Customers Talk, Chrysler Listens

April 17, 2008
Automaker launches online customer advisory board.

In addition to the open road, Chrysler is hitting the online road to get better attuned to the voice of its customers. Describing it as an industry first, the automaker in late March launched an online customer advisory board "to engage our customers in two-way dialogue so we can harness their insights and vehicles dreams," says Deborah Meyer, Chrysler vice president and chief marketing officer.

Chrysler has selected technology provider Passenger to create the advisory board's closed online community, which the automakers says will be a combination of social networking, community building and collaboration technologies in an intuitive, scalable platform.

To participate, customers are invited to submit applications at Television advertising promoting the Web site began in February. Board members must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 and hold a valid driver's license.

Chrysler says the initial phase of the advisory board would span a three- to four-week period during which the company would introduce members to the process and the firm. Ongoing dialogue then would begin with live, facilitated sessions where customers could view media, respond to polls and converse with other members.

Additional features will include discussion sections that allow members to discuss specific topics on their own time within a four-week period.

Examples of topics may include environmental, safety, quality and other issues. In addition, members will be able to create their own profiles and connect with each other via the message center.

This advisory board launch is the latest effort by the struggling automaker to institute means to respond more effectively to its customers' needs. In November 2007 auto industry veteran Doug Betts joined the company as a vice president and chief customer officer, and in February Chrysler launched its New Day campaign. The campaign, the automaker says, reflects its direction "as a company that listens to its customers and is committed to moving fast and responding to customer and dealer feedback."

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About the Author

Jill Jusko

Bio: Jill Jusko is executive editor for IndustryWeek. She has been writing about manufacturing operations leadership for more than 20 years. Her coverage spotlights companies that are in pursuit of world-class results in quality, productivity, cost and other benchmarks by implementing the latest continuous improvement and lean/Six-Sigma strategies. Jill also coordinates IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Awards Program, which annually salutes the leading manufacturing facilities in North America.

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