Lincoln, Ford Motor Co.'s luxury brand, dubbed its 24-hour concierge service it plans to launch early 2013 as “Lincoln Host.” Lincoln availed of the services of Les Clefs d'Or, the international association of hotel concierges, to develop a program to improve customer service. Lincoln is planning to give its customers the kind of pampering, both at dealerships and online, usually received at luxury hotels. Lincoln divulged in April 2012 during the New York auto show that it planned two new services: the concierge service and the Lincoln Academy, a training program for dealership personnel to enhance customer service. Les Clefs d'Or is working with Lincoln to set up the Lincoln Academy curriculum.
C.J. O'Donnell, Lincoln's marketing manager, said that the Lincoln Academy is a training course on the finer aspects of hospitality and client service. O'Donnell said that Lincoln has commenced a pilot program involving around 10 dealers who are working with Les Clefs d'Or. The full Lincoln Academy and Lincoln Host programs would only be available to customers and the dealer body in early 2013, after the company launches its 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan this fall. O'Donnell remarked that Lincoln Host is already midway through its development. Lincoln Host will be manned by Lincoln representatives who will hold discussions with shoppers through telephone or computer.
Lincoln Host is designed for customers who want to research vehicles on the Internet but many want to visit a dealership. The service aims to help potential buyers find vehicles in their locations, arrange test drives and provide price. The service also features comparisons between Lincoln and rival brand vehicles. According to O'Donnell, Lincoln Host should provide a "seamless transition" between the online environment and the physical dealership.