Humber Motors Ford in Corner Brook Just Doesn’t Get It

Ford Ranger Airbag ProblemIsn’t a part of being in the service industry providing service?  Well, Humber Motors Ford in Corner Brook, Newfoundland just doesn’t seem to get it.  In fact, I would say that the Ford in general doesn’t get the concept of providing good service.

I will apologize in advance for posting what will seem like another “Crappy Ford Ranger” and “Ford Ranger Airbag Problems” article.  This is more than a rant, it speaks to businesses providing service, offering quality products and delivering on a promise.  I am using Humber Motors Ford’s poor customer service and Ford’s inability to deal with a concern as an example to highlight my point.

With the North American automotive industry about to collapse one would think that Ford and its dealership here in Corner Brook would want to build a positive impression about their product they sell and their service.  I am pretty sure that people are hesitant to purchase vehicles from North American manufacturers and that having any negative press in such a small area that Humber Motors Ford caters to would be alarming.  This isn’t the case.

I’ve been experiencing an ongoing issue with my Ford Ranger airbag system.  My vehicle has been at the dealership for eight or nine times to be repaired.  The airbag light consistently illuminates in the dash, signifying an airbag problem which I’m told also means that the airbag system is disabled to prevent the airbags from inadvertently deploying.

I don’t have a problem with a vehicle experiencing some mechanical issues.  I am intelligent enough to know that my Ford Ranger is mechanical.  Machines breakdown and need repairs, especially here in the harsh Newfoundland climate.  I can accept that fact.  However, what I can’t accept is an ongoing issue that impacts the overall safety of the vehicle and neither Humber Motors Ford or Ford Motor Company wants to admit this is a serious concern.

Instead, I’m told “Ford will gladly repair the airbag defect under warranty.”  It’s not like they had a choice in the matter – my 2008 Ford Ranger does have 32,000 KMs of warranty remaining.

I am a demanding customer.  I am the first to admit it.  Regardless of the company or organization I do business with, if they offer service, it better be good service.  To me, it comes down to a business transaction.  I give my money to receive a quality product that is backed by a certain level of service.  If that product is of inferior quality and I don’t get the service I complain because I have paid for the right to complain.  I gave my money in good faith and expect certain things in return.  If I receive a good product and good service, I am happy and I become a loyal customer.

Isn’t that what a company wants – happy and loyal customers?

With my Ford Ranger airbag problem, I’ve been told by Humber Motors Ford that I am sometimes unreasonable in my demands.  How is it unreasonable to demand a quality product and quality service that cost me in excess of $20,000?  I have become unreasonable because my Ford Ranger airbag problem has persisted for 20 months and Humber Motors Ford and Ford Motors doesn’t see this as a major issue because the vehicle is under manufucturer’s warranty.

Hello!  The airbag problem has been around now for 20 months and the manufacturer’s warranty does expire!  What is going to happen after the warranty period?  Care to answer that?

Businesses that offer service must provide service.  It is simple.  Hiding behind a 60,000 KM warranty as in the case of both Humber Motors Ford and Ford Motor Company is unacceptable.  The warranty is a meant as a safeguard in case something major happens.  When something major happens nine times as in the case of my Ford Ranger airbag, it goes beyond what a reasonable person should have to tolerate.  It impacts the trust that one has in the vehicle, the dealership and in the manufacturer. 

Hey Ford Motor Company – take a look at the state of the North American auto industry – are things looking all that rosie right now?

The implications of poor service goes beyond a single unhappy customer because as every business knows that one customer tells friends and family their experience.  Companies at one point could weather the bad press because an individuals social network was relatively small.  The damage to a company’s reputation would be minimal.

Things have changed.  Online social networks expands the social network of a single individual to potentially millions of people.  Humber Motors Ford and Ford Motor Company must realize the reach that online social networks has and how this can quickly impact a company’s online reputation.  Ford understands the implications of social media because it has a head of social media – Mr. Scott Monty – but his response to the impact that this one issue could have on Ford Motor Company was “Best of luck to you.”

Mr. Monty’s should understand more than anyone the implications that social media sites and the Internet can have on how a company is perceived.  I’m sure he will make the argument that “Ford is repairing the vehicle under warranty” and will take that as being a positive.  Ford Motor Company will probably say that this is just one customer and that it is impossible to please all customers because some customers are unreasonable.  Ummmm, you’ve had nine times to fix the problem – is that unreasonable?

What about the larger negative implications that this can have on both Humber Motors Ford and Ford Motor Company?

The underlying problem that has resulted in my displeasure is one that involves the Ford Ranger airbag system.  This impacts the safety of the vehicle which leaves the impression that Ford Motor Company does not care for passenger safety.  The fact that my Ford Ranger airbag problem has reoccurred multiple times leaves the impression that Ford Motor Company produces poor quality vehicles and uses poor quality parts.

What should also alarm Humber Motors Ford, Ford Motor Company and Mr. Monty is articles such as this one tend to have a legacy.  It doesn’t easily go away and doesn’t get removed from the search engine indexes unless I choose to remove the post from my blog.  Companies such as this who choose to ignore the negative social media are further damaging their reputation as a whole especially since the boundaries between brick-and-mortar / online are disappearing.

While Humber Motors Ford and Ford Motor Company doesn’t quite get the concept of providing quality service, there are some companies who do.  There are also companies that are very proactive in protecting their online reputation and have stepped up the efforts to change perception in the general populous.  Domino’s Pizza did a wonderful job in handling their social media nightmare, it will be interesting to see what both Humber Motors Ford and Ford Motor Company does to deal with theirs.

Humber Motors Ford is repairing my Ford Ranger airbag system today and Ford Motor Company is covering the cost of the repair under warranty.  This may remedy the issue with the vehicle, but it will in no way repair the negative social media.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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