Last month, I shared a story about how a potential Ford customer had a problem with a Ford dealer and then said they were told to buy a Tesla. However, note that we never connected with this person directly and they ended up deleting their initial Reddit post sharing the story. However, someone reading the post just emailed us with their own story.
This person wants to remain anonymous and is still planning to buy a Mustang Mach-E. It’s what they want and they have the heart for it. So if any executive at Ford is reading this, please consider that this is more constructive feedback than anything else. I may actively support Tesla and its mission online, but Tesla needs an ally, and Ford can be an ally for that mission. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Ford CEO Jim Farley have of course agreed to this a number of times in their own tweets and statements. Let’s go!
Mustang Mach-E Ordering Experience
So this customer, we’ll call him Joe, order the Ford Mustang Mach-E online, pick the dealer, and things go downhill from there. This is what Joe said in an email to me:
“So this is what happened. I ordered the Mustang Mach-E on the Ford website. You have to choose a dealer so I chose the one closest to my house. I immediately got a call from the dealer telling me that my order would not be processed due to a withdrawal and that someone else would call me with more information. Since it’s 2022, I think it’s wrong. I called another dealer and they confirmed it.
“I called back and asked to speak to someone about it. They put me in with the service manager who looked it up and couldn’t find anything. I asked who called me and why they said something like that but for some reason, he didn’t understand what I was saying. I asked to be transferred to someone else. I then spoke to a sales manager who said they had a separate company handling the calls and they had no idea what they were doing. He said he was sorry.
“I then got an email from another person indicating he saw I was interested in ordering Mach E and I should call him. I called him and told him I ordered it. He couldn’t find my order so he needed me to send info from Ford. So I forwarded the email with the order number.
“The next day, some people from the dealer called me, but I was standing in line and didn’t want to be rude, so I asked them to call me back in 5 minutes. They never did. I still don’t know who it is or what they want. I only know that they are from the dealer.
“The next day the person I emailed called me to say he still couldn’t find my order so they had to make a new one. I’m concerned about having two different orders and why this dealer isn’t communicating well with Ford.
“I called Ford customer service and had to call a few different people. It took about 40 minutes to get to the right person. He didn’t want to help me. No matter what I said, the response was that everything had to be handled with the dealer and because of franchise laws, they couldn’t even contact the dealer.
“I told him the dealer claimed that Ford had not communicated with them, so how can I resolve this with the dealer? Isn’t there someone at Ford who can figure out why this ordering process didn’t work? He asked for my order number which I gave him.
“He said it wasn’t true. I told him I could actually take a screenshot of the website and send it to him. It says order number. He says there must be something else. So, where will I find that? He does not know. I looked everywhere and nothing else. He said he couldn’t do anything else if he couldn’t find the order. I said how can I find something if you don’t know where it is? He says he has to check and holds me. Instead of holding back the music, it’s a survey in a loop. After 5 minutes, the channel is off.
“I then called the dealer again and spoke to a new person. They wanted my order number and again, they couldn’t find the order. I asked for a refund of the deposit because this was a nightmare. Again, I had to be moved but ended up talking to the inventory control manager. He is very kind. He explained that this was such a common problem that people had to come to dealerships to build cars. A few hours later I got an email confirming my refund.
“At this point, I will go to another dealer and try to build it there to see if the process goes a lot smoother.”
Constructive Feedback For Ford
I asked Joe if he had any suggestions and feedback for Ford on how this dealer handled his Mustang Mach-E order. Joe told me:
“I run a small business and I understand it’s apples and oranges in a sense, but businesses of any size need to remove red tape. You can’t have something like this happen and then just chalk it up to ‘that’s what happened’.
“There seems to be a major disconnect between Ford and their dealers. Literally, no one on the customer service line showed the slightest motivation to understand the problem let alone try to solve it. Nobody at the dealership told me they were even trying to work this out with Ford. Their attitude is simply ‘don’t use the website because it usually doesn’t work’.
“I understand there will be some growing pain when you try to completely change the way some cars are bought, so things won’t be perfect but Ford seems to have nothing to do with identifying these issues and fixing them. It is not difficult to transfer data from one place to another.”
A few days ago, Bloomberg reports that Ford CEO Jim Farley said he plans Ford to eventually become the top Tesla in EV sales in America, after overtaking GM. He said that Ford had a chance to be #1 and that Ford and Tesla were competitors. He thought the second was the loser first, so they would.
This is a big goal for any company that wants to succeed in an industry where things change very quickly, but if Ford is going to do so, the company needs to solve the problem of disconnecting dealers. You can’t sell a car — even one as good as the Mustang Mach-E — if your sales force doesn’t have the motive or incentive to sell the car. And if the only motive or incentive is to raise prices to the point where it’s more affordable to buy Tesla, a company that Ford wants to outperform, then I don’t see how Ford will beat Tesla.
Perhaps Farley should engage with Ford customers on Twitter in a positive way as Elon did with Tesla customers. Ask for feedback and really engage with them. If anything can help Ford survive the transition to EVs, it’s the company’s own loyal customers.
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