The Danger of Automated Processes

In an effort to increase efficiency, many companies are automating customer experience processes; resulting in unintended problems with effectiveness. I experienced this first hand recently with the Ford Motor Company.

I’ve been a fan of Ford since they didn’t take Government money during the so-called, Great Recession. I’ve also found their products to be above average. Unfortunately, I recently learned they seem to have a policy to not stock parts for cars more than five years old. This can make service for “older” cars problematic. Without the need to go into details, it recently took seven weeks for one of our cars to be repaired all due to waiting for parts.

This process caused me to get to know, all too well, most of the people in parts and service at my local Ford dealer. While much of the problem in getting the car fixed was due to process point hand-offs (not unusual in larger companies), it was a recognized “circus” by all involved. The car was finally repaired and appears to run fine. The service advisor apologized many times during the process.

However, about a week after we got the car back, the dealer and/or Ford sent me what I assume were automated emails. The first was from Ford Shoptalk soliciting my feedback on the service I received. The second question in the survey forced me to classify myself as a repair shop or a fleet owner. I am neither, so I stopped filling it out as “none of the above” was not an accepted answer.

The second came from either the dealer or Ford on behalf of my service advisor. It was clearly a pre-written email thanking me for being a customer. Given the disaster of a time we had with the dealer and the service, it was not only inappropriate, it was annoying as it demonstrated that nobody cares, it was just sent. This is an example of an automated process that actually had the opposite effect as the one desired.

What automated processes are you using that make you “efficient” but show your customer that you don’t really care? How efficient do you want to be at alienating your customers?


This entry was posted in Automobile Industry, customer satisfaction, customer service and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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