The Jeep Wagoneer models represent a major step for the brand. While dealers have been selling Wranglers and Grand Cherokee Summit and SRT models at $60,000 and up for years now, there are major differences between these vehicles and Wagoneers. The differences between the customers will be even more stark. These will be customers Jeep dealers have probably never encountered.
To be able to service the higher-end customers that will inevitably come with the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep has in place high-end customer-service plans for its dealerships. It all rests on a combination of what they are calling “VIP treatment” (essentially excellent customer service), technology and 10 customer promises. These promises were developed by both Stellantis and dealerships to reassure customers that when buying a Wagoneer, they will receive perks and benefits befitting a vehicle at the price point:
- Dealers who earn a Customer First award for excellence by J.D. Power earn the chance to host Wagoneer customers.
- A high-tech and efficient sales and service experience using tablets and full integration to digital communication.
- Dealers will be staffed with many Certified Wagoneer Ambassadors. To become an Ambassador, a sales or service associate must take over 90 hours of training and pass certification exams to really understand the brand, the products, full feature sets and use cases.
- A full tank of gas at vehicle delivery.
- We will wash the vehicle inside and out at delivery and when serviced, and ensure all customer settings remain intact for radio, seats, temperature control, etc.
- Offer remote showroom, test drives and delivery for sales and vehicle pickup/delivery for service.
- We will provide an appropriate service loaner.
- Provide convenient mobile, online and in-vehicle service scheduling and communication and a proactive service approach, including remote diagnostics and over-the-air (OTA) updates.
- While in the showroom or service lounge, we will provide complimentary Wi-Fi and phone charging stations as well as high-quality beverages and snacks.
- Wagoneer Client Services, which includes 24/7 customer support and five years of worry-free maintenance.
The Wagoneer is even set to get its own specific delivery area at dealerships.
While I appreciate that Stellantis and dealers are trying to do right by customers, these “promises” are underwhelming. Many of them are things that dealerships should be doing already. And none of them are befitting of perks for someone spending $70,000 to $100,000 and up on a vehicle.
The centerpiece for these plans seems to be on the Wagoneer Ambassadors. Similar to BMW Genius, these will be salespeople well versed on everything about the Wagoneer. Using tablet computers provided to them, they will walk customers through the process of choosing their Wagoneer and its options along with showcasing many of the vehicle’s features digitally.
With the certification needed on both the salesperson and dealer front, this will ensure that not every dealer (unless, miraculously, every Dodge, Ram, Chrysler and Jeep dealer earns Customer First awards from J.D. Power) will be able to sell the Wagoneer. Jeep CEO Christian Meunier told Automotive News he thinks that with the high level of technology the Grand Wagoneer is supposed to have,“It’s going to be almost impossible for a salesperson to sell that car without that training, and without the Wagoneer Ambassador certification.”
One of the good things about this plan is that it can mean better customer service across the board, not just for Wagoneer customers. Will Jeep be able to pull this off for the Wagoneer, though? It’ll be tough.
Certification for product knowledge and customer service is good. But those promises are basic. I mean, I know a Lexus dealer that has both a five star restaurant and a salon inside of it. So this will be a bar Jeep needs to set higher. It doesn’t help that this all comes at a time when J.D. Power customer service satisfaction scores for Stellantis brands are below the industry average. Dealers will need to deliver, or Jeep will find itself with a failed product.