Take a moment to think about your most exquisite experience in fine dining. The maître d’ introduced himself calmly and catered to your every whim. Your server wore black-tie and managed to deliver an experience that went beyond your expectations. This is similar to white glove service. However, the term, white glove, and transportation management sounds a bit odd in an industry dedicated to getting packages to consumers at the cheapest costs possible. While major carriers, like UPS, tend to drop the package off at a client’s doorstep, often without any notification or knock, it just does not go the extra mile. As a result, white glove services and transportation management are starting to become a major trend, and shippers need to know why.
What Exactly Are White Glove Services?
White glove services are the services offered in transportation management that go beyond the standard expectations for delivery. While a consumer may be pleased with seeing a package sitting on the front doorstep when returning home, it is at an added risk. A criminal could have stolen the package, or the package’s contents could perish. They must go beyond the standard delivery in transportation management, and consumers are pushing this trend forward.
This is where the term, white glove services, comes into play. By definition, it refers to the handling of care used when moving products in which the movers or shippers literally wear white gloves to protect the product. In shipping, this translates to taking every precaution necessary and sparing no expense to deliver exactly what a consumer wants without lifting the proverbial finger.
What Products Require White Glove Services?
Products that require white glove service are those that cannot be easily dropped off at the doorstep. Refrigerators, large household appliances, furniture, and expensive electronics are examples. These are products that could be damaged or severely costly if not handled with the utmost care and attention during delivery. Furniture can easily snag and tear on the slightest hook in a doorway, and shippers need to consider using white glove logistics to deliver on the promise of providing exactly what a consumer wants. As a result, shippers should set realistic expectations.
Setting Realistic Expectations in White Glove Service
Part of the problem and challenge in offering white glove services in last mile logistics comes from setting unrealistic expectations. Shippers need to know what to expect when implementing white glove in last mile delivery. While part of this service still relies on the traditional definition of “white glove-wearing delivery professionals,” it must also encompass the ability to interact with drivers and consumers throughout a shipment’s journey. As explained by Jerry Levy of Inbound Logistics, companies and shippers looking to implement white glove services should follow these steps:
- Define the key handling characteristics. This includes things like automated scanning, notifications, or alerts. It should also include touchpoints with consumers.
- Use Metrics to Track Performance. Performance measurement is key to ensuring white glove services are being used and living up to their potential and value.
- Prepare for the worst-case scenario. This allows shippers to plan for every possibility and keep customers happy.
- Define liability. Although it may seem irrelevant, defining liability is key to ensuring carriers and shippers understand the terms and services set forth when using white glove services in transportation management.
What About Liability and Damage Guarantees?
Speaking of liability, white glove service also has major implications for reducing liability and damages incurred during a shipment’s normal last mile delivery. Since last mile delivery of products that require white glove services tend to reflect high-price point items, shippers can reduce their risks associated with the delivery of such products. This translates into lower premiums and fewer claims for the shipper. Quintessentially, your customer complaints and better customer service lead to growth and profitability for the shipper.
Delivery Service and Reverse Logistics Are Part of White Glove Service Too
White glove service also lends itself better, more effective reverse logistics operations. Since fewer returns come in, shippers can identify malfunctioning products and other problems faster, saving time in both the factory and warehouse simultaneously. Thus, white glove services also drive the costs of managing returns and reverse logistics down.
It’s Service Before, During and After Delivery
Understanding white glove service is simple. It takes the service after the cell concept to a whole new level. It is service before, during and after delivery, as well as the traditional sayings revolving around the sale. White glove logistics also build on traditional last mile services, like delivery notification or even the age-old cash-on-delivery options. Since white glove services seek to fulfill customer experiences, including touching base with consumers after delivery to ensure their every whim and expectation is met, shippers are able to better position themselves as superior companies when compared to their competitors.
It can be hard to make the connection between white glove services and last mile deliveries, but the marrying of these services has great potential for shippers looking for ways to remain competitive. In fact, the next post will take a closer look at how white glove services and last mile deliveries go hand-in-hand and rely on one another for continuous improvement.