- Ford hiring more than 500 employees from Houston area to staff new nationwide center
- Located in the heart of the world’s largest truck market, center features group of agents dedicated solely to assisting truck owners
- Houston center debuts “own the call” model for agents, designed to reduce call transfers and stress for customers
HOUSTON, Sept. 9, 2019 – Ford Motor Company today celebrated the opening of its new customer contact center, which offers an innovative customer-focused approach and adds more than 500 new jobs to the Houston area.
This is the latest in a series of moves by Ford to make each part of its owners’ experience easier and worry-free. This year, Ford has already doubled its investment in customer experiences, including a new customer rewards program, mobile service and unique global shopping venues.
“Our Houston customer contact center is another step in Ford’s comprehensive, long-term customer-experience transformation,” Elena Ford, Ford’s chief customer experience officer, told media, dealers and local officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the new center. “We’re building a new culture here – a new way of relating to and helping our customers.”
“This Texas-sized customer contact center represents the hard-working people who make this state great and the diversity that makes it one of the most important economic engines in America,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, automotive. “You are truck country, and Ford has been the No. 1 seller of trucks for 42 years running.”
New ‘own the call’ model
The Houston center, which serves as the blueprint for all Ford contact centers globally, eventually will handle 1 million calls a year from both customers and dealers. The majority of its calls now come from customers seeking technology assistance, like programming keyless entry or pairing their phone with their SYNC® system. Other calls come from customers seeking assistance from Ford to find resolution to an issue they are having with their vehicle.
Agents are empowered to “own the call,” which means they stay with a customer from first contact until each service and experience matter is resolved, rather than passing the customer to other departments. In addition, dealers have an exclusive customer experience agent they can call with questions when a customer is at the dealership. This new model – a best practice benchmarked from The Lincoln Motor Company’s highly rated customer contact centers – eliminates multiple call transfers.
Specially trained agents for truck owners
Located in the heart of the world’s largest truck market, the Houston center features a special group of high-performance agents dedicated to serving truck owners – Ford’s largest, most loyal customer group. These specialized agents undergo extensive product training, including time spent at local Ford dealerships. Already the approach is showing results.
“In just a short time, we’ve seen a significant improvement in customer satisfaction scores for truck customers, specifically in their trust in Ford and in their willingness to recommend Ford to their friends and family,” Elena Ford said.
Ford will build on the success of this truck-focused team by adding SUV- and Transit-dedicated teams of agents to other customer contact centers next year.
“Our customer contact centers are the face of Ford to many customers,” Hinrichs said. “And as these 500 employees from our Houston community take care of more than 1 million customers every year, they are building the relationships and customer experiences that will make Ford the world’s most trusted company.”
FordPass Rewards is a comprehensive customer loyalty program that was recently added to FordPass, a mobile platform through which owners can monitor their vehicles or make service appointments.
FordPass Rewards provides the most comprehensive loyalty rewards program in the industry, allowing customers who purchase or lease a new Ford vehicle to receive points they can use toward complimentary maintenance*, parts, service or a new vehicle at participating Ford dealerships.
Ford mobile service pilot
Ford also is expanding a new U.S.-based mobile service pilot, which brings vehicle maintenance and light service to customers at home, work or just about any place they would want. Pilots are currently running in California, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Florida.
New global retail experiences
During the past four years, more than 1,000 U.S. dealers have invested a total of $2 billion to upgrade their facilities to enhance the customer experience. The new retail model, called Ford Signature, offers a new look and experience to provide greater transparency in the sales and service journey.
In addition to the growth of Ford Signature dealerships, Ford is working with dealers to test new global retail formats based on changing ways people are shopping today – from urban markets to rural to dedicated commercial point-of-sale stores.
One of the new global retail formats is Ford Smart Labs, small retail points in high-traffic areas surrounded by shops, food and entertainment where customers can experience Ford products in an engaging and no-pressure environment. The first Smart Lab opened in Brussels in May; additional stores opened in Germany and Canada this summer. Ford plans to open at least six Ford Smart Labs worldwide by year’s end.
“Customers in today’s increasingly connected world expect better and more personalized treatment from companies. They want solutions that make them feel productive, cared for and special,” Elena Ford said. “That’s why we’re reimagining every single part of a customer’s ownership journey. Everything we’re doing is to empower customers and make their complicated lives simpler and worry-free.”