The old customer service tricks won’t cut it anymore. If you want to delight customers and increase your retention rate, then providing white-glove customer service is a must. By doing so, you’ll surpass expectations and create delightful experiences that keep your clients coming back for more.
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about white-glove customer service and share how you can provide it at your business.
Let’s get started.
What is white-glove customer service?
White-glove customer service is the process of surpassing clients’ expectations by prioritizing their needs, genuinely caring about their success, personalizing their experience, and solving for issues before they arise. The key to providing white-glove service is being exceptional in your care, attention, and attitude toward customers.
In the past, the term “white-glove service” referred to a premium experience that was often given to clients with a high lifetime value. In a traditional setting, you would welcome these customers into the store or restaurants literally wearing white gloves, then cater to their every need and request. These customers were typically affluent and/or provided the company enough revenue to warrant white-glove service.
In other contexts, white-glove service refers to delivering expensive items to the home, assembling it, and setting it up in the right space.
Today, white-glove customer service isn’t about providing a premium experience to your most profitable or valuable buyers. It’s about providing a premium experience to everyone, so that they enjoy the best your company has to offer, remain loyal to your business, and spread positive word-of-mouth about your services.
Next up, let’s take a look at how you can provide white-glove service at your company.
How to Provide White-Glove Customer Service
With so many options out there for products, retailers, and shopping experiences, customers can and will leave a brand if the service isn’t up to expectations. And service organizations are seeing this trend. According to the CX Network, 51% of cx practitioners agree that customers will switch brands if unsatisfied.
The problem? More than one third of organizations find it challenging to build a customer-first culture, which is essential for satisfying your client base.
1. Create a customer service strategy using a template.
For your company to start providing white-glove service, you need to create a customer service strategy that guides every single one of your interactions. Your strategy will inform how you serve your clients and train your service reps moving forward.
Even if you have a strategy, it’s important to improve upon it periodically so that you can boost customer satisfaction.
A strong service strategy includes the following:
Customer Support Vision
Tools and Software
Goals and Metric
Download a premade template with guidance for each of these sections below.
2. Collect customer feedback and learn where you have room to grow.
You need to have an understanding of how well you’re serving customers now, so it’s important to collect feedback from your current client base. That way, you can understand where you’ve met or exceeded expectations, and where you have room to provide a better experience.
3. Personalize the experience throughout the entirety of the customer journey.
As you begin to collect feedback, start implementing personalization strategies (especially in your website and emails) that make your customer feel like you know them personally and want to serve them specifically. While personalization is often correlated with marketing, it’s powerful in a service context, too. In fact, one of the hallmarks of a white-glove service experience is its personalization.
Imagine walking into a clothing store and the employees greet you by name, take your exact measurements, and provide several fabric options that appeal specifically to your tastes. It’ll be easy to feel like the store is doing its best to serve you, right?
That’s our goal when we’re interacting with our customers. We want them to feel like every interaction has been created specifically for them. Calling them by their names, striving to help them succeed, and tailoring every part of their experience are just a few ways to provide white-glove service.
Some tools you might leverage for this step include personalization software and templates that will help you put the customer first.
4. Meet customers’ needs with exactitude and expediency.
When you think of white-glove service, you think of a premium, painless experience that leaves the customer delighted and eager to return to your business. Taking a long time to solve their problems is a sure way to provide a poor experience. Providing a sloppy, cobbled-together solution is another.
By far, the most important thing you can do to provide white-glove customer service is training your reps. They’re the ones who’ll be interfacing your clients and providing the service itself. Let’s take a look at how you can get started.
White-Glove Customer Service Training
The purpose of white-glove customer service training is to get your reps to exceed expectations in each client email and call. This would apply to every interaction customers have with your business, starting from the moment they walk through the door or call your business.
Here’s how you can begin white-glove customer service training at your business.
1. Create a customer service training plan.
First up, create a support training plan that prepares your reps to provide the best possible service. You’ll need to welcome reps, create 100-day goals, and provide an escalation framework if customers need help beyond what your reps can offer. We also recommend investing in the best tools and resources and making those available to your team.
You can expedite the white-glove training process by using a template.
2. Run through customer service exercises with your reps.
Reflective listening, presentations, and simulations can all prepare your service reps to provide white-glove service to customers. Customer service training exercises can make a wealth of a difference in improving how your reps handle interactions.
Your first goal with these exercises is to increase empathy. Even using a few simple empathy phrases can help customers feel heard and appreciated. We also recommend creating an empathy map and using that to guide your exercises.
Your other goal with these exercises is to help your reps communicate a high level of customer appreciation. These elements will make your clients feel like they’re receiving a white-glove experience.
3. Create a call quality assurance program for your team.
While call quality is often connected to corporate call centers, you don’t need to have one to create a call quality assurance program. Even if you monitor the everyday calls your business receives, you can begin to pinpoint patterns that either need to be continued or broken.
The most important part of a call QA program is the feedback cycle. Sit with your reps and present the trends and patterns you’ve found in the calls. These trends will inform how you continue training your reps in the future. With that, they’ll learn how to provide white-glove service in even the smallest of interactions.
4. Give quarterly or biannual performance reviews.
To ensure that your reps are improving at a quicker pace, we recommend providing 2-4 performance reviews per year. That way, your individual service reps can have a much more exponential improvement curve.
Remember that your goal with performance reviews isn’t only to tell them what they did wrong, but also what they did right, so that they can keep doing it.
5. Institute a continuing education program.
Your service reps shouldn’t stop learning after you’re done training. Encourage them to continue their education by providing a monthly or quarterly stipend for them to spend in courses, presentations, and conferences.
By improving their skills, reps can learn to provide a white-glove experience to your customers.
At a loss for what white-glove service can look like at a business? We provide some white-glove service examples below so you can get inspired.
White-Glove Customer Service Examples
The examples below are fictional, but they help illustrate how you can provide white-glove service at your business.
Remember the traditional image of white-glove service: a limo awaiting at the curve, a personalized greeting at a high-end restaurant, a high level of attention and care. No matter your industry, you can emulate these behaviors at your company. Here are some examples.
1. Uber-Personalized Onboarding for a SaaS Product
If you sell a SaaS product that solves for different problems, then providing personalized onboarding is key. That means assigning a customer success manager to the client, providing a list of resources that answer for their specific pain points, and even offering a training session for the staff members who will actually be using the product in their day-to-day.
One example of this would be HubSpot. Our CRM platform is comprised of sales, service, marketing, operations, and content management software.
A customer who purchased Service Hub won’t receive the same exact onboarding steps as a Marketing Hub customer. They’ll receive a walk-through for using Service Hub only, and their customer success manager will help them get the most out of that product so that they can reach their specific goals. In the same way, tailoring your onboarding process to the customer’s specific needs is essential for providing white-glove service.
2. High Attention to Detail for a Home Delivery
When delivering items to your customers’ home — especially high-value items — it’s important to take a high level of care in packaging the products, so that you can reduce damage during transit and create a delightful unpacking experience.
One such example would be from Mark and Fold, a stationery brand based in the United Kingdom. Every single package is hand-wrapped and includes a handwritten receipt and a white ribbon. You can tell how much care they put into each one of their packages because of the images they share on their Instagram:
Try to provide a similar experience by taking exceptional care when packaging your customers’ orders. You may not have to go as far as handwriting notes, but even including a “thank you” slip with a discount code will be enough to provide a white-glove experience.
3. Timely Communication for an In-Person Service
If you visit customers’ homes when you provide your services — or even have them come to you — then communicating with them is key for them to feel like they’re receiving white-glove service. For instance, if you’re on the way, you might give them a call letting them know. Or if you need to reschedule, you might let them know days in advance instead of an hour before the appointment.
I booked them for a last-minute service and received updates every step of the way, down to the moment they pulled into my driveway. The representative was quick, kind, and efficient. This made me feel like I was receiving white-glove service and that the company was truly committed to eliminating the problem in my home.
Try to show a similar commitment to your customers by communicating every step of the way.
White-Glove Service is the Future of Customer Support
White-glove customer service is the next evolution of effective customer support. With the templates and steps we shared in this post, you’ll be well on the way to providing a white-glove experience at your business and creating an army of loyal brand advocates.
Originally published Feb 28, 2022 6:45:00 AM, updated February 28 2022