This week, we spoke remotely with Lori Sculles who’s a veteran of the white delivery industry and has worked with many types of our customers to create or enhance their white glove delivery and installation offerings to their end consumers. Its not as well known that USPack will actually work with a retailer or manufacturer to design their white glove services rather than USPack simply executing the service. From multinational to regional companies, Lori’s background in creating, pricing, and executing a white glove delivery and installation program for consumers is something that’s very rare. It was an interesting and enlightening discussion.
Today I am joined by Lori Sculles. Where are you right now, if you don’t mind telling us, and what is your position with USPack?
I am the Vice President of USP Home Business Development and I’m currently in Central Florida assisting with the launch of our newest facility where we provide white glove services to the Orlando and Tampa areas.
USP Home is a very specialized service that we offer to our customers, and it provides white glove delivery and installation services. What exactly do we mean by White glove delivery and installation?
White glove delivery is the highest, most specialized delivery service that we can provide to a consumer. It means that we’re going to make take care of everything for the consumer. We’re going to handle their product with the utmost care, ensure it’s damage-free. We’re going to unpack it. We’re going to carry up their stairs, set it in place, set it up, and install it. Test it if it’s an electronic and explain to them the usage, and then we’re going to clean up after ourselves. We want to make sure that we remove all of the packaging.
In essence, we’re removing all the inconvenience the customer’s otherwise left with after delivery: hauling the product up the stairs, setting up themselves, cleaning up their messes, they don’t have to do any of that. So that’s the technical definition.
But the reality is white glove delivery is all about customer service. It’s about providing the consumer with the highest level of professionalism and personalized service.
Whereas with other service levels, we’re only in the consumer’s presence for mere minutes. The team, will show up at the door, get a signature, and leave. Sometimes it’s less than 3 minutes. Whereas with our delivery service, with White Glove deliveries, when you’re performing one of these specialized deliveries you could be in that customers home for 30 minutes or even more. And when that’s the case, our teams have to be able to make the consumer feel comfortable and confident in what they’re doing.
In order to provide that, we have to have a higher-level individual making these deliveries too. Because you can teach the technical aspect of the job to most anyone, but the skills required to provide this type of service have to be more ingrained.
We know the expertise, the special personnel that it takes to fulfil this service. And you describe brilliantly exactly what takes place and why the customer wants it. On the brand side, our client who’s asking us to do this for their customers, why is it so important? Why is this such a “high stakes” thing for the brand itself?
Well, the services that we provide, they add value and loyalty to a consumer purchasing experience because in their eyes where we are the customer [USPack’s customer, the brand], we are our customer [brand].
So, when we arrive with the delivery that a consumer purchased at a retailer or direct from manufacturer, it doesn’t matter what name’s on our truck or our uniforms. To them, we’re just an extension of our customer.
Our delivery crews provide the last impression that the consumer is going to have in the entire experience. So even when they’ve already made their purchase – all we do really is provide a service – but if the service we provide is found to be subpar, then the entire purchasing experience can be ruined for them. Whereas on the flip side, if we knock it out of the park, then we’ve just guaranteed the consumers loyalty to that brand.
So with regard to the end consumer who we are servicing with white glove delivery, it begs the question: Have their habits and expectations changed in the last 10 years that would make white glove delivery not just a luxury, but maybe it’s somewhat of an expectation now from those brands to offer this?
Absolutely. The consumers’ expectations have been continually lifted over the last 10 years. They’re less and less willing to be inconvenienced. Online retailers like Amazon combined with technology and enhancements in operational functions, they’ve virtually retrained consumers on what they should expect from purchase and a delivery.
No one wants to pick up the phone anymore to follow a company to say ‘where is my delivery?’ and maybe be put on hold or have to wait for somebody to call him back. They want to get an app and they want to look at where their where their delivery is – they want to see where their team is right then and there.
Likewise, more and more they’re looking for a more bundled experience, which leads us back to what we do with the White Glove deliveries. Today’s consumers don’t want to be inconvenienced more than once, so they’re looking basically for a one-stop-shop.
If you want to make a purchase of any number of large items, whether it’s appliances, furniture, electronics, home gym equipment, etc. and they want to have that product set up for installs.
If they don’t have to deal with it beyond that moment, and coupled with that, they expect and deserve a great customer service experience. A “good” delivery experience just isn’t good enough anymore. It’s got to be a great delivery experience.
Looking into the next 5, 10, or 15 years of consumer expectations, white glove delivery, and brand expectations for their customer experiences, what do you think is around the corner or something really interesting as far as what the whole white glove delivery experience is going to be in the future?
Well, that’s an interesting question. You know there’s a couple of different things happening out there that I think we’re going to be expanding out over the next few years and are going to become more of the norm. The beginnings of that is what a lot of delivery companies are doing now, and customers are requiring, which is photos of their delivery of where we’ve placed it, of the surrounding area where we’ve placed it, so they have photographic proof of what’s been happening in the home.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, because now you have companies like Amazon who have what they a “key” that means you could basically do make deliveries into the consumers’ homes without anybody being there. They can unlock the doors remotely.
I really think that is probably just the beginning of what we’re going to see in the next 10 to 15 years, where consumers will no longer have to be inconvenienced at all. They can still be at their job while you’re making delivery into their home. They can unlock their doors; they’ve got cameras all over to watch what’s happening. They can even communicate with the delivery team. Then they can come home from work and their range is sitting there, installed, ready to use or their furniture is put together.