Ford’s ‘Super Eight’ Will Enhance the Customer Experience and Ownership Journey
  • Ford South Africa continues to modernise everywhere with eight new customer experience modules
  • Technology innovations, like the FordPass app, will play an increasingly important role
  • Next-gen Ranger and next-gen Everest will come with over-the-air updates to enhance ownership experience

Ford South Africa has recently introduced eight new key focus areas designed to modernise the customer experience for customers who buy new and pre-owned Ford vehicles.

Conceived under the name ‘Super Eight’, each stage helps leverage and amplify the Ford+ plan which is focused on treating customers like family, simplifying everywhere and creating must-have products and services. Super Eight expands on this ethos, to create a more detailed understanding and robust set of actions at any given point in the customer journey.

“We’ve unpacked the customer experience to provide a holistic system that flows seamlessly and infinitely. The latest additions through ‘Super Eight’ have created new links within Ford’s existing initiatives and values,” says Kuda Takura, customer experience manager at Ford South Africa.

“As we ready ourselves for the launch of next-gen Ranger and next-gen Everest, and ramp up our own operations to meet customer demand, we will be more prepared than ever before to take customers through a more rewarding and connected ownership journey,” concludes Takura.

The key strategic points of Ford’s Super Eight are:

Ford Sales & Service Experience

As consumers embrace the new digital economy and expect an always-on personalised relationship with products and services, Ford has responded by modernising and digitising at every level. The customers’ journey begins here, with an online presence that responds to their specific needs when they visit www.ford.co.za. Part of that commitment is taking the eCommerce offering to the next level with an online sales reservation capability.

At the heart of the customer journey is the Ford dealership where arriving customers are treated like family, and feel like they’re home. At Ford, each customer is treated as a special guest, with unique and different needs.

Ranger and Everest Experts

During the critical phase when customers are considering a purchase, their ability to research plays a critical role, but a website might lack that personal touch that they need at this time to assist, Ford has created a team of Ranger and Everest experts in the Customer Relationship Centre to provide that friendly voice and personal touch. Trained by the Ford Academy, these experts will always be accessible via the customer’s preferred channels including telephone, video call or live chat, in order to provide information about vehicle configuration, build and price. They will also provide expert advice about the vehicles and accessories, online reservation support, and post-purchase education for owners.

On-boarding Experience

The customer’s Ford journey and relationship is enhanced by a personalised online delivery checklist, and an invitation to download the FordPass app. This app takes customer-connectivity to a new level, kickstarting the onboarding journey with access to rich, relevant content, and literally putting vital real-time information from the owner’s vehicle in the palm of their hand, through their cellphone.

FordPass will help owners throughout their journey, allowing them to remote-start their vehicle on hot or cold days to ensure that the temperature inside is comfortable when they get in. Other functions of FordPass include letting customers know where their vehicle is at any time, allowing them to lock and unlock it remotely from anywhere, and notifying them when the alarm is triggered.

In addition, the online owner’s portal enables customers to self-learn everything there is to know about their Ranger and Everest’s features, content and technology.

Customer Service Convenience Initiatives

It’s vital to understand customers’ unique requirements and meeting them on their own terms with more flexibility, more speed, and more options.

The experience begins with online service bookings through our www.myfordjourney.co.za website - and continues through free collection and delivery of the vehicle, and provision of a Ranger like-for-like loaner when repair work may take a few days.

For those who are most time-strapped, the Express Service is a unique new offering that will get the vehicle back on the road in just 60 minutes, thus maximizing convenience and productivity. In addition, Ford will soon be offering the ultimate level of service convenience: a mobile vehicle that takes the service to the client. Initially conceived for fleet customers in remote locations, mobile servicing will become a key offering for retail customers as well.

Finally, the Ford Pro Service Elite program ensures that downtime for fleet customers is minimised by after-hours and 60-minute express servicing, often done on-site by mobile crews, and supported by preferential parts pricing for Ford’s large fleet customers.

Worry-Free Vehicle Health

Ford is building a closer relationship with dealers to reduce downtime associated with maintenance and repair by combining the intelligence of connected vehicle data with the convenience of FordPass.

One of the outputs will be a monthly vehicle health report that reinforces connectivity value and provides peace of mind. The next-gen Ranger and next-gen Everest will include over-the-air module updates, so customers won’t even need to schedule a service for certain system upgrades. And customer reminders will move from today’s labour-intensive process to FordPass-led reminders, based on real-time feedback from the vehicle’s embedded modem.

Unscheduled Vehicle Downtime

A cross-functional team now works proactively with dealers to reduce vehicle downtime. Ford’s Concierge Team is empowered to make decisions, guide customers, have the parts and service expertise to work alongside dealers to diagnose the problem, and then to order and prioritise parts.

The Customer Progress Tracker provides ongoing updates and transparent communication between the Customer Relationship Centre and the dealer, allowing alternative transport arrangements to be made and ensuring that customers are immediately reimbursed for expenses incurred.

To get customers back on the road in even less time, the RealWear virtual reality technology is being implemented to remotely connect dealership technicians with Ford’s Technical Assistance Centre, staffed by highly experienced support personnel and field service engineers. The RealWear system gives technicians access to immediate real-time support, with voice-activated controls and a built-in display enabling them to remain hands-free during repairs.

Customer Retention and Renewal

Retaining the service relationship is key to keeping the customer in the Ford family and the Ford Protect plans cover a variety of options. Products available to our customers range from cover for Wear and Tear components, Mechanical and Electrical repair, and Premium Maintenance, which is a 3 in 1 plan and includes all of the above. The Ford Protect plans are 100% backed by Ford, only Ford genuine parts are used to maintain your vehicle and Ford makes use of Ford authorised technicians at Ford Franchise dealerships nationwide.

The updated Ford Approved division is where customers will find the best used cars and service. With 94 fully operational sites nationally, all vehicles accepted and sold through Ford Approved are subject to stringent criteria needed for building confidence, trust and loyalty with customers.

Sponsorship

At Ford, caring for the customer includes caring for the environment. The Ford Wildlife Foundation has donated 12 Rangers, and loaned a further 28 Ranger double cab 4x4s to qualifying education, research and conservation projects across Southern Africa, providing the much-needed mobility necessary to achieve their conservation objectives.

Helping to build on the brand’s rich racing heritage includes the long and successful association with the Neil Woolridge Motorsport team competing in the South African Rally-Raid Championship. For 2022 the Ford Neil Woolridge Motorsport team is raising the bar even further by competing in the newly introduced FIA T1+ category with its new Ranger, which is the true embodiment of Built Ford Tough: bolder, bigger, wider, and even tougher at tackling the harshest off-road terrain.