When the program began, a handful of hourly employees were charged with delivering vehicles to online customers and walking them through the car's technology at their homes. The concierge role expanded last year with the launch of Mark Miller Direct, the company's complimentary pickup and drop-off service, which is tethered to Subaru's two-year free-maintenance offer. Today, Mark Miller's concierges make between 10 and 20 house calls a day within 30 miles of the dealerships.
If more customers begin to use Mark Miller Direct, Miller projects that the concierge department could grow to 20 employees between the two dealerships.
There's still a long way to go to hit that 2021 target. Today, around 3 percent of vehicle sales begin and end online, and 3 percent of service customers use Mark Miller Direct for service.
Hitting the 20 percent goal would mean online sales and concierge delivery of about 90 vehicles a month, based on Mark Miller Subaru's current monthly sales of 450 new and used vehicles. And about 150 fewer service customers would physically come to the stores, Miller said.
Concierges use the dealership group's Uber Business account to catch a ride-hailing vehicle to or from the store when they make a delivery or pickup. They aren't focused on closing sales, Miller said, which frees them to focus on customer needs. They can spend as much time as necessary with customers outside of the dealership to walk them through everything from using vehicle infotainment systems to programming garage door openers.
That promotes better customer satisfaction. By contrast, Miller said, a salesperson conducting a delivery might get impatient with longer appointments.
"Human nature is that he's going to be looking out the window for his next deal," Miller said.
Mark Miller began deploying concierges before Subaru's national launch of its Love-Encore program in 2017. Through that program, customers can make one-on-one appointments with a Subaru Star Delivery Specialist within a month of purchase to address questions about the vehicle and its systems; they receive a complimentary gas card.
About eight of the concierges at Mark Miller have gone through Subaru's Star Delivery training.