NASHVILLE -- Nearly 25,000 people who use Infiniti's concierge "personal assistant" service free of charge have one thing in common: They aren't even Infiniti customers.
And that's fine with Infiniti.
The luxury make has been telling its retailers to give out free access to the Infiniti Personal Assistant service as a tool to stimulate floor traffic. Dealers have been authorized to sign up showroom visitors for free 60-day trial subscriptions to the feature even if they are have no interest in buying an Infiniti.
The personal assistant service might change their mind, says Jon Finkel, Infiniti director of dealer network development and customer quality.
"Our sales success and closing rates are much higher among those customers whom we've provided with free activation," Finkel says.
The personal assistant is a live call center that is standing by to help 200,000 Infiniti owners with whatever they desire -- restaurant reservations, travel arrangements, flower deliveries, theater tickets and more.
The service is available 24 hours a day by phone, in or out of the vehicle, and Infiniti provides it free to owners for four years. Infiniti's Dallas call center gets about 1,700 calls a day.
The program was launched in 2011 as one of 26 initiatives created to improve customer satisfaction at Infiniti. Infiniti had just been ranked dead last among premium brands on J.D. Power and Associates' 2010 Sales Satisfaction Index, which measures consumer dealership impressions.
By 2012, Infiniti had risen to second place in the luxury segment, and Finkel believes the personal assistant service gets part of the credit. That's why the company wants more people to use it. Infiniti is now advertising the service on its Web site and has created videos for YouTube that demonstrate it in action. Says Finkel: "We believe in it and we're marketing it, and I believe it's driving customers through the door."