DEARBORN - When you stay at a luxury hotel, there is concierge on-site available to assist you.
Lincoln is now offering that amenity to clients who visit the brand’s website at www.lincoln.com – a who concierge is available around the clock to assist in creating a highly personal online shopping experience.
“The goal behind the Lincoln 24/7 Online Concierge is to turn what is ordinarily a cold, passive first encounter with a manufacturer into something far more personal and interesting,” said Kevin Cour, manager, Lincoln Sales & Service Operations. “By offering a warm, personal experience we believe we have a higher likelihood of engaging people who are interested in our products and converting that interest into a strong lead for the dealer.”
Cour says studies show that people spend up to eight hours researching a vehicle online. During that time they may visit up to 18 different websites searching for vehicle specifications, competitive information and third-party data.
The Lincoln Concierge service brings all of that information to one convenient online location along with a trained advisor to assist at every step of the way.
“Researching a vehicle online can be a cumbersome experience because there are so many websites you can visit,” said Tony Watkins, manager, Lincoln Field Operations. “Customers want someone to help them navigate through all of the material, figure out what is relevant and what is not and help them make decisions. That is the role of the concierge.”
The concierge service offers two ways to help clients.
“If you have a busy schedule and want to do research on your own, you can self-serve from the concierge website and use the enhanced tools that are available,” said Watkins. “Or you can engage directly with a concierge.”
Clients can interact with a concierge by telephone, via click-to-chat conversation or they can participate in a live video chat.
“The video chat is one-way, so you can see the concierge but they cannot see you,” said Cour. “So if you want to sit there in your pajamas late at night you don’t have to worry about the shopping advisor seeing you. You can be comfortable in your own home.”
After completing an online session, the client can save a personal portfolio containing all of their vehicle preferences.
“People can come back and review their portfolio whenever they want, whereas if I was on a website and I just did my vehicle comparisons I would have to make printouts of that information and then hope that I wouldn’t lose them down the line,” said Watkins.
The concierge also captures all of the client’s information – what they drive, what vehicle they’re interested in, what colors and specs they like, etc. – and can then transfer it directly to the client’s preferred dealership upon request.
“People become frustrated when they feel like they have to start the whole process all over again when they get to the dealership,” said Watkins. “We’re trying to stitch together the online and offline shopping experience so that the dealer is ready when the customer walks in the door.”
Cour says building Lincoln on a foundation of personal service is what it’s going to take to earn new business.
“Products are just the price of admission,” he said. “Nobody builds a bad luxury car. It’s the manner in which you engage customers with your brand that really makes a difference.”
Lincoln launched the 24/7 Online Concierge on April 4 and during its first three weeks it received more than 14,000 visitors, 55 percent of whom registered for the service.
“We see this as our toe in the water, a huge opportunity to use the concierge is to offer innovative experiences for our customers throughout the shop, buy and own parts of the transaction,” said Cour. “Right now we’re just talking about shopping, but we’re working on the second and third phases which would go deeper into the purchase and ownership funnel.”