Keeping Movers And Customers In The Authentication Loop

Consumers increasingly use on-demand moving services for last-mile delivery. That requires a double-binding trust: trusting movers to handle items with care, and movers’ trust of consumers to provide a safe work environment and pay them. In the new Digital Identity Tracker, Kristin Smith, COO of on-demand moving service Dolly, discusses how tech is making the authentication of movers and consumers less of a moving target.

Many customers find themselves asking the same question when they want to purchase a couch, bedframe or other large item from an online marketplace like Craigslist or Letgo: How do I pick it up and deliver it to my home?

A series of on-demand apps that summon drivers and moving professionals have cropped up in recent years, addressing the needs of consumers without access to vehicles that can fit and transport bulky items. While these services offer convenience, all parties involved need to feel confident in the process.

Customers need to know that drivers are who they claim to be, that they can feel comfortable having these movers enter their homes and that they are operating roadworthy vehicles that will keep their purchases safe. Professionals, on the other hand, need to trust they will be paid for their services, that their work environments are safe and that they can feel confident working with other moving professionals who have been paired with them on jobs.

Problems at any point in the hiring and delivery process can undermine the on-demand moving market, said Kristin Smith, chief operating officer at Dolly — a platform that connects truck owners with users who need help moving items from place to place. Smith recently spoke with PYMNTS about how Dolly’s hiring platform ensures professional authentication throughout the moving journey.

“Trust is paramount to what we do,” Smith said. “We’ve built in a lot of feedback mechanisms to make sure the upfront verification and what happens after that is going according to plan.”

Keeping Customers and Workers in the Feedback Loop

Dolly’s mobile app allows users to find a local driver, known as a Helper, who has access to a pickup truck or a cargo van. The company also enables those who do not own trucks to find work as “Hands” to assist with moving items.

To ensure that the Helpers and Hands are who they say they are, the company thoroughly evaluates them before they can access the platform and find work. Before the onboarding process can begin, the company requires workers to provide photos, proof of identity and proof of vehicle insurance up front. Dolly then contacts applicants to complete background checks. After these steps are finished, the company seeks feedback from all parties to continuously ensure that Helpers and Hands stay authenticated.

“A background check will only tell you what [someone] got caught for in the past,” Smith said. “We built a lot of feedback loops in the execution to make sure that the person who is getting on the platform is the one [who shows up for a Dolly assignment].”

These feedback loops enable customers to view photos of the Helpers and Hands assigned to their tasks on their smartphones. If customers encounter someone who does not match that description, they can communicate the issue directly through Dolly’s platform.

“We have their cellphone numbers, their device IDs and a number of other things to make sure that only people who are authorized to be on the platform have access,” she said. “If [someone tries to] go around it, the feedback [loops] make sure we catch that as quickly as possible.”

Helping Hands and Helpers Trust Each Other

The platform’s feedback loops also work to the advantage of the professionals. They allow Helpers and Hands to feel more confident about who they are working with, even though they might not have any prior history together. This assurance helps Dolly’s moving professionals feel more confident about accepting assignments.

“The stakes are higher in terms of what bad actors can do if we aren’t careful and thinking about the mechanisms, feedback loops and the follow-up on feedback loops,” Smith noted. “We need to stay vigilant and keep thinking about how else we could know and anticipate things and head them off before they happen — or be incredibly responsive when we see something that might be happening.”

After an assignment is completed, the feedback loops continue via customer reviews. This communication, according to Smith, helps Dolly understand customers’ experiences and stay on top of potential problems.

“The risk is too high for us to not execute on every single feedback loop or every single warning sign,” she said.

For customers who are purchasing large items that need to be delivered, an ongoing effort to authenticate the people involved is an effective way to stay in the loop.