BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

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Diane
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BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:45 pm

I just tried to reach a relative and was told that phone service has been temporarily suspended in central Illinois because a central line has been severed--not sure what happened. This may affect anyone who is trying to reach Broadway Express because they are located in the same general area. Service is supposed to be restored this evening. My relative was trying to get by using a cell phone and I suppose that BE may be trying to make some such arrangement as well, but expect delays.

Also, people have been sending me PMs asking why BE and ABF can't give visual estimates or GNTEs as recommended on this website. Please note that these recommendations refer to full-service movers and not to U-Pack, We-Drive movers or rental van companies.

BE and ABF can't give visual estimates because they're located in Illinois and Arkansas, respectively, and they have no agents elsewhere in the U.S. They can't give GNTEs because they can't see your goods. The customer is responsible for estimating how much floor space (linear feet) the goods will take up in the van. It's just as if you were to reserve a Budget or Penske rental truck. You look at your goods and then decide what length van will hold it.

I recommend that people go on the ABF website at http://www.upack.com/estimators.asp and use their Advanced Space Estimator tool to judge how many linear feet to reserve. If you use less, you won't get a refund from BE, but you can usually get one or two more feet if you need it. So if you're using BE, don't reserve too many more feet than you think you will actually use. If you're using ABF, they WILL give you a refund up to a certain point, and you can get as many extra feet as you need because they can adjust the commercial freight they load behind your goods.

IMPORTANT: because of the interior dimensions of the vans, rental vans advertised as being of a certain length hold less goods than ABF and BE vans of the same length. This is explained as follows on the ABF website (it applies to BE also):

ABF's 28 foot trailers are approximately 8 feet wide and 9 feet high. This is significantly larger than most rental trucks for two reasons. First, rental truck measurements are given in bumper-to-bumper measurements while ABF's space is given in the actual space you will be loading. Secondly, ABF's trailers are wider and taller than the standard rental truck size.

The most common thing that I have seen with ABF is that customers reserve slightly too few feet, but it doesn't matter because ABF can adjust the amount of freight loaded behind it. I don't think I've ever seen them reserve too many feet.

The most common thing that I have seen with BE is that customers reserve slightly too many feet, and they have to pay for space that they didn't use. But oddly enough, they don't complain because they're so happy with the driver (who is usually the one who helped them load in such a way as to use fewer feet). See the reviews of BE for evidence of this. I have never seen someone reserve too few feet with BE and then have too many goods to fit on the truck. Not to say that it couldn't happen, only that it hasn't yet happened to anyone posting here.

blue
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Location: USA

Re: BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby blue » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:28 pm

Diane, not sure about BE's operation, but ABF, while headquartered in Arkansas, does have offices/terminals located all over the country. They have sales representatives located in most, if not all those terminals. They obviously choose NOT to do visual inspections on household shipments. And why would they; that would simply increase cost and ultimately prices. They've been successful with this operation without any visual inspections.

blue
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Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:51 pm
Location: USA

Re: BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby blue » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:32 pm

I should add that their (ABF) sales people are freight salesmen (and women). They are not versed in household goods. Again, for them to do visual inspections would only increase costs.

Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:37 pm

Good point(s), Blue. I didn't realize that those people in the terminals were actually considered "sales representatives" because they sound like dispatchers when you talk to them.

blue
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:51 pm
Location: USA

Re: BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby blue » Thu Jul 15, 2004 3:04 pm

You probably ARE speaking with either dispatchers or customer service reps coordinating trailer drops, times, reserving ramps, etc... I really don't think ABF's sales people get involved in the household operation. They are pretty exclusively dedicated to freight sales. At least that's the impression I had when I left LTL some years ago. Having said that, there are some small terminals where the salesman is also the dispatcher is also the customer service rep; but that's another story.

ABF figured out how to fill empty space/lanes with good paying traffic without adding much cost, except for a good effective marketing campaign and some effective customer service.

But back to the point, as long as they can be successful doing this without visual inspections, why not? It takes the heat off some poor salesman who misses the estimate high or low and puts the responsibility squarely on the customer.

mattinla
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Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

Re: BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby mattinla » Thu Jul 15, 2004 6:05 pm

I can tell you from my experience at the ABF terminal in LA, that the people there have no real idea of the household goods operation. All questions I had during my move were basically referred to the main office/toll free number. When I had my hiccup with the container and had to switch to using the standard trailer, the dispatcher, while helpful, could not give me any information on how this was going to affect my price, etc. It is quite clear the household good operation is soley working from the phone base in Arkansas.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: BULLETIN - Phone service down in central Illinois

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 15, 2004 6:21 pm

That was also the impression I had during my move with ABF a year ago. It seemed as if the people in the terminals didn't know much, if anything, about the household goods operation. I've recommended on Epinions that U-Pack customers calling the terminals should always start by saying, "I'm calling in reference to a household goods shipment." I had thought that maybe things were different now, 13 months later, but apparently they aren't.

The people in the ABF terminals, once oriented to my situation, were very pleasant, but I feel that it would be more reassuring to the customer if they were more familiar with what the U-Pack division is doing. Maybe they should be asked to review the www.upack.com website and give the correct answer to a certain percentage of questions about it as part of an on-line training course. (P.S. Having had to pass a number of such on-line courses myself recently, I'm sure that suggestion will make me very popular with the employees.)


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