Audi Forum Ingolstadt
The long-running Audi Forum Ingolstadt program strikes me as a perfect example of the distinction between a service and an experience in the Pine and Gilmore sense.
Audi offers customers the opportunity to fly to Europe to take delivery of their new vehicle personally as part of an orchestrated, theatrical experience that includes a tour of the Ingolstadt plant [PDF 1.5MB] and the Audi Museum. Participation in the program cuts several thousand dollars off the cost of the vehicle, which can easily offset the cost of the trip.
Visitors tour a sprawling customer center complete with restaurants, an espresso bar and a customer lounge where they can watch their vehicle being readied for delivery on the factory floor below. Dozens of video screens broadcast Audi TV and show exactly when each car will be handed over.
At the moment of truth each customer is called up to formalize the delivery in front of a crowd of other expectant owners followed by a thorough introduction to the new vehicle. Afterward, they can tool around Europe in their new car for up to two weeks before having it shipped back to the US on Audi’s dime.
Here’s an overview of the program [PDF 2.1MB]. I’d be interested in hearing first-hand impressions of the experience from anyone who’s actually taken part.
Thanks to Bernhard from the Customer Experience Labs weblog for introducing me to the program.