Ford opens call center focused on truck owners

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. sells a lot of trucks, so the automaker opened a 500-person call center in Houston devoted to helping the people who buy those profit monsters.

The Houston "customer contact center" opened Monday as part of a global push from Ford's chief customer experience officer Elena Ford to boost relations with existing customers. The 500 employees at the new call center would assist owners and Ford dealers with technology issues and any other problems with the vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. opened a 500-person cal center in Houston, Texas devoted to answering calls from truck customers

Agents "own the call," according to Ford, which means there aren't any call transfers once the call is picked up. The customer speaks to the same service associate throughout the call.

The Houston call center would serve as a model for more Ford call centers down the road. Those working in Houston received special product training on trucks. Ford plans to add SUV- and Transit-focused call centers next year.

The call center supplements things like customer reward programs, mobile service and retail experiments Elena Ford and her team have launched over the last year. The customer experience teams have studied Apple, Inc., Delta Airlines and other companies to develop new customer service initiatives aimed at keeping current customers happier.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau