- Lincoln uses a concierge program to help car shoppers ease through the transition from online shopping to the dealership experience.
- The program is staffed 24 hours by those trained in the hospitality industry.
- In January 2014, 3,315 car shoppers used the service.
DEARBORN, Michigan — Lincoln has borrowed a trick from fancy hotels — a concierge — to help solve the industry dilemma of ensuring a flawless transition from online shopping to the dealership experience.
Lincoln's concierge program, staffed 24 hours by those trained in the hospitality industry, is an online personal-service initiative designed to simplify car shopping and car buying.
When they visit Lincoln.com, shoppers receive an invitation to chat with an online personal assistant based in Melbourne, Florida, either through instant messaging, telephone, e-mail or video chat, where only the concierge is seen.
The concierge answers questions that may range anywhere from, "What is Lincoln Drive Control?" to "Can you tell me more about MyLincoln Touch?"
The concierge also probes to discover vehicle needs, time frame to buy and history, capturing the information for future interactions. Furthermore, Lincoln shoppers can build and price vehicles to their preferences, and store that information to access it at a later date if they are not quite ready to take the next step that day.
Visitors also can see photo galleries, watch videos, and compare vehicles to other in-segment competitors. They may also set up appointments to visit a dealership that will have the exact car preference in stock.
"Today's luxury customers value one thing more than anything else and that's time," Kevin Cour, director of North American Lincoln sales and service operations, told Edmunds. "They save the information so the next time they return, they can make the experience more personal as well as shave time off the conversation, since they don't have to start all over with explaining what they desire.
"When they set foot in a dealership, that salesperson knows exactly what they are seeking because of that relationship with the concierge. The concierge makes sure that if they are interested in a white 2014 MKZ, that's the car that's there to test drive."
Since the program launched in April 2013, the concierges have engaged with over 26,000 clients, more than 2,000 a month. In January 2014, 3,315 used the services.
The personal approach is getting notice. About 77 percent of the clients who completed the post-survey said that the concierge had a positive impact on their decision to purchase.
"The luxury customer is a unique one," Cour said.
Edmunds says: Lincoln is helping car shoppers connect the dots from the online experience to the showroom one.