GUEST POST BY SUE LATINA-COHEN, GENERAL MANAGER – GLOBAL RELOCATIONS, TOLL
At Toll, we’re on a mission to help move the businesses that move the world. And that’s exactly what our people do every day. With more than 125 years’ experience, and a network spanning 50 countries, 1,200 locations and 40,000 staff, we have the scale – and smarts – to solve any logistics, transport or supply chain challenge.
We support customers with relocation management services, assignment management, destination services, removals management storage of household goods and warranty services, consulting services and supply chain management solutions both here in Australia and across the world.
As a global business with more than 40,000 staff and an obsession with safety, we were very proactive when it came to responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic. In the space of a few days, around 10,000 of our office workers seamlessly transitioned to working from home.
Our frontline teams developed structures and processes to continue safely delivering for our customers and communities, including new protocols such as contactless deliveries, split shifts and social distancing.
Importantly, there was no drop in the high levels of service we provide.
For our division, some of the operational changes required for service delivery included:
- Meeting customers at properties, not riding in the same car for destination services
- Working with reduced viewing times for property showings, assisted by technology
- All parties wearing appropriate PPE in destination and removal settings
- Screening of staff and customers for COVID
While challenging, the pandemic has also created new opportunities for us to support customers and their employees in non-traditional ways.
We’ve seen instances where clients requested us to provide on-the-ground support to expat families who were unexpectedly placed into quarantine with limited local support. In response, our field consultants would run errands, shop for supplies and help wherever we could. We even sourced all the supplies for a seven-year old expat’s quarantine birthday celebration. How our clients viewed us changed. We were no longer just a supplier delivering a particular service, but the reliable source of up-to-date local information and assistance for their people on the ground.
What stood out to me was the realisation that while technology plays an essential and more prominent part in our work, it still can’t completely replace in-person on ground support. At the time, and from a distance, it was understandable why companies would think the requirements would shift exclusively to virtual support but soon the reality of moving someone during COVID revealed that the amount of in-person support required is in fact greater. The assignees sent to a new location during COVID are truly critical to the business and require confidence about their protection and care. Although the online resources are helpful, with constantly changing government regulations and guidelines, market conditions and increased complexity of logistical challenges, there are far more obstacles to relocating which requires greater support. Some of the major challenges we’ve seen relate to visa processing, quarantine requirements, pet transport and housing availability. And as we slowly navigate the pandemic, we don’t envisage these challenges going away any time soon.
We’ve seen innovation shine through and a willingness to adapt to change, around the way we work both in the field and the office – all with safety and service in mind. As you would expect, there has been an increase in the use of online tools and video calling. Toll has made plans for further investment in technology with more customer-facing digital communication and information tools and technology for more efficient processing for staff, including relocation consultants in the field. We see these tools as vital to improving outcomes and efficiencies. That doesn’t mean the need for in person support and assistance will fall, if anything it will increase, as international customers continue to enter unfamiliar communities impacted by COVID.
While we should expect to see changes to the operating environment as the world continues to respond to the pandemic, we are supremely confident that our people and processes will continue to deliver world leading services.
Customers will see the benefits of, new technology. Toll is also exploring new ways of working with suppliers and considering our offering for destination services with a view of expanding our range of services. We will continue to collaborate with our customers so they know what to expect and ensure we know how we can best support them – especially as we see global relocations trending away from the need to move large shipments of goods and more focused on safety, acclimatisation and support for travelling assignees and families.
As a market leader with an extensive global footprint and impressive track record, Toll is dedicated to providing the highest standard of relocation service support without compromising on safety. We have retained our strong base of knowledge and key staff through the challenges of this year. Our business model is strong, and we are investing and innovating in customer service delivery to meet today’s changing market. Our team has shown resilience and innovation, always keeping our customers’ needs top of mind.
If you think we can help your business with a move, please do get in touch.