Founded by Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, the Ford Motor Company opened its doors in 1903, providing some of the first automobiles to individuals, businesses, and government agencies. Using two to three men to work together on a single vehicle, Ford’s system introduced the assembly line system of work. The automobile manufacturer may be as well-regarded for his production line innovations as the automobiles his company produced.
As Henry’s great-great granddaughter, Elena Ford is continuing with that type of forward thinking with her eagerness to improve upon the customer experience. Elena currently serves as the auto maker’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, so her focus is on giving Ford customer’s a more personalized experience. She has taken the time to consider what areas need improving and analyzing methods for addressing those aspects of car ownership.
In an effort to customize the Ford customer experience, Elena Ford is promoting the company’s new mobile app, FordPass. The app will help propel Ford into a future, where selling a car is just one step in forging a relationship with tech-savvy consumers. Ms. Ford says this change in how the company relates to its customers is necessary, because people are changing how they use their vehicles.
Elena adds that people are viewing transportation in general as a means to an end, so car ownership isn’t really the status symbol it once was for past generations. While people will continue to buy vehicles, functionality will be far more important than luxury.
The Ford Motor Company began by conducting extensive research in customer satisfaction, analyzing how companies like Nike and Amazon have adapted to new consumer demands. Those companies have received recognition in providing “best in service” customer satisfaction. Embracing that as a goal, Elena Ford looked at customer experiences people have with the automotive industry and tried to determine the best ways to resolve those issues. The most common “pain points” that FordPass seeks to alleviate is the car buying experience, obtaining financing, and getting the vehicle serviced.
FordPass is a mobile app that works in conjunction with specially equipped vehicles to provide auto owners with a better experience. The app monitors the vehicle’s health and provides special functions, such as remotely starting and stopping the vehicle. In the future, Elena hopes the mobile app will help vehicle owners locate and pay for public parking and may even provide ways to borrow or share vehicles.
For Elena Ford, improving the buying experience is just one way she hopes her great-great grandfather’s company will address consumer needs. Beyond car ownership, Elena wants to see FordPass address other transportation issues and provide related services that will be customizable for each individual. In much the same way that Henry Ford used the assembly line to imp-rove the production experience, Elena Ford hopes FordPass will improve transportation experiences for Ford customers.