Shared vision key to success

Jennifer Boyer, Ford’s global collision business and strategy manager told IBIS Global Summit 2018 delegates that a positive brand experience can only be achieved with partners who share the Ford vision.

Opening her presentation at the event, Jennifer pointed to the Henry Ford quote: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’ to emphasise how the business has constantly innovated over the years. Jennifer then provided some examples of the long list of Ford innovations over the years which included the aluminium F150.

Technology was then highlighted as the key driver today and said, ‘technology compresses time.’

‘We have innovation, technology and now connectivity,’ said Jennifer, ‘the convergence will create unparalleled opportunity to create new mobility solutions and richer user experiences.’

Jennifer explained how the business was constantly evolving to meet customer needs stating: ‘Listening to our customers is key to our product strategy and our collision strategy.’

She continued, ‘It all starts with our customers – responding to their needs is pivotal to our success and it doesn’t just stop in bringing a vehicle to market our aftersales strategies are equally important and that includes collision repair.’

Jennifer then moved on to explore the evolution of the industry, highlighting three main influencers: insurers, OEMs and the collision repair industry.

With millions of Ford vehicles involved in collisions annually, Jennifer told delegates: ‘Collision is part of the Ford ownership experience and we need to be prepared to serve our owners.’ She continued, ‘Collision needs to be understood as part of the Ford customer experience.’

Further to this, Jennifer then highlighted the results of a Ford customer survey which asked what was most important to them when choosing a bodyshop. The results showed 52% wanted a vehicle manufacturer approved facility; 21% desired a family or friend recommendation; 20% an insurer recommendation; and seven per cent were keen on something geographically convenient.

Jennifer then explained the Ford collision philosophy which is ‘to provide Ford owners with quality collision repairs utilising Ford OE repair procedures and parts.’ The philosophy takes into account five strategic pillars: prepare; develop; engage; provide; and grow.

Quoting Henry Ford again, this time on relationships – ‘We wish all users of Ford cars to know what  they are entitled to’ – Jennifer demonstrated how Ford’s collision strategy has vastly evolved and now involves many different personnel in the process.

‘With our owners being the focus, we feel it our duty to educate them – and that is where the critical nature of relationships come into play. Relationships matter. We have not been as engaged in this industry as perhaps we should have been – 18 months ago in the US we had one person on the collision team, we have now added five people to that team,’ explained Jennifer. She continued, ‘Dedicating resources to this space is not just happening in the US – it is happening around the world.’

Turning her attentions on the stakeholders influencing brand experience, Jennifer suggested that market forces – namely technology, repair capabilities, and traditional business models and cost pressures – were changing the landscape. ‘Challenging perspectives is now and frankly none of us can do it alone,’ said Jennifer.

‘It starts here,’ said Jennifer highlighting how consumer education is the key to a positive brand experience, something she said can only be achieved with partners who share Ford’s vision.

When questioned about Ford’s movements within the market, Jennifer said Ford had been busy engaging the industry in order to create the right partnerships and also stated, ‘We are very serious about our approach to the global collision repair industry.’ She continued, ‘the teams across the globe are starting to build the certified standard for a global network – we feel this is very important for the future.’

The IBIS Global Summit 2018 is partnered by 3M, AkzoNobel, Audatex, Axalta, Enterprise Rent A Car, Fix Auto and Symach.