I’m a member of the Chrysler Community Advisory Board — a group of consumers that I thought had a sort of backstage pass to what the folks at the car company are thinking about in terms of design, quality, production and other components of the corporation. It’s been interesting to see what folks in the boardroom have in mind, to chat with designers and to hear what other consumers of the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep brand think about the vehicles and company proposals. Until now, it’s been a fun exercise that doesn’t take much of my time even if I never thought it would make much of a difference.
It turns out that, supposedly, what we say on the feedback polls matters, but it also turns out that the company isn’t really as dedicated to the CAB as some of us may have thought.
Case in point: Chrysler owner’s manuals. Back in February, we were asked to vote on an idea that involved moving the bulk of the owner’s manuals to DVD while providing a much smaller printed version that contained only highlights. As I recall, the majority voted for the new concept. According to a press release issued on Sept. 21 this future idea is now reality.
Here’s the kicker: the Customer Advisory Board was notified of this change with an announcement that “Your Opinion Counts!” on Sept. 28. So, our opinion counts, I suppose, because we had a hand in helping the company make a decision. But the CAB doesn’t seem to matter that much because we found out by being sent a week-old press release.
Am I over-reacting? It just strikes me as odd that an invitation-only group that was formed to create a connection via social media between a company and its consumers is left out of the loop on a big decision. I’m not even asking for any kind of pre-announcement, because realistically you can’t expect all of us to keep something quiet. But would it have been that hard to tell us the same day the announcement was made?
I’m going to post a comment and see what others think and will let you know if I hear anything back from Chrysler. Any discussions we start are moderated by the the company, so I’m not sure if my fellow members will ever see it or I’ll just get a note back from Chrysler.
In the meantime, what do you think — either about the announcement of the owner’s manuals moving to DVD or how Chrysler handled the announcement to its Customer Advisory Board?