Hale works on makeover of Jag, Land Rover image

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Hundreds of employees at Jaguar Land Rover North America sport a green button saying “All In.”

The button means they’re committed to changing the British company’s culture to focus on customer service and satisfaction, said Duke Hale, who was hired a year ago as vice president of customer service.

Hale is putting his 35-plus years in the industry to work with new programs to improve quality and brand perception at Jaguar Land Rover. And he’s trying to shift the company’s culture to focus on its people and customer service.

It’s a tall order for Hale, whose prior jobs included CEO of Lotus Holdings, COO of American Isuzu Motors and executive roles at Mazda North American Operations and Volvo Cars of North America.

Land Rover, in particular, has struggled in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, ranking No. 21 in 2013, up from No. 28 in 2012 but lower than all other luxury brands. Jaguar ranked ninth.

Hale said the company is “trying to get feedback from the market and to the U.K. so that they can recognize issues, where there are issues, quicker and faster and get them into production so we can we can improve that initial experience.”

Jaguar Land Rover changed vendors for its customer service phone line to Teleperformance USA in Salt Lake City. The technical help phone line now handles both brands. Customers previously had to call either a Jaguar or Land Rover line. Calls are passed to experts in various technical areas, such as drivetrain and electrical problems.

Ten field service engineers have been moved from the U.S. headquarters in Mahwah, N.J., to the field. Hale said that has enabled Jaguar Land Rover “to capture better quality data.”

For dealerships, a program to gather rapid responses about quality issues was recently put in place, Hale said. Technicians are to report “any kind of emerging technical problem they could,” he said. “It could be brake squeak or brake dust.”

For customers, Jaguar Land Rover hired Allstate to handle roadside assistance. The service now includes a technician who will change a flat tire or charge a battery. Previously, a vehicle was towed to a dealership.

Said Hale: “We are spending millions of dollars to provide a more premiere experience.”

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter


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