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6 Minute Read

4 Best Practices for White Glove Deliveries

The e-commerce boom and the huge volume increases in online shopping in the last few years have changed a lot about the way that consumers get things like furniture, appliances, exercise equipment, etc. But there are some parts of the traditional retail world that aren’t going away any time soon. Some customers, for instance, will always be in the market for a premium experience that goes above and beyond the level of care and customer service that you see in your typical Amazon Prime delivery.

white glove deliveryIn a brick and mortar location, this kind of service was the sort of thing that businesses could really build their brands on. But in situations where most of the interaction with your brand is happening online, your only real opportunity to offer a premium experience comes during the delivery process. Perhaps that’s why white glove deliveries have been such an important offering for businesses across the spectrum for the past few years: they represent an opportunity to tend to your customers needs in a more personalized way by ensuring courteous, professional, and bespoke delivery and installation experiences for customers who are looking for that extra special touch. 

It should be easy to see the potential added value for brand building here—but orchestrating final mile deliveries is already challenging before you start differentiating your service offerings in this. So how do you easily and successfully incorporate this kind of delivery service into your slate of offerings? 

1. Account for Service Time

One of the things that makes last mile deliveries so hard to get right in the first place is that estimating ETAs is a huge challenge. There’s nothing more irritating than a delivery that doesn’t arrive within the window that the customer was promised, but variations in service time, unpredictable traffic patterns, and complex routing requirements make estimating arrival times a challenge. 

When it comes to white glove deliveries, however, overcoming this challenge is especially crucial; when customers pay for premium services, part of what they’re paying for is confidence that you’ll be able to stick to the timeline you’ve promised. To make this possible, you need to start by correctly estimating and accounting for service time when you plan routes and set ETAs. Since white glove deliveries are typically more involved, there will be longer service times in general, and the service times may also be somewhat more variable. 

route optimization white paper

The trick here is to track white glove service times over time and use them to predict how long technicians will spend on site in the future. An AI-powered logistics software system can be a big help here. As a bonus, you can also set on-site time expectations with customers more effectively, meaning they won’t find themselves looking at their watches wondering how much longer the delivery is going to take.  

2. Communicate Constantly 

White glove is all about expectations. Customers want something more than the typical delivery experience, and you can win customer loyalty by consistently promising great experiences and then actually delivering on them. But making a delivery promise isn’t a one-and-done activity. In other words, it’s not enough to inform your customer at checkout that they should expect their order at a particular date and time. 

Instead, your best bet is to increase confidence by staying in touch with customers on a regular basis throughout the fulfillment process. This might include anything from reminder emails leading up to the delivery, notifications on the delivery itself, and proactive communications any time there’s an update to the delivery status or ETA. Not only does this help the customer stay informed, it also helps them avoid the special kind of delivery anxiety that comes from being kept in the dark. When someone is paying for a premium experience, this helps make sure they feel totally taken care of. 

As a bonus, it gives you an opportunity to set expectations in terms of what to expect when the delivery crew actually arrives.  

3. Stay Flexible

So far, we’ve discussed white glove services as something that customers will select at checkout from other potential delivery options. But sometimes your customers won’t realize until the delivery is already underway that they need a more premium delivery experience. For instance, it might not occur to someone until they see the new bedframe they’ve ordered sitting on their stoop in a single cardboard box that they actually do need help unpacking and assembling their new purchase. 

When situations like these arise, it’s important to stay adaptable and make sure that you’re able to adjust the level of service you’re offering on the fly. This requires you to do a few things:

  • Give drivers the ability to upsell a service within the driver mobile application and have that change be immediately reflected in your delivery data for the day. 
  • Enable drivers to quickly and easily reference checklists for white glove delivery services so they can be sure they’re providing the required level of care and attention to detail. 
  • Monitor deliveries in real time and communicate with customers further down the route who might be impacted by the change in service at the current stop.

Obviously, you don’t want to let one customer’s great experience come at a cost to your other customers—which is why gaining enough last mile visibility to immediately see the impacts of any changes to the plan and work to adjust routes and reset expectations around them is so crucial. 

4. Don’t Forget About Post-Delivery Touchpoints

This is another item that’s important for all last mile deliveries, but can be particularly crucial when it comes to white glove services. Attentive services like these are meant to help deepen relationships with customers—which means that they can’t simply be a one-and-done process. If the customer feels like you’ve forgotten about them after the delivery or installation is finished, they may be less excited about buying again, or at least less likely to rush out and rate your business five stars on Google or Yelp.

Conversely, when you can follow up on a great white glove experience by offering a great post-delivery experience as well, you can solidify the impression of attentive service in the minds of your customers. This can be a matter of simple things like giving customers the chance to fill out a delivery survey and sending a follow-up email after the delivery making sure that they’re still happy with the product or installation. The point is simply to stay connected and make the customer feel taken care of. 

Here, leveraging proof of delivery can also be an important piece of the puzzle. With white glove especially, you want a clear record of the fact that you left the delivery site in great condition—i.e. no scratches on the floor, damage to the products, or excessive mess left in the wake. When you can capture pictures of the delivery site following the completed services, you can ensure that you have exactly such a record—and you can even share it with customers as part of the delivery receipt if needed. 

All of these touchpoints after the fact serve to show customers that your dedication to their satisfaction doesn’t have a hard cutoff—and it makes it clear that lines of communication are still open if needed. When you combine that with exceptional white glove service offerings that meet and exceed expectations, you can more easily delight customers and boost repeat buying. 

DispatchTrack offers the most powerful end-to-end suite of tools for last mile logistics operators. Dispatchers, drivers, customers and clients can access our app on any device to schedule, track, modify and verify your deliveries.

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