I’ve run across some interesting brands lately, so I decided to start a “limited series” about these brands and what they’re doing differently to create unexpected experiences in their industries.
First up is a company that came across my desk via their CEO, Ron Holt: Pink Zebra Moving.
When was the last time you moved to a new home? How would you describe that experience? What were the biggest pain points of the experience?
It’s been a while since I moved into a new home, but I remember the experience all too well. And I know some folks who moved recently, and their experiences echoed mine from 20 years ago. Nothing has changed.
What are the three biggest expectations people have when they hire a moving company? I’d lump them into three buckets:
- The quote: How much will it cost? How will I know if the quote is fair? How long will it take? And will it be what they say it is, or will they show up a week later? And charge thousands more?
- The quality of the move: Who are their employees? Do they have the skills and experience to move my belongings with ease? Will they take care of my origination location? Will they be careful at my destination location? How will they ensure my belongings arrive undamaged? How do they handle damages? Will they report it or just ignore it if they damage something?
- Professionalism: Are they reliable, professional, and trustworthy? How can I be sure that I can trust them? Will I have to worry about my valuables, theft, damages? Will they do what they say they are going to do? Will they communicate proactively and frequently? Is it going to be easy to contact customer service and get issues resolved, should they arise?
Let me know if you have any other concerns or expectations when you hire a moving company. The moving industry definitely has it’s work cut out for it when it comes to the customer experience.
PINK ZEBRA MOVING STORY
So, when Ron reached out to me about his moving company, Pink Zebra Moving, and his goals to disrupt the moving industry by addressing those concerns and making it a great experience, my ears perked up. We spoke a few weeks ago, and it’s a great business story!
Pink Zebra’s story began when Ron learned about how his mother-in-law got scammed by a moving company. Her story speaks to the first expectation noted about: the original estimate she received for the move was $900, but the final bill ended up around $3000!
After researching that particular moving company, he discovered this company wasn’t the only one scamming its customers. Ron knew there had to be a better way. So he’s on a mission “to disrupt the local moving industry in such a remarkable manner that someone will one day write a book about our story.”
Let’s start with a blog post and see what happens from there!
He had previously started and sold a successful cleaning business, so that entrepreneurial experience paved the way for what is now a growing moving business, with eight locations (mostly in the Southeast) and more on the way (approximately 10-15 franchises planned per year). The early franchisees are helping to pilot and test many of the concepts that make Pink Zebra different.
HOW PINK ZEBRA IS DIFFERENT
There are a lot of surprise-and-delight types of things that Pink Zebra does that makes them stand out as a moving company. They include things like:
- Providing customers with a surprise dinner the night before the move – for free.
- Leaving behind a moving box filled with personalized custom gifts and sweet goodies. There are some great stories with regards to the custom gifts to make that point that they listen and have taken the time to get the know the customer.
- “Tailgating” with customers before the move starts.
- Playing ice cream truck music from their trucks – and giving away free ice cream if anyone comes to the truck asking for it.
- Entertaining customers with dancing and singing.
- Giving customers a zebra-striped, branded roll of toilet paper for each bathroom in the house.
- Building relationships with fun and humor.
- Creating lifelong friendships by engaging before, during, and after the move.
- Hiring employees (not just anyone but the right employees) for the business rather than relying on transitory workers or independent contractors.
- Training employees extensively to deliver the intended and desired experience. The training even includes a CX certification program.
- Asking for feedback during the onboarding process, during tailgating, and after the move
- Providing everything that franchisees need to run their businesses. “We try to do everything for our franchisees except the move.”
While that may all (for the most part) sound like fun and games (and it is), it’s a serious business that seriously takes care of its customers – and its customers’ belongings.
WHAT ELSE IS DIFFERENT?
The last point above about franchisees is critical to this business model. Pink Zebra franchisees are involved, engaged, and supported. This is a point of pride and a critical factor in the success of the business. This is also a point of differentiation, as they want the entire moving industry to use this business model.
They spent a lot of time documenting the systems and the tasks that have made them successful. These systems allow the business owner to run the business; without them, the business would run them. They consider their operations manual “a foundational tool that automates most functions within the business.” If used by others in the business, it will revolutionize the moving industry.
They also spend a lot of time training their franchisees. With Ron’s experience franchising his cleaning business, he knows what franchisees need to set up operations and to keep them running smoothly. Taking what he’s learned and teaching franchisees the ropes ensures their businesses have a solid foundation for success. Upon execution of the franchise agreement, franchisees are required to attend Pink Zebra University – and graduate. They are also required to attend ten days of classroom and on-the-job training. Once the business opens, franchisees receive continuous support from the corporate office. And the corporate team looks forward to hearing from franchisees about what’s working and what’s not when it comes to delivering a great customer experience.
I love that they haven’t forgotten that the franchise experience is just as important as the customer experience! Actually, like the employee experience, the franchise experience ends up driving the customer experience.
Have you had experience with Pink Zebra Moving? I’d love to hear about it, if you have!
Those who disrupt their industries change consumer behavior, alter economics, and transform lives. ~ Heather Simmons
Related: Navigating Market Volatility: Strategies for Advising Successful Long-Term Investing