LOS ANGELES – When Lincoln launched a chauffeur service for dealership customers, it turned to RedCap Automotive Technology to oversee the program and provide the drivers.

The firm is riding high on a growing trend among automotive luxury brands and their dealers: providing customers with assorted VIP transportation amenities.

Those include the chauffeur program, dropping off loaner replacement cars to customers and taking their vehicles to dealership service departments and bringing test-drive vehicles to shoppers so they needn’t go to the dealership.

It’s part of the new trend of delivering amped up customer experiences. Luxury brands such as Lincoln and Genesis are going all-in to wow customers with such extra efforts.

Despite the costs related to transporting cars and customers here and there, there’s a return on investment, contends David Zwick, the head of RedCap, a Miami-based firm that relies on its own developed software to manage the business.

“It’s a matter of meeting expectations in a customer experience-driven economy,” he says. “If you are forcing them to come to your store, you are not giving customers what they want.”

Sparing car shoppers a trip to the dealership can pay off for dealers, he says. “Requiring people to do business on your terms can make them irritated customers at the dealership who are going to beat you up on price and look for every discount.”

Conversely, car shoppers who are the beneficiaries of dealership demo cars delivered to their door, show less price sensitivity, he says, describing them as people who want a fair deal, but not necessarily the best deal.

“If you make it easy for them, price is not an issue,” says Zwick while wearing a signature red cap at the 2017 Automotive Customer Experience Summit here.

A budget-minded dealer may bridle at the cost of vehicle swapping in which a RedCap driver delivers loaners to customers and takes their cars back to the dealership for service work.

But Zwick says customers who get such loaners keep them for a shorter time than those who drop off their car at the dealership. “These programs have costs associated with them, but more money comes in because there’s more business.”

RedCap has drivers in 20 major metro areas. It trains and screens drivers who are either independent contractors or part-time employees.

The company’s software manages where they are and what users of the services say about them.        

sfinlay@wardsauto.com