How to deliver white glove customer service
White glove service is a phrase that conjures images of grandeur, like the famous Plaza Hotel bellhops in New York or a distinguished sommelier in a Michelin star restaurant in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the expectation of white glove service has fallen flat when it comes to the financial services industry. After years of lackluster service at their bank, consumers and small business owners are disenchanted with – and wary of – traditional financial institutions.
Seeing an opportunity to build something better, a new wave of online, nonbank fintech companies – like Funding Circle – have emerged using innovative technology and creative thinking to reinvigorate an archaic industry’s passion for service.
At Funding Circle, we don’t understand why other financial services companies have left ‘white glove’ service out of their vocabularies. We are dedicated to bringing back white glove service to the industry by championing the interests of small businesses and building a financial brand people can love.
Every day, we work with thousands of small business owners across America and help them secure the financing they need to grow and prosper in their local communities. To that end, we’re constantly challenging ourselves to raise the bar when it comes to delivering best-in-class service.
Here are three examples of how you may want to consider delivering white glove customer service in your business:
1. Create memorable, white glove service moments.
Customers don’t just buy your products; they buy feelings and solutions and experiences. If you find yourself in a tricky situation – and you will – look for ways you can turn minor glitches into truly memorable moments for customers.
Put into practice: After guiding a New York antique store through our application process, we experienced some technical issues electronically delivering the closing documents. One of our team members was heading on vacation to the New York area later that week to visit family, so he offered to deliver the closing documents in person. He did just that, stopping at the borrower’s Upper West Side apartment with the documents in hand to finalize the deal.
2. Celebrate your customers’ successes.
Success is oftentimes a series of small wins. It’s important to celebrate each and every one with your customers as you take them through the sales funnel.
Put into practice: Funding Circle recently funded a bicycle shop in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, a member of our borrower team who took the small business applicant through our application process, had just booked a trip to the area. He decided to stop in and shake the hand of the borrower who he had worked closely with to get the deal done. Afterward, they shared a few drinks together on the Venice boardwalk to celebrate.
3. Look for creative ways to surprise and delight your customers.
Want to set yourself apart from the competition? Do something kind and unexpected to show that you really care about your customers.
Put into practice: One of our borrowers mentioned that he was in the running for the ‘Best Sandwich in San Francisco’ award from a local newspaper. Instead of simply wishing him luck in the contest, a member of our borrower team organized an email campaign in our office to encourage our friends and family to try the sandwich shop and vote in the competition. Shortly after, the restaurant was named ‘Best Sandwich in San Francisco’ for 2014, in part thanks to Calley’s effort to go above and beyond.
Offering white glove service is as simple as it sounds: treating customers with respect, following-up when you say you will, answering questions honestly, and setting expectations appropriately. And, if and when you somehow fail to live up to your commitment to service, do everything in your power to learn from those shortfalls and knock it out of the park the next time.