GM: Calls to customer service have doubled since recall

GM's Customer Engagement Center, which opened last year as part of a broader effort by the company to boost customer retention and improve service, faces its first big test as the automaker helps customers deal with the recall.

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DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- General Motors said calls to a customer call center in Warren, Michigan, have more than doubled during peak hours since the automaker recalled 1.6 million small cars with faulty ignition switches linked to a dozen deaths.

The so-called Customer Engagement Center, which opened last year as part of a broader effort by GM to boost customer retention and improve service, faces its first big test as the automaker helps customers deal with the recall.

CEO Mary Barra will go before U.S. House and Senate committees next week to face questions about why it took so long to recall the troubled vehicles.

The initial recall on Feb. 13 covered 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s and was widened less than two weeks later by more than 800,000 additional vehicles.

Barra took to GM's Web site this week to tell customers the vehicles remain safe to drive with only the key.

Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president for global quality and customer experience, today posted a new message about GM's efforts to assist customers with its call center.

"Since GM announced the ignition switch recall, the center has seen more than double the amount of calls during peak times from typical daily call volumes," Boler-Davis wrote in a message. "Up to 100 dedicated, specially trained advisors have been available to quickly assist customers with questions on this issue alone, bringing down the average wait time to less than a minute."

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