White gloves have always represented the best of the best. Traditionally worn by royalty, white gloves once indicated privilege. But how did white gloves come into use outside of nobility, and what is white glove customer service?
What is white glove customer service?
Today, white-glove service means premium quality service. But unlike in the past, customer service providers don’t reserve it for high-value customers.
Modern customer service demands you give every customer the white glove experience by making premium support available to all. Every one of your customers is vital to your business, and providing top-class service is a crucial differentiator for your brand in a competitive marketplace. It helps you stand out from the crowd.
But what is white glove customer service characterised by as opposed to regular support? White glove customer service marks a high degree of personalisation, attention to detail, customer convenience, and issue resolution speed. A customer-first mindset tailors your business solution, product, and service to each customer’s unique needs.
It’s also a service concept native to the 21st century. Digital sophistication and advanced analytics make customer insights easy for businesses to access and track. With automation, big data processing, and AI, you can study changing customer needs at every touchpoint of their journey with your brand and meet their needs with empathy, agility, and proactive solutions. The result? Strong customer relationships, satisfied customers, repeat business, organic growth, and a steadily climbing profit margin.
But if analytical data and customer knowledge are easy to access and process, why is white glove customer service not implemented by every business?
Obstacles to white glove customer service
While the customer data and software you need to access insights and tailor solutions are readily available, one of the biggest obstacles to global implementation is the existing mindset of business owners and stakeholders.
Premium customer service is too expensive
Many companies believe that large-scale digitisation in customer care might be too expensive, but this perception is a roadblock to service sophistication. While implementing apps and programs that support advanced analytics might come at a price point, it’s a one-time expense. The resulting savings and profit will quickly outweigh your initial spend on investment. Additionally, digitisation supports your human support team in invaluable ways so that your customer always receives personalised, precise, and proactive service.
Collaboration hurdles between departments
What is white glove customer service without cross-departmental integration? To deliver premium quality service, you need to break down organisational silos that prevent your sales, marketing, product, and IT departments from communicating with each other.
For a small business, this might mean large-scale restructuring for various departments to collaborate transparently and synchronously. You’re more likely to deliver premium customer service with healthy collaboration. However, this kind of inside-out restructuring is what many businesses find even trickier to navigate than spending on increased digitisation.
Reluctance to deepen software investment
Traditional mindset companies continue to view software with scepticism due to a common lack of familiarity with the rapid advancements of technology. However, digital acceleration is moulding the world by the hour, whether your business is prepared for it or not.
Increasing investment in software processes and programs isn’t just necessary for your customer service today; it’s more of a should-have-done-it-yesterday requirement. After all, the pandemic has already made for a more digitally-savvy world.
Strategies for implementing white glove customer service
What is white glove customer service’s primary implementation requirement for any business, regardless of size or industry? At the top of the list is a factor that some companies still need help wrapping their heads around: building a customer-first culture.
According to the CX network, one-third of companies struggle to create a genuine and authentic customer-first culture. But what is white glove customer service’s role in customer-centricity?
White glove customer service keeps your customer at the heart of your business. And customer-centricity is crucial in an ecosystem where companies that surge ahead outperform their competitors in customer experience (CX) and service quality.
A white-glove experience is what customers expect from your brand, as many other brands already provide it. Unfortunately, brand proliferation combined with increased customer expectations has led to many customers abandoning brands after a single negative experience. Failure to deliver impeccable service means losing buyers faster than an apology email or feedback survey can hit their inbox.
So let’s look at ways you can build a customer-first culture and implement white glove service.
1. Create a customer service strategy
Lay out your customer service strategy in a blueprint and then flesh it out to create guidelines for your support initiative. Your service strategy should include a mission statement, team hierarchy and structure, support goals and processes, tools and programs you’ll use, key tracking metrics, and the spend you’re allocating for creating and implementing all of it.
2. Personalise the customer journey
What is white glove customer service without extreme personalisation? To understand your buyers and meet their needs, you must become customer-centric. You can:
- Create a personalised tone of voice for customer interactions.
- Empower agents to be customer-friendly with quick decisions.
- Minimise template responses and encourage agents to speak normally.
- Provide people-skills training for your service team.
- Encourage the team to resolve issues at first contact.
- Assist customers on their favoured social media channels.
- Deliver seamless omnichannel support, from email and live chat to phone.
3. Be attentive to customer feedback
Finally, what is white glove customer service without genuine customer attentiveness? You have to plug the gaps in your service that prevent customers from feeling valued. A customer-first strategy means caring about what your customers have to say by taking on board all the feedback they provide.
With feedback, you need more than just to collect it. Actively request customer suggestions and pay attention to their grievances. Analyse all the data regularly, particularly negative customer reviews. Use it to introduce necessary changes to your CX and products. And stay customer-focused by attentively monitoring the health of your customer satisfaction rate.
Training your team for white glove service
You’ll need your entire service team on board for customers to feel like VIPs. After all, what is white glove customer service without the expert assistance of your support team? Your agents are the ones interacting with customers day after day. They’re the ones who have to implement your ideas in the real world. So let’s look at how you can transfer your service intentions from paper to practice with your support staff.
Provide in-depth training
Create a thorough training module for agents to learn the ins and outs of customer-first service. The introduction module must cover all conceivable topics and scenarios—from problem-solving and assistance to courtesy and ways of addressing customers. Encourage agents to personalise their interactions instead of reading off a script because the human touch is a strong connection between two strangers in a world full of bots. Ensure your training module dots every I and crosses every T on the right service attitude for treating every caller like a VIP.
Schedule practice sessions
It’s one thing to learn service protocol in theory and another to put it into practice. So before you assign your agents to real-time customer support, schedule practice sessions with senior team members so newer ones get hands-on experience with customer request management. The sessions should offer various handling scenarios, from upset customers to complex cases requiring off-script and creative solutions.
Incentivise your agents
Reward your agents for good work so they’re motivated to continue doing it. Bonuses and rewards are also incentives to others on the team to keep customer success in mind while doing their job. While some reviews can highlight areas where individual agent performances need to improve, keep the spotlight on quarterly or biannual performance reviews that reward your team with appropriate kudos and/or bonuses.
Regularise quality assessments
Once your agents are out in the field engaging with customers, remember them. Prioritise customer data collection and perform case studies so you can implement regular quality assessments. These will help you track and monitor the kind of resolutions your team generates, enabling you to improve internal processes and responses. Identify trends or patterns that don’t contribute to white-glove service, so your team knows what to do in even the briefest customer interactions.
Build a learning academy
Finally, you can create an in-house learning academy with regularly updated training courses and upskilling opportunities for your service workforce. Think about how you can facilitate internal growth amongst your agents so that they can build a long-term future within your company. Offering growth opportunities goes a long way towards retaining your top talent, reducing churn, and benefiting your customers with seasoned white-glove service experienced agents.
What restricts white glove customer service?
According to one of our LinkedIn surveys, 47% of customers hate long hold times the most. Other common customer annoyances you should avoid are canned responses, imposing a chatbot on customers without the option of instant human assistance, and ignoring genuine feedback.
Fixing little service impediments like these will go a long way in empowering your team to deliver real white glove service to customers.
What is white glove customer service good for?
When you do it right, white-glove service benefits your business in numerous ways. It can help you:
Reduce your overall call volume
An emphasis on white glove treatment means your agents are trained for proactive assistance and first-contact resolution.
Cut your expenses
By empowering you to tailor smarter solutions for customers, white-glove service is more effective in reducing customers returning with follow-up issues.
Boost customer loyalty
Who wouldn’t return to shop at an establishment where attentive staff treat you with impeccable manners?
Increase your business revenue
You’ll see higher sales with a team focused on needs-based selling and catered recommendations.
The Cocoroco solution
Are you interested in trying it out for yourself? Cocoroco’s next-level customer support solutions empower you to flexibly hire a professional layer of world-class agents to add to your team with burst, seasonal, and full-time options. Book a free demo to see how to bring white glove customer service to your valuable customers today.