Ford comes up trumps – or people matter most…..

I railed against my local Ford dealer in an earlier post, and in conclusion noted that the misfire was still evident when I drove away. I’ve just finished a “thank you” letter to the dealer’s service agent who has, he said with crossed fingers, etc, etc., finally fixed my car. Copied to the General Manager of course.

An update.

It got worse, much worse. The engine light came on again, and stayed on this time. I took the car in and they diagnosed a faulty coil and replaced it. A mere $460.

I picked up the car and after less than three hours, the engine light is sneering at me. In goes the car again. Ah, a coil is faulty they tell me. It turns out that, since i last turned a spanner (wrench in US parlance), cars now have not a single coil, but one for each cylinder. Mine has eight…. This was sounding expensive…..

This time though, I talked to Jack the service advisor who was suitably sympathetic and reassuring. No bull, but sensible conversation and an acceptance that things were not as they should be.

Each day the car was in, Jack called with a status update, even when there was little positive he could say. That takes guts – a majority of service reps of all ilks seem to avoid the hard calls – and Jack was not bringing good news most of the time. The problem was that the fault was hard to pin down. The engine light would come on, but with little information as to why, apparently. Nonetheless Jack called, assuring me that it would go out only when he would be happy for his wife to drive it.

They ended up replacing TWO more coils, at a much (and I do mean much) reduced rate, and that seemed reasonable to me.

Within 24 hours the engine light is doing it’s thing. “How are you?” says Jack. “Very unhappy.” says I. He got it, and said all that could. This time it was three days. They could not pin down any fault, though they could consistently replicate the engine light. The short version – they replaced an injector. Free of charge. And since then (two weeks now) it has been like driving a different car.

As I told Jack in the letter, I was ready for never going back after the brake episode. So does all end well? Yes, but….

It fascinates me that I got a flyer via regular mail for service – they do that all the time – that proclaimed in big, bold letters “Jack’s Back!”. Which got me a-thinking. They obviously recognize his talent and abilities, and reading between the lines, regard it as a coup to have him back. So if they know that his skills mean better service, happier customers, etc. etc. why don’t they recruit more like him and/or train the other reps to be similar? Superstars are always interesting, but you can’t rely on them to hold up an otherwise mediocre team. Every interaction with a customer moulds their perception of your brand. Negatives are easy to accumulate – and one good or positive experience doe not erase a negative one.

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