Ford’s SocialCRM – Follow up to Sync issues

Courtesy of lithium software (http://www.lithium.com) Within 24 hrs of my Why I’ll never buy another Ford – The answer may surprise you post, Ford contacted me via Twitter, and arranged for a call with a small team; Mike from (Customer Service), Jeff (Ford engineer) and Alan (Public Relations). First, I want to tip my hat to them for taking the time to follow up with me. They obviously care about Ford, the company reputation and customer satisfaction.

What is clear to me, is that you can have the best SocialCRM solution in the world, but if you don’t have agile business processes behind it, you will ultimately disappoint your customers.

While I can go through a rather lengthy recall of the discussion, but instead I will instead try to summarize:

  1. They were amazed that I blame Ford and not Apple for the issue. As I noted, my iPod works fine everywhere else. (I acknowledge the arrogance of Apple, but still hold Ford accountable.)
  2. They agreed that accurate information about Sync was difficult to find.
  3. I still don’t have any kind of solution that will work (short of buying a new iPod that is capable of iOS4).
  4. I’ve been broken for 6+ months and the earliest that I see a “possible” fix is the end of 2010.  How can Apple release a fix in a week, but for Ford, it takes a year?
  5. They made many references to quality and complexity as a reason for the long lead time. Let’s be clear here, I’m talking about an Entertainment system. If this can’t be done independently of car safety, then I think perhaps I’m more concerned than before.

Now, what I am about to say is mere speculation, (I want to be clear that none of the Ford employees even suggested anything that I am about to say) but working for many large companies, I believe that I can safely go here on a more generic level.

What we have is a company that has an organization that is customer focused. Being customer focused is a good start, but it’s not enough. If you are rich with ineffective business processes, the best customer service group will be powerless to actually help customers. Committing to SocialCRM is not something that can be done in a silo. Your entire company must commit to being focused on the customer in order to deliver that satisfaction. In Ford’s case, there is a lot of focus on quality. Why does quality automatically imply slow?

I am also going to guess that during the time that Ford implemented their Quality is Job 1 campaign, many processes were formed that don’t work today. Let’s face it, who’s going to stand up and say, We don’t need to do that, when quality is in question?

I am hopeful that Ford continues to improve their products and processes, but as of today, I stand by my statement that I won’t buy another Ford.

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