There are many service providers today who like to use the term “white glove” to separate themselves from the other companies in their industry. White glove moving and storage, white glove delivery, white glove transportation, white glove concierge, are a few of the businesses who use this term. But what does it really mean and, how do we know if it really separates them from their competitors.
Let’s take the term “white glove delivery” and see what people think and, what it really should mean.
The term “White Glove Delivery” is synonymous with service that is extraordinary. When we think about white glove delivery many of us actually have a mental image that the people involved with the white glove delivery service will be wearing “white gloves”.
It is believed that the term “white glove” dates back to the images of butlers and maids with private service.
And, when we think of a butler, these are the common images:
- Dressed Professionally
- Courteous and Polite
- Attentive to Details
- Knows How to Serve
These are the obvious attributes one would expect from a white glove delivery company. However, there is more to white glove delivery than just what you would expect from a butler. Since white glove delivery involves multiple people, transportation, handling, installation and storage, it is a bit more layered.
Here are some of the things you should expect from an elite white glove delivery company:
- Clean and Neat Climate Controlled Storage – A white glove delivery company should have its own receiving warehouse where items can be shipped to until the items are ready to be delivered to the home or business the items are intended for. If a delivery company needs to rely on a “third party” warehouse or self -storage to have items shipped to, they clearly are not white glove delivery. Items can get soiled, damaged and, often times, lost, when the white glove delivery company does not do their own warehouse receiving. I can think of multiple companies who advertise “white glove delivery” who, either have horribly unclean and unkempt storage or, use someone else’s storage. This always ends up being a disaster at the time of delivery.
- Secure Storage – If a delivery company does not have secure storage than they are not a white glove service company. Knowing that the contents that eventually will be delivered are not secure increases the possibility of theft, damage or being ‘misplaced
- Experienced Staff – Just like an experienced and highly trained butler, the staff of a white glove delivery company needs to have experience and training, in order to be truly considered white glove. When the team has little or no experience than the delivery slows down and becomes tedious and, often damages can occur.
- Impeccable Vehicles – We live in an image driven world and, it is often said that “Your perceived image is the reality of that product or service”. Basically this means that you can dress up the staff but, if the white glove delivery company shows up in a graffiti covered truck missing a headlight and has multiple dents and scratches extending the length of the truck…well…we get the picture. I mention this because one time, while we were delivering and installing furnishings to a $20 million home, we were joined by a “white glove delivery” company from a, let’s say, well known large metropolitan area between CT and NJ, and, the truck literally was all of the above. The homeowner refused to let the men in the truck into their home and had us take all of the items that they had driven 1300 miles to delivery, into their expensive new estate.
- Work as a Team – Since white glove delivery almost always involves more than one person, it is important that they all get along. We often will have as many as 6-8 people on a large white glove delivery. If one or two of these people do not get along then the delivery definitely fails to be “white glove’.
- Flexible and Accommodating – This is the ultimate test to see if a delivery company is really white glove delivery. In the world of construction there are never any guarantees that a project will be ready on time. Often the contractor or project manager will tell a designer or homeowner that they will be done on a certain date, only to have the date change, last minute, because of some unforeseen delay. Even though the delivery company was scheduled to send 4 people for 3 days to do the delivery, now they need to make a change at the last minute and reschedule. If that white glove delivery company is as good as they say, they likely are booked with deliveries for up to four weeks. Rescheduling into the following week may be the hardest thing a white glove delivery company can do. Many companies will actually have to call another company to do their delivery. At William C Huff, in over 30 years, this has never happened. It is never easy to juggle a tight schedule around, especially for large deliveries, but, we have always made it a priority to serve our clients with true “white glove delivery” service…
And, by the way, our staff uses “purple” gloves for the delivery. Yes, top museums, who we have been trained by, will use butyl nitrile gloves which keep sweat and oils from our staff’s hands from getting through a conventional cotton white glove, onto the piece that is being protected.