Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Attack of the Cubicle Zombies from Ford

Attention, Co-Scissor-Heads! I interrupt a regularly-scheduled blog post tentatively entitled “If It’s Not One Thing It’s Your Mother” for a public service announcement.

I am hereby officially declaring this Running with Scissors Week, brought to you by certain deadhead, mooncalf, cubicle zombies a/k/a customer service representatives. Please note: This is not a general indictment of all customer service reps, but the few, the monotone, the never go off-script customer service reps who have been brainwashed, uh, expertly trained by Big Dog companies to make our lives a living hell. So, put away the roundy kindergarten scissors, get out the grown-up pointy ones, lace up your tennie-runners, and adjust your chair. We are taking on the Big Dogs. (Note: I have tried to keep the snarkiness to a bare minimum but, given the subject matter, some spillage has occurred.)

First up, Ford Motor Company. A Very Big Dog. A veritable Rottweiler of the corporate world. Apparently, they also believe they are the King of the Automobile Industry because they didn’t take a bail-out, and are doing quite well in spite of the economic conditions. Based on my interactions with their Cubicle Zombies, I think I have figured out why. I’m betting you’re a pretty smart cookie too, so I’ll let you decide for yourself. According to them, this is UV damage, not a defective paint job.

Does that LOOK like a little UV damage to you? The only way that’s UV damage is if that spoiler has been taking itself to the tanning salon on the sly. Ditto for the hood.

Yes, my treasured red Mustang, my former pride and joy, the car I have dreamed of owning for most of my life, has turned into a leopard.

Ford Customer Service Cubicle Zombie #1 instructed us to get the damage “evaluated,” at a Ford dealership, so off we went. The first dealer said they didn’t do body work and told us to go to another bigger Big Dog dealership 50 miles away. It was my understanding they would take a paint sample and do something scientific to it.

Uh huh. The scientific evaluation was done by Cubicle Zombie #2 who walked around the car with his hands in his pockets nodding and hmmmmming, focusing his company-implanted zombie-like laser eyes on the problem at hand. His conclusion? UV damage, consistent with the heat and sun we have in this area. They would, however, be happy to repaint the entire car for about $3,200.

Next stop – Twitter. After tweeting Ford Customer Service several times, Cubicle Zombie #3 contacted me for more information. A couple of days later, she actually called. Oooooo, the excitement! Did she want a paint sample? Was she calling to tell me to take it back to the dealership to be painted? Was she going to make me an offer so I can get it painted? Not so fast there, Sparky.

Cubicle Zombie #3 said she had enlarged the picture I had sent, and she had determined it was . . . . UV damage. Apparently, Cubicle Zombie #3 has the same company-implanted zombie-like laser eyes as Cubicle Zombie #2. I think maybe she got the super-laser eye upgrade, because all she needed was a picture. But “Good news!” Ford would be happy to sell me a new car at “dealer cost,” which would be a savings to me of $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the car I buy. Really?! Woah, Duuuuude. Let me get this straight. Ford is going to give me a $3,000 to $5,000 discount on a new car, but they won’t fix the one I have, which would cost them substantially less. Is it just me, or do you smell the halibut too? Cubicle Zombie #3 had apparently reached the end of her script because, after that, she had nothing original to add to the conversation and just kept repeating herself.

When I tried posting to Ford’s Facebook page, I heard from Cubicle Zombie #4. She ever so politely informed me that post was inappropriate for Ford’s Facebook fan page, and I should contact Ford Customer Service. {Sigh} I responded to her and, as courteously as possible, pointed out that I had contacted Ford Customer Service, as stated in my original post.

Then, through a Twitter friend, I discovered Ford has a Social Media Director who is on Twitter. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I tweeted him, and he said he would look into it. Good thing I wasn’t holding my breath waiting for a response, because I would be a mummified Smurf by now. Yep, sure enough, I never heard from him again. So, that would make him Cubicle Zombie #5.

Adding insult to crap, uh, allegedly bad paint job, just a few days ago I received the sweetest little card from Ford which says:

“Since you are a valued Ford customer, we are extending to you this exclusive offer. Get $750 Private Cash toward the purchase or lease of your next Ford vehicle.”

I have to wonder just how “valued” I am. Actually, before we started getting the Cubicle Zombie run-around, we had been thinking about buying another Ford. Not now. There will be no more Fords at this house unless and until they fix the one I already have or send money so I can get it fixed. Why on earth would I sign on the dotted line, go in debt several thousand dollars, and basically reward a company which refuses to stand behind one of its products by buying another one? Duh.

As Dolly Parton says, “Blonde jokes don’t bother me, because I know I’m not dumb and I know I’m not blonde.” I resemble that remark.

In case anyone (Ford?) is not yet clear about how the world works, satisfied, happy customers talk about the companies who did them right. Unsatisfied, angry customers talk MORE about the companies who did them wrong. A company can spend millions of dollars on advertising, but word of mouth is still the best advertising around and delivers more real bang for the buck. With social media, that word, good or bad, travels fast. I may only have 1000 or so followers on Twitter, but some of those people have thousands and thousands of followers. You do the math, Ford. When company policies, procedures and Cubicle Zombies tick off customer after customer and word gets around, it’s only a matter of time until said company gets a karmic banana stuck up their tailpipe.

Research has turned up some interesting information about Ford and their problems with paint, going back many years. If you’re having paint problems with a Ford vehicle, are considering buying a Ford, or are simply curious, I suggest you check out this Facebook page:!/group.php?gid=94328817418

Big Dog or not the fight continues, because I don't intend to become a Scooby snack . . .