Following the strategy of its planned U.S. rejuvenation, Lincoln will tout a new brand of personalized customer service called “The Lincoln Way’’ and modeled after boutique luxury hotels.
Lincoln sees China as something of a learning lab for understanding customers and their needs. Lincoln built a functioning dealership prototype facility in Shanghai to perfect its service. The things Lincoln learns in China could very well find their way across the Pacific to the United States, according to Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln.
Lincoln wants to create a warm, welcoming environment for customers. Each dealership will feature license plate recognition technology that lets employees know instantly that a customer has arrived.
In a Personalization Studio, prospective buyers can configure life-size images of a vehicle at the touch of a button. Owners can sit in a cozy lounge and watch their vehicles being serviced thanks to a camera in the service bay.
Dealership employees -- known as The Lincoln Team -- will be trained at The Lincoln Institute in Shanghai.
Lincoln is taking a very measured approach in developing its dealer network in China.
“We will be very deliberate about how we develop the dealership network,” VanDyke said. “We will not over-dealer the markets. We’re going to give them very big PMAs (primary market areas) to work with so they can have the right kind of throughput so they can take super high-touch care of customers.”
VanDyke, who has logged more flight miles to China than he cares to count, said Lincoln executives explained the China strategy to its U.S. dealers at a national dealer meeting in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago.
One message: The expansion to China benefits the entire Lincoln enterprise.
“We recognize they’re going to hear more about what we do over there. We want them to be enthused and not think we’re distracted by it and it’s good for everyone.”