Overall customer satisfaction with full-service moving companies has improved by 16 points this year from 2008
, according to a study released by J.D. Power and Associates. Customers also reported fewer lost or damaged goods, a decrease to less than one-third from nearly one-half in 2008

The 2009 Full-Service Moving Company Customer Satisfaction Study found that customers were increasingly satisfied in all five areas of measurement, including shipping estimate process, packing services, loading and unloading service, transportation of belongings and insurance/valuation coverage. The study polls customers who have used a moving company to haul their household goods in the past year.

"In the current economy, consumers may be tempted to pack and transport their belongings themselves; however using a full-service moving company to orchestrate and execute a move can be a smart economic decision and provide them with valuable peace of mind," said Michael Drago, director of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Moving companies have reduced their lost and damaged items rates, but if any does occur, the customer is typically protected or insured to some extent through the moving company, which can help mitigate a problematic move."

Among those companies showing the most improvement from 2008, Mayflower Transit was at the top with a score of 831, followed by Allied Van Lines with a score of 812.

The study also reported that when choosing a moving company, customers consider shipping estimates to be the most important factor. When comparing shipping estimates that are received in-person, online or over the phone, customers tended to prefer in-person and online, with average scores of 807 and 805, respectively. Meanwhile, estimates over the phone received averages 12 to 14 points lower than the other two methods.

"Savvy customers recognize that the initial quote process provides more than just a price point to use in differentiating among the moving companies under consideration," said Drago. "The process offers insight into what it will be like to work with each company, as well as how accommodating, comprehensive and proactive they are. The price that is quoted is important, but the process is equally as revealing."

The study is based on responses from nearly 1,500 customers, and was fielded between April and June 2009.

More info: JDPower.com