. Your marketing team can get sales to sign off on campaigns, your sales team can work on monthly reports together, you can track your freelancers, and much more. Redbooth integrates with multiple software systems, including Slack and Gmail, so you can edit and create tasks directly from your email.
  • Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a free tool to help you manage the seemingly overwhelming number of social media platforms and to-dos. When there’s too much to manage, Hootsuite saves the day. You can write, schedule, and post on your chosen social media networks — all within a single platform.
  • Canva. Canva is a personal favorite for Updater and moving companies alike. If you don’t have an in-house graphic design team, Canva will be your new best friend. It’s like graphic design for dummies — so easy that anyone can make beautiful designs. Think postcard mailers, business cards, letterhead, social media graphics, award certificates for top performers, marketing materials for customers, and much more. We love it so much, they used us as a case study!

Technology “chopportunities”

While technology rollouts continue to be a confusing topic for most moving companies, there are many who view tech challenges as opportunities. In addition, technology has changed how the moving industry does business — everything from truck tracking to virtual surveys and automated pricing to Updater. For those reasons, AMSA hosted a technology forum and brainstorm, revealing a handful of insights:

  • A majority of small to medium-sized moving company owners are their own in-house tech teams as well.
  • The most common answer to the question “How do you roll out technology at your company?” was: slowly. All jokes aside, technology is rolled out with caution.
  • When it came to evaluating technology options, most moving companies did so with a thorough investigation. Participants cared about scalability, cost, customization, integrations, API capabilities, training, and service level agreements… among other things. 
  • Moving companies are concerned with the self-driving trucks of the future. What will happen to our truck operators? When will this happen? What does this mean for the cost of our trucks?
  • Investing in technology to satisfy customer demands costs money. Greater costs means greater revenue is needed. However, consumers aren’t willing to pay more, and legitimate moving companies will always have competitors that are willing to take a job for less.

Managing reviews: just do it

As owners, as customer service people, and as marketers, we need to stop complaining about online reviews and start doing something about it. Yelp, Google, and Angie’s List aren’t going away; nor is consumer opinion and the internet as a platform to broadcast that opinion. Therefore, when you get a negative review, respond to it, and handle it like a professional.

Recruiting young talent

Young, talented employees are in high demand. Therefore, your recruiting tactics need to match the level of professionalism you’d like them to exemplify. A few tips:

  • Use targeted Facebook ads — complete with photos of happy employees, not your trucks.
  • Build a recruiting brand and a reputation for excellence.
  • Be proud of your careers page; make it something you’d want your customers to see.
  • Once you hire top talent, treat them as such by investing in their personal development, learning, and career path.
  • Launch and maintain a worthwhile referral program.
  • Create a culture you believe in, filled with celebrations, small perks that make a big difference, and memory-making moments.

Personal highlights from Updater

The AMSA 2017 Education Conference & Expo was an incredible opportunity for learning, networking, giving back, and fun. For the Updater team, that meant:

  • Winning Best Booth (thanks, AMSA!).
  • Participating in the first-ever AMSA Truck Pull for Move for Hunger… in the pouring rain! We may have come in third, but our friends, Team Gentle Giant (with locations including Philadelphia and DC), came in first.
  • Hosting the AMSA party to end all parties with our partner, Move for Hunger, at the appropriately named Bar — along with a BBQ buffet, live music, outdoor games, and more.

Thank you to AMSA for an unforgettable conference! Another fantastic year in the books.