The sobering reality of ‘white glove service’


Everyone’s technology needs are important. My mission as a Microsoft 365 practitioner, product manager, and Innovation Games facilitator is driven by this belief. Microsoft’s mission statement reflects this truth as well: Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

We strive to make technology more accessible to all. We deliver content in a wide variety of formats, from podcasts to blog posts and online virtual conferences. But there is still a common thread in many of our organizations, a need for more hands-on, specialized help. The desire for dedicated resourcing and specialized support is natural. Who wouldn’t want to have a knowledgeable Microsoft 365 resource on-hand to answer questions, provide demos, and troubleshoot issues immediately? While this desire for ‘white-glove service’ is understandable (and sometimes required for pivotal business needs or users), it cannot scale for all users all the time.

Here’s the reality: if everyone is a special case that deserves white-glove service, then we have no ability to provide white-glove service to anyone. The very notion of white-glove relies on the service provided being unique and exemplary. If this becomes the norm, you’ve lost the ability to provide additional value.

If everyone is a special case that deserves white-glove service, then no one is a special case that gets white-glove service.

So how can we empower our users collectively and individually if we cannot simultaneously provide custom white-glove service to everyone? We must live out loud, providing content and experiences via a variety of mediums to accommodate a wide range of learning styles. And we need to build methodologies for prioritizing additional needs so we can provide white-glove service. We just have to determine when and where to give it.

As technology consumers, we can also do our part. We can leverage existing content to answer our questions. We can research and try and learn independently. And we can provide additional detail that justifies why we need our requests for white-glove service to be fulfilled. Because we all want and need white-glove service from time to time.

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