GM Refocuses on Customers, Product Quality

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September 20, 2012

General Motors is posting its strongest quality performance ever based on outside surveys and studies, but the company is aggressively moving to improve further while providing the best customer experience possible.

In an industry first, GM has combined its product quality and customer experience organizations under one leader, Alicia Boler-Davis, vice president of global quality and U.S. customer experience.

?Combining customer experience and product quality allows us to infuse the voice of the customer into the way we design our vehicles so they exceed expectations in initial quality and long-term reliability while providing industry-leading customer care excellence that creates lifelong customers,? Boler-Davis said.

?Every touch point with our customers is an opportunity to create long-lasting relationships,? she added. ?We are training our employees and dealers to deliver excellence in customer care.?

Initiatives under way include:

  • The most substantial dealer renovation project in GM history, with 88% of dealers having either completed or undergoing store renovation.
  • Completion of more than 21,000 anonymous ?Mystery Shops? so far this year, helping about 2,500 GM dealers improve their performance.
  • Addition of a specifically trained certified technology expert in every dealership nationwide to assist customers in learning how to use new vehicle technologies.
  • Placement of 25 connected customer specialists across the country to support dealers and customers on new technologies, such as Cadillac CUE, Chevy MyLink, and Buick and GMC IntelliLink.
  • Transformation of call centers into proactive customer engagement centers intended to promote more effective dialog with customers.
  • More empowerment for customer engagement agents, dealers and field personnel to address and resolve sales and service issues quickly.
  • A robust social media team that engages in more than 8,800 mostly proactive and unique interactions per month.

?We are implementing processes and tools that enable us to channel data from our customers to our designers and engineers,? said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of global product development. ?This continuous feed of information will allow us to deliver exceptional customer care and to make further improvements in our future vehicle programs.?

Over the past five years, GM achieved significant improvements in product quality, reflected by a nearly 50% reduction in warranty claims and related cost. Building on this success, several new quality initiatives are designed to exceed customer expectations. This customer focus will help make GM a consistent top performer in third-party studies, surveys and consumer purchase references in less than one full product cycle.

Product quality initiatives focus on vehicle excellence, initial quality and long-term reliability and durability, including:

  • Getting customer input early enough in the vehicle design and development to be incorporated in production.
  • Scientific approaches to translate customer input and feedback into technical requirements in human vehicle integration and drivability.
  • Execution of migration plan for all GM stamping, powertrain and assembly plants, as well as their products, to operate at ?industry benchmark? levels of quality.
  • Expansion of strategic sourcing to increase collaboration with the best suppliers in the industry on complex components, affecting up to 60 systems across seven vehicle architectures and 20 powertrains.
  • Flawless launch execution by validating new vehicle engineering and manufacturing earlier in the development process, resulting in fewer late changes, lower cost and higher launch quality.
  • Use of the latest engineering tools and validation processes to achieve the highest levels of long-term reliability and durability possible.

?Our employees and dealers are driving the transformation of GM into a customer-centric and customer-driven company,? GM North America President Mark Reuss said. ?No single effort in customer experience and product quality alone will move us to where we want to take the company, but the collective power of these changes will make the difference.?

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