A household goods inspector performs an inspection of a household goods pack-out performed by movers recently in Hawaii. They all are practicing social distancing and wearing facemasks in accordance to policies. (Daniel Mayberry)
A household goods inspector performs an inspection of a household goods pack-out performed by movers recently in Hawaii. They all are practicing social distancing and wearing facemasks in accordance to policies. (Daniel Mayberry) (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. (May 26, 2021) -- – Nobody can dispute the value of constructive customer feedback.

Successful organizations and businesses covet the input from questionnaires, polls and satisfaction surveys – viewing it as the best possible avenue for improving services, products and/or delivery methods.

Acting on customer feedback from its constituents, the U.S. Transportation Command is engaged in a reform of its moving and storage services to better support military members and their families.

The Defense Personal Property Management Office – a TransCom asset – oversees the Defense Personnel Property Program, or DP3. It was created to help DOD and Coast Guard personnel and their families better navigate the relocation process.

According to Robert Becker, a traffic management specialist at Logistics Readiness Center - Lee, implementation of several service enhancements is underway. He further noted that it’s a long-term reform program rooted in continuous improvement. Immediate changes include enhanced communication with moving companies, better residential property protections and improved claims processes.

Some of the changes are included in the new Tender of Service mutual agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of moving companies and customers. Property damage is among the issues addressed in the agreement, Becker pointed out.

“The Tender of Service requires moving companies to use floor coverings and pads in entryways and doors to decrease the amount of property damage to residences,” he said. “Also, they’ve implemented checklists. If there is any damage done while the property is picked up or delivered, there’s a checklist that will be completed by the customer and moving company. That cuts down on the damages as well.”

The damage claims filing process also has been streamlined.

“They’ve shortened the timeline from when you submit a claim to when the transportation service provider has to accept it,” Becker said. “If you’ve submitted a counteroffer (for a claim), they’ve cut down the waiting times between responses (to seven days or less).”

The quality inspection program, a key component of customer satisfaction, also was scrutinized and improved.

“We have increased the number of physical inspections conducted by quality control personnel,” Becker said. “We’re trying for a 100-percent in-person (inspection goal), but due to geographical location, we know that’s not really possible because we have military members located out in places like Blacksburg (located in the far west corner of the state).”

Still, Becker said inspectors make it a point to call customers and movers if they are not on location. Additionally, more inspectors have been hired to increase the amount of face-to-face interactions.

Sandra McCandies, LRC-Lee traffic manager, said the increased inspections have garnered immediate feedback.

“The responses from some of the customers are like, ‘Hey, I’ve never had an inspector before,’” she said. “They think it’s awesome someone is representing them on behalf of the government to make sure they have that smooth transition to their next duty station.”

While it wasn’t part of the core reform plan, DP3 began emphasizing COVID-19 protocols last year to protect customers and moving company personnel. Among them on the part of movers are prescreening personnel in accordance with CDC guidelines, and requiring face coverings, social distancing and hand-washing.

Additionally, customers are responsible for wearing face coverings, reducing the number of family members in the home as much as possible and rescheduling moves when family members are ill or have been directed to quarantine.

McCandies further noted how the Tender of Service agreement empowers customers to determine who enters their home, question moving company personnel about protocols and stop moves at any point in the process to reschedule if there is a problematic issue.

A quick synopsis of other moving company requirements imposed as a result of customer feedback is as follows:

• Required floor coverings for high traffic areas, stairs, and entry and interior hallways during pack-out and delivery.

• Availability of a single quality assurance agent Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., plus Saturdays during peak season. Those not present on the job site must respond in 20 minutes or less.

• Security seals applied at the residence for international and containerized domestic moves.

• For loss and damage claims, customers can choose full replacement cost or actual replacement. Movers must provide counter-offers on claim settlements within seven days. Repair deadlines are firm, 20 days to hire and complete in 45 days. There is a 45-day salvage deadline.

• The status of all customer claims must be reported to USTRANSCOM twice per month.

• Set a firm pickup date within a seven-day window provided by the customer.

More robust online support is an additional program enhancement. During the 2021 moving season, customers undertaking permanent changes of station can access info on www.move.mil. The customer service section of that site is where users can ask questions and seek assistance with unresolved issues or concerns. Another website, www.MilitaryOneSources.mil, also provides military move planning guides.

The transportation offices at each installation are another avenue of assistance. There are also service-level support lines for the Army, 800-521-9959; Navy and Marine Corps, 855-444-6683; Air Force, 210-652-3357; and Coast Guard, 833-551-0887. The DP3 Support Center can be reach toll-free at 833-645-6683 (MIL-MOVE). Issues concerning privately-owned vehicles may be addressed to Contact International Auto Logistics at 855-389-9499 or 912-280-6000.

DP3 continues to emphasize the importance of customer satisfaction surveys, again highlighting the power they’ve already yielded. To complete a survey, log into move.mil and select the “Customer Satisfaction Survey” tab or call 800-462-2176, option 1.

Later this year, TransCom will likely announce another phase of its reform package – a Global Household Goods Contract that will further consolidate household goods activities and result in additional service improvements for military families. It is scheduled to be awarded after Sept. 1 but will not take effect until sometime next year.