E-Commerce, News, Technology

3 Keys to Excellent White Glove Delivery Programs

Consumer demand has fueled an increased need for white glove delivery for home items that need installation and setup: kitchen appliances, furniture, fitness equipment, and much more. White glove delivery is the ultimate high stakes brand experience; it can go wrong if not thoughtfully executed or win customers for life if done right. With multiple customer experience variables to juggle, here are 3 keys to providing a great service for customers.

1. It’s a customer service experience, not a delivery.

While it’s true you are delivering a product to the customer, that’s the wrong mindset to have when crafting a successful white glove delivery program. White glove is all about customer service – the same you might provide in a store location. The white glove delivery team who is interacting with customers at their homes is an extension of the brand and the overall experience of the purchase.

If the customer has a great experience with a white glove delivery, brands can win new, loyal customers for life.

Training for your white glove delivery program should involve all the technical aspects of safe and precise delivery and setup of the purchase item. On top of all those technical aspects that can change for each delivery depending on the item and the customer’s home setup, you must implement a rigorous customer service training program at the same time.

There’s an added degree of expectation beyond in-store customer service training. Now you are in the customer’s home where the customer is not just “always right” but they own the floor the delivery team is standing on.

2. Constant delivery team training is important, but finding the right people from day one is the key.

It seems like a no-brainer, but white glove delivery is different from any other delivery experience for two reasons. One, there is a higher degree of variation in delivery protocols due to the infinite variations in products that can be delivered and installed as well as the different layout of each customer’s home. Therefore, your white glove delivery team needs to be technically proficient as well as highly trainable and resourceful.

Two, and more importantly, there is a level of interaction and trust needed between the end customer and the delivery teams that predates the Amazon era. White glove delivery teams are in the customer’s home for 20, 30, sometimes 60 minutes at a time installing and configuring their purchase. They are instructing customers on how to use the product. Companies like Peloton will have their white glove delivery teams walk a customer through their first ride setup – from the clip-in shoes setup, to creating their Peloton account on the touch screen, and even showing the customer some of the features in the Peloton dashboard.

This degree of “delivery” requires a special team of white glove delivery professionals with above-average interpersonal skills mixed with multifaceted practical technical abilities.

3. Communication and customer expectation management starts with the purchase and ends after the final delivery.

In most cases of white glove delivery, the product purchase price is high: $500, $1000, $3000, and higher. This is a major consumer purchase sight unseen over the internet. Expectations are high from the moment they click the submit button on the checkout page. While exact delivery dates can change due to supply chain and inventory issues, customers expect constant communication from the brand throughout the entire experience.

Customers take off work, they cancel family plans, they sit and wait for purchases to be delivered within a certain time window with great anticipation. Any deviation from the set plan of delivery can drop customer satisfaction before they even see the product. Communicating any changes to the delivery timetable needs to be done immediately and with absolute honesty. Do not hedge expectations on the bet that your inventory will replenish in the next few days.

This is especially true in the post-COVID supply chain crunch where some product deliveries are being delayed 12 weeks or more. Do not shy away from the reality of the situation and communicate as many details as you can around the delivery of product. You’ll be surprised how many customers will purchase a product despite months of delivery delay so long as brands openly communicate about the delay and set delivery expectations appropriately.

No other product purchasing experience is as influenced by the delivery process itself. From the customer’s overall perception of the purchasing experience as well as their overall perception of a brand. If the customer has a great experience with a white glove delivery, brands can win new, loyal customers for life. Delivery should never be the bottleneck to your growth. Partner with USPHome to deliver a seamless on-brand experience from purchase to install, enforced by systems & processes.

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