Tuesday, August 9, 2011

There's no substitute for quality

Yesterday Volkswagen announced the creation of a new post, "VP of Customer Experience."

Considering all the VW customers out there who have had less than stellar experiences with their cars and dealers over the last few years, this could be a good thing.

Unless it's not.

Of course it's important to have dealers who know how to "live the brand." (If you know what the brand is) And yes, customers must be treated consistently and well at every touch point. But if the wizards in Wolfsburg don't fix their quality problems, it's all just whitewashing.

99% of the customer experience in the automotive world is your interaction with the product. No amount of dealer hand-holding can overcome a slew of bad product experiences. VW ranks near the bottom in the latest J.D Power initial quality survey behind Kia, Chrysler and Jeep. That means a lot of people have had a bad experience where it matters most.

A good dealer can only do so much to ameliorate the damage done by poor vehicle quality. If VW doesn't get the product right, all the "experience" in the world won't help them.

Just ask the folks at Saturn.

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