The White Glove Treatment

By | March 28, 2015

I recently attended a conference, and was intrigued when a speaker discussed the White Glove treatment.  He explained how his organization was inefficient in the onboarding process.  He exclaimed: “Quite honestly, I can’t believe we have any business at all.  We are so bad at bringing on new customers.”

Transitioning new customers is a critical function for all organizations.  Marketing has identified the target market, and the sales team has matched the product or service with the customer’s needs.  In essence, the expensive and time-consuming work has been done.

The customer has paid, and is ready to reap the benefits.  Your onboarding team must get to work, and make sure the buyer is provided with the tools, techniques, and training particular to their purchase.

Keep the Customer on the Forefront
Not too long ago, I approved the purchase of a customer relationship management (CRM) product.  As part of the initial investment, we were provided with six one-hour training sessions.  The training specialist contacted me, and we confirmed the first appointment.

The conversation went something like this:

Chase: Hi, Jimmie.

Me: Hey, Chase.

Chase: We are scheduled for six sessions, and the first one is this Thursday at 4 pm Pacific time.  I have a busy schedule, and we might have to hold this time slot for the rest of the sessions.

Me: I’m not sure if my team can always meet during this time.  That’s 2 pm Central. By the way, I have a team in The Philippines, and they must also attend this training. Do you have any flexibility with the time?

Chase: I’ll see what I can do.  By the way, I’m out of the office next week because my wife and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. We’re heading to Cancun.  So, we can meet this Thursday, and I’ll bet back with you when I get back to confirm our next training.

Me: Well, we really can’t miss a week. We just made a big investment in this CRM, and we need to launch it quickly.

Chase: I understand, but you’re not going to miss out on much. I recommend you go through the online tutorials and jot down any questions you have for me.  We can address them when I return from the Cancun trip.

The first training session was high-level, and I could tell that Chase was daydreaming about the Cancun vacation.  He was going through the motions, asking canned questions, showing little interest regarding our business.  I’m certain he didn’t study our website to learn more about us and our clientele.

We skipped the week that Chase returned from his vacation because he had too many items on his plate.  He apologized, and finally scheduled us for our second training.  By this time, we had all forgotten what we learned during the initial session.  Chase reassured us that we would be fine.

Unfortunately, the CRM training failed to prepare our team to maximize the benefits of the service.  We implemented some of the features, but didn’t have the skills and knowledge to leverage the full functionality of the CRM.  Within a few months, we decided to pursue other alternatives.

The speaker during the conference reminded me of this CRM experience.  The White Glove treatment would ensure that we had the knowledge to maximize the functionality of the cloud-driven service.  Chase should put the customer first and follow-up with us, even after the paid training sessions were complete.  Not surprisingly, I never heard from Chase or anyone else in the company after we decided to cancel the service.

In short, those practicing the White Glove treatment have the potential to capture a larger market share, largely because few organizations are focused on the needs of the customer.

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