When Steven Yourstone wanted answers about the arrival of his 2011 Explorer, he contacted Ford. But he didn’t pick up the phone or work through any complicated message systems. He simply asked his question on the Ford Explorer Facebook page. He got an answer from the Ford Customer Service Division social media team – along with a lot more.
“They really seemed to reach out and care,” said Steven, a department chair at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. “They’re always in the threads, and they’re pretty knowledgeable, too.”
Steven is part of an audience that Ford is reaching by expanding its customer service to social media. By proactively monitoring comments, questions and concerns on Facebook, Twitter, auto enthusiast forums and message boards, agents are able to regularly engage with thousands of customers – and potential customers – in real time.
“Being online lets you cater to an audience that is used to instant gratification,” said Mont Wright, Ford Customer Satisfaction manager in the Business Assistance Center.
“Many of these questions and these comments may never come to the phone – or even to e-mail,” Mont said. “In some situations, we can change a negative to a positive. In others, we can reach out to new customers. It’s been a very positive experience for us.”
Steven is very satisfied. He’s become an active member of the community on facebook.com/fordexplorer.
“I’d much rather use social media because the experts are very quick at getting responses back, and I don’t have to go through a menu system and listen to music and press the right buttons – that’s just not for me,” Steven said.
With eight customer service agents at the helm, the social media team uses a customized search engine tool that allows agents to quickly find and respond to customer queries, comments or concerns.
The interactions run the gamut – from queries on new product arrivals to questions on warranties to concerns about repairs. Through social media, the agent can even enhance the experience for the customer through hyperlinks and added instructions.
You can find a listing of Ford social media networks here on social.ford.com.