Ford dealers are in a bit of a flux these days as FoMoCo prepares to undergo a major reorganization that will ask those same dealers to specialize in one particular area as soon as next year, and perhaps even sell EVs at fixed prices as the automaker looks to improve its customer satisfaction scores. One way Ford plans to do that is by expanding its pickup and delivery service, which launched on Lincoln vehicles back in the 2017 model year, in Brazil last year, and will soon be supported by the majority of Ford dealers. Now, Wards Auto is reporting that all Ford dealers are expected to offer pickup and delivery services by next year.
The move is one of many that FoMoCo has planned to enhance its dealer experience, including special training on how to handle customers in a way that makes them “feel like family,” as well as developing a stronger connection between the automaker and dealer personnel. A new pilot program dubbed the Ford Guest Experience will also launch this month that invites dealer employees to travel to Detroit and receive special training on a variety of customer service experiences including pickup and delivery.
“We look at a lot of benchmarking, and we look outside of the (auto) business,” said Elena Ford, FoMoCo’s chief customer experience officer. “I spend a lot of time looking at companies like Delta and their customer experience. They are really doing extremely well. We look at companies like Chick-fil-A, their franchises and (how they took) their business to a whole new level.”
While Ford is also working on making it possible to complete all of the paperwork associated with purchasing a vehicle online, it isn’t discounting the important role that dealers still play in that process, particularly in terms of offering test drives. “People definitely want to test drive cars,” Ford said. “It’s a very big deal that they offer test drives on the customers’ terms when they are convenient for them. Our dealers are our partners in everything we do; keeping customers loyal keeps them at dealerships. It’s important they have great relationships with customers.”