2012 BMW 5-SeriesEnlarge Photo
BMW offers Concierge services as part of the Convenience plan under the BMW Assist Safety & Convenience Services. Briefly, for an annual fee of $199, BMW owners have access to BMW search, directions, traffic, weather, critical calling, and concierge services.
BMW calls the Concierge service the “ultimate driving assistant.” By selecting the Concierge menu option on the radio or iDrive display, drivers have hands-free access to a live representative who can offer assistance with restaurant and hotel recommendations, movie times and ticket information, flight arrival and departure gate and times, fuel pricing and availability, and much more.
On most 2007 and later BMW models, the destination address and phone number can be sent directly to the customer’s vehicle. This information can then be transferred to the BMW navigation system (if the vehicle is so equipped) for route guidance or to a Bluetooth-linked cell phone to make the call.
2013 Cadillac XTSEnlarge Photo
What Cadillac is doing is a little different than some of its competitors. Cadillac’s approach is focused on providing consistent excellence in customer service, not concierge services like making reservations. Part of its “Defining Moments” customer service focus, the new element is the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) technology making its debut first on the 2013 Cadillac XTS luxury sedan. CUE will give Cadillac the opportunity to gain feedback and answer questions specifically on technology.
With the 2013 XTS, buyers will receive an iPad preloaded with an app that simulates the CUE experience. Certified technicians have been trained and are in place in Cadillac dealerships to answer questions on the new technology and show customers how it works at the dealership. If the customer is driving and has a technology question, they can call OnStar (pressing the OnStar button in the vehicle), and they’ll be connected to a customer service technology expert.
The next vehicle in the Cadillac lineup to receive CUE will be the 2013 ATS, although those customers may not receive an iPad.
Chrysler Mopar EVTS operations centerEnlarge Photo
Chrysler offers concierge service as part of a Mopar-branded dealer-installed option called Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS), which began in July 2010. EVTS had its roots in Mopar’s Electronic Vehicle Security (EVS) system dating back to the 1980s.
The base level of EVTS is a theft recovery system with real-time GPS stolen vehicle tracking and includes a $1,000 theft protection warranty.
There are two optional levels, Silver and Gold, both of which provide concierge service, although only the Gold level provides “full” concierge-type services. EVTS concierge service, according to Jim Sassarossi, director of Mopar global parts, sales and marketing, is that it is “anything where you can call out and get assistance, from security-based assistance to outside the security arena. “
Silver and Gold levels include:
- E-call – 24/7 emergency service dispatch driven and coordinated with the customer’s cell phone.
- Security fencing – EVTS sends a signal that can be tracked if the vehicle goes beyond the security fence or speed alerts. It’s also used as parental controls for teens and adult children for their elderly parents.
- On-Call button – In a panic situation, just press a button and within seconds the headquarters system calls the customer’s cell phone. If there’s no response after two attempts, authorities or facilities will be sent to the signal’s location.
- Arrival and departure notification
- Watch vehicle live
- History – trace maps of where the vehicle has gone.
- Online trackings - 200 online trackings a year with Silver (pay as you go above 200), and unlimited with Gold.
Full concierge service – Only available in the Gold plan, the full concierge service handles customer requests for restaurant types, directions, reservations, travel reservations, tickets to ballgames or events, and other types of assistance.
Cost of the base EVTS system is $475 for the GPS stolen vehicle locator system plus one-half hour of dealer installation charge (roughly $35). There is no renewal fee on base unit or service. Optional upgrade costs are $155 for Silver and $255 for Gold, renewable annually.
Since it was introduced in 2010, 66 percent of customers upgrade to Silver or Gold from the base unit. Sassarossi said that EVTS “has exceeded our expectation and we’ve learned more uses for it.”
For example, quarterly polling of customers revealed that one of the ways they use EVTS is for directions in unfamiliar places, either turn-by-turn with the operator on the phone or the concierge sends a map to the customer’s compatible phone using one of the major map providers. EVTS is not integrated into the vehicle’s navigation system.
Another surprise is adults using EVTS to track their elderly parents. “This is a fast-growing segment of customer purchases,” said Sassarossi. “For about $13 per month, it’s a very cost-effective solution.”