Chrysler Execs Call Customers! How Great is That?
Chrysler executives are taking on what may well become the world's worst job: a customer satisfaction survey. The Chrysler 300– the number of [s]homoerotic Spartans[/s] executives calling one customer per day— will be competing "to see who can generate the most successful sales referrals." ("Hello, I'm Bob Nardelli. Please buy one of our cars so I can win a sales bonus. PLEASE!") The Detroit Free Press say Nardelli's boys want to "bring the company closer to our customers but also to bring our customers closer to the company." Not one to miss a chance to pimp for consulting, Dave Sargent of J.D. Power gushes, "I've never heard of anything on this scale." This is not the first time Chrysler's jeffes have tried to rappel out of the corporate penthouse. Hey, whatever happened to that program where the suits drive used Chryslers? Anyway, at the advertised calling rate, it would take Chrysler's highly-paid "change agents" 707 days to reach the 212k customers hit by the most recent Sebring recall. Who's running the office pool on how long this program lasts? [Welcome to longtime TTAC commentator John Thorner as our latest blogger. We hope to see more of his work soon.]
The urge to be sarcastic is overwhelming. Talking to customers is good. Listening is better. Chrysler would not be in the pickle it is today if this started 40-years ago. Better late than never. An October 2006 Autoblog report said Chrysler execs would have to get up close and personal with product by driving used examples for two ten day periods. I wonder how that worked out.
Do they wear orange aprons when they make the calls and ring a bell if they get an order? Why didn't Nardelli and Snow drive Chrysler products before they owned it (Nardelli had a Lexus)? My last two Jeeps were such good vehicles, I now drive an Acura....
Execution is everything. How much do you want to bet that the "customers" called by the executives are really hand-picked, pre-screened, briefed, and spoon-fed the comments by Chrysler PR and told to wait by the phone at a pre-appointed time? A better way to "bring the company closer to the customers" is to have these execs spend a week at a dealership shadowing [lonely] sales reps and listening to customers complaining about their cars in the service department. Alan Mullaly had the right idea when he tried to sell a few Fords last year.
GM's PR people called me just weeks aft I got rid of dying Pontiac GP. It seemed that after 10 years of ignoring my calls, telling me that the situation is between me and the dealership, or that I'm the only one that has that problem... it was time for me to go to the local GM dealership and buy a new GM product, and that GM has made a big turn aroound...yadda yadda yadda. PR person got a polite earfull as to why I bought a Mazda 3 instead and "abandoned" my local dealerships the instant the warrenty expired.