Dealerships are embracing concierge services.

To say that social distancing has been disruptive would be a pretty big understatement. 

Regulations designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 have forced many businesses to rethink both how they can deliver products to customers and safely retain staff. Although restaurants have been some of the most visible players in this struggle to adapt, overcoming social distancing requirements has posed unique considerations to almost every type of business.

One particularly interesting area is the auto industry. Although car dealerships don't experience the same volume of foot traffic as a restaurant or supermarket, they've seen a notable decrease in the number of people willing to physically shop for cars. This has forced them to reassess important parts of their customer interactions in an industry where there's no DoorDash or GrubHub.

To this end, car dealerships have been at the forefront of a push towards concierge services, a term used to describe businesses that focus on being mobile enough to bring goods and services to their customers. One principal example of this is Volvo, who recently launched an online portal that moves large portions of the car buying process online. This change is part of its '"Volvo Contactless Program," which aims to eliminate possible safety concerns from customers. 

Although this specific program is currently only active for Volvo purchases in India at the moment, it likely offers a good look at the future of car dealerships. Volvo Cars West Houston, for example, has been seeing success from its Volvo Valet program. By downloading an app, customers can move large portions of their interactions with the dealership online. For example, it's possible through this app to schedule a car to be picked up for service. 

Courtesy of Volvo Cars West Houston
Volvo Valet allows customers to monitor their car's service in real-time. 

Additionally, services like this come with a guarantee that any points of contact can be monitored and sanitized accordingly. By limiting the potential areas that customers will be interacting with staff, dealerships can focus on minimizing infection risk without compromising service. For example, offering fully digital dealership tours and delivery test drives allows customers to minimize contact with other people while still purchasing cars. 

It may be too early to say if these social distancing requirements are a temporary measure or a new normal. Either way, it's reassuring to see companies behave in thoughtful and intentional ways to ensure that their customers are taken care of without having to compromise safety. 

Do you know of any other companies that are updating their service models like this? Let us know in the comments!