Often times, you’ll find that Volvo fans are obsessed with their cars. Can you blame them? We love our enthusiasts, and encourage them to show off their cars and talk to us about anything and everything Volvo. Some enthusiast groups will have meet ups. A group of fans of the same car model will often meet on message boards and forums on the internet. They’ll organize regional gatherings to show off their cars and share their passion for the brand.
This past weekend, the Volvo social media team was fortunate enough to participate in one of these enthusiast events. We didn’t just show up to this event though. There’s no fun in that, is there? After all, Volvo has a ton of cool models and prototypes at headquarters, things that would make a casual car fan and even an enthusiast green with envy.
The particular meetup we attended was for the C30 coupe. As you can imagine, when we found out about this event on an internet forum, and requested their permission to attend, they were quite thrilled. We decided to take it one step further. Not only did we show up, we brought a surprise.
When we announced on Twitter and Facebook that we would be attending this event, we got a great response. We also mentioned our little surprise which started a flurry of activity and resulted in people trying to guess what we would bring. The surprise? A C30 Electric prototype.
The meetup took place in the parking lot of a restaurant called It’s Nutts in Titusville, NJ. It was a small gathering of about 30 wildly enthusiastic Volvo fanatics. They LOVED the C30 electric. They took pictures with it, explored it and even popped open the hood for a close inspection of the electric components. Oh yeah, their cars were pretty nice too. Imagine a parking lot full of some of the nicest C30′s around. Yes, we had a great time and we’re definitely going to be doing this again soon.
-Volvo Social Media TeamC30, C30 Electric, customer care, volvo employee | 7 Comments »
We just had a nice comment posted on our New York Auto Show entry – from Chris Shultz. Thanks Chris.
For those of you who wonder how many employees work at Volvo, we’re a small company compared to probably 80% of car brands. We’re small enough that I’ve seen fellow employees marry fellow employees (I did), have kids (we didn’t) and watch those kids grow up and come to work with us at Volvo. Life is amazing.
Chris’ father, Bengt, is the Manager of Market Intelligence and Business Analysis (great title) in Rockleigh, and Chris is a college student living in Gothenburg, Sweden. During auto show season, Chris takes a break from school, along with a couple of other students, and helps us at the autos shows. He and his classmates answer thousands of questions from guests who visit our stand. Good group of kids.
When we launched S80, around 1998, we invited all our employees, globally, to visit our HQ in Sweden and learn first hand what our S80 was about. From warehouse staff on up…everyone. Probably 98% of those attending had never been to Sweden, much less out of their home country. When we arrived, we were greeted by Volvo support staff dressed in red coats. They were our guardian angels, helping people find what they needed and showing them where to go. They became known as Red Coats.
As we started upscaling our auto show presence, we added groups of Red Coats. Today, their Red Coats are gone, but their hospitality and warmth is not. Some have even come back to Volvo when they finished college.
Nice cycle – people helping people – it is what we are about.
Have a good weekend.
danPosted in Auto Shows, customer care, Quality of Life, volvo employee | Comments Off
No one really buys a car expecting to get in an accident. Years ago I was talking to a car insurance guy about accident frequencies, ‘about once every 12 years’. I don’t even want to go there with thoughts on timing.
Here’s a story we just received. The accident was with our first generation C70 Convertible. This was the first time we used ultra high strength steel (boron treated steel) in our cars. Inside the ‘A’ pillar is a tube structure designed to keep the A pillar in place and when coupled with rear pop-up ROPS (like roll bars), they give the driver a good zone area that helps protect in a roll over. Also around the belt line is more of that steel to help create a caged structure. Yellow is ultra high strength steel:
My name is Kasey, and I am lucky to be writing this email. If it was not for my Volvo C70, I have no doubt that this would not be possible at this time. On Friday, January 21st, 2011 I was driving my usual route to work during rush hour traffic. I live out West, so of course it was 75 degrees and sunny, which for me means I am driving with my top down. Since I was traveling on a major highway, I was traveling at speeds around 70 MPH… when out of nowhere another driver moved into my lane. I swerved to avoid being hit by the other driver, and in upon doing so, my car went into a fishtail. I was not able to regain control, and my car veered off the side of the road, where it proceeded to flip 4 times, slide down the gravel embankment on the driver’s door, and then flip once more to land be back on what was left of my tires. Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes and I was alive. Not only was I alive, but coherent. I was rushed to the hospital, were upon running all necessary test, the conclusion was that there was nothing wrong with me. Other than some bruising and muscle soreness, I just walked away from a high speed roll over with my convertible top down. To say the least, the doctors, police and ambulance teams were shocked to see that I was fine. There was one common theme that I heard over the next 2 weeks, and that was “Thank God you were driving a Volvo.” Everyone from my co-workers, to Facebook friends, to strangers I meet that hear my story, all believe that I owe my life to Volvo. I KNOW I owe my life to Volvo, and my children, my husband, and my family all thank you. How do you thank a car manufacturer for saving your life? I have no idea how to go about this process, other than to spread the word to every person I come into contact with that Volvo is the reason I was given a second chance. If not for your ROPS, this story would not be possible. I do not know if I will be able to afford another Volvo, but If I am, you just made me a Volvo customer for life.. I have attached photos of my car after the accident, once you have viewed these, I am sure you will agree that you have done nothing short of a miracle in saving my life. I want my story shared will every single employee at Volvo, so they will know I want to personally thank every engineer, every line worker and every office member that makes Volvo possible. I want all Volvo employees to know that the work they are doing today is saving lives. Please promise me that you will thank every single employee at Volvo and send them my heartfelt thank you.
danPosted in C70, customer care, Quality of Life, safety, Volvo Saved My Life | 8 Comments »
Amazing how the years just blow by. Friends who work here now have sons and daughters working here, new cars have been launched, people change positions. So many things are different. But not our Open House.
Around nine months ago, Doug Speck, our CEO, told us it’s time to do one again. Working with Volvo Sports America (VSA) and Volvo Club of America (VCOA), we had one heck of a successful event. In all, about 370 club members showed up, putting 774 miles on our demo cars, testing City Safety with our XC60, trying Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake (still haven’t gotten used to all those words) with our S60, drooling over our classic car collection, and having lunch served by VCNA employees.
Beside these loyal owners, what makes me proud are the 70 employees who gave up a Saturday to staff and support what needed to get done.
Owners who love their Volvos, employees who love their work. Nice combination.
Have a great weekend,
Seems Dave is onto something. He wrote that unless his eyes are playing tricks, he has a dash plaque with “REVOLVOLUTION”, “Open House 10th Anniversary”, “October 28th 2000″, “Rockleigh, NJ” and “Volvo for life”. Revolvolution was about launching our S60 back in 2000. Seems absolutely no one here remembered that event. And to think we launched our new S60 with this Open House. Someone is looking over our shoulders. Thanks Dave!
XC90 – A Car for all Seasons
Volvo is about Life. What we build is from a Scandinavian culture that cares about people, I guess we could say a holistic culture. Our part in this culture is to help protect people inside and outside our cars during their most important and memorable events in their lives. The other day, we helped bring life into this world – here’s Ezra’s story. I wonder if Ezra’s birth certificate states: Place of Birth: Volvo XC90?
Check out an excerpt of the amazing story below from the Blooma Yoga blog.
Mama Anna and her husband, Andy, experienced quite a birth last week, with Sarah Longacre as their doula-turned-baby catcher! Their third baby, this kiddo came quickly… in their Volvo SUV! Welcome to the world, Ezra Orion!
From Sarah:Greetings!It is no secret that I love to encourage trust and wisdom when it comes to birth. So as I supported Anna as she birthed her beautiful baby boy Ezra under a full moon in the back of her Volvo last week, those words couldn’t ring more true. Anna and Andy were so calm, so focused and so trusting in every minute of their birth. My hands slowly helped to guide Ezra’s head as he made his way into the world and I have never believed in the miracle of birth more than I did that day.
Anna’s Volvo XC90
To read the rest of the story and to view additional photos, visit the Blooma Yoga blog at http://bloomablog.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/blooma-birth-story-anna-ezra-wow/Posted in customer care, Quality of Life, safety, XC90 | 2 Comments »
On July 14, 2010, our simple life saving device, the three-point seat belt, will forever be a part of American history. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History will officially accept Volvo’s three-point seat belt into their collection. On that day, with a press event for media, business, government and Smithsonian officials, a little bit of Volvo will forever be a part of Washington, DC.
About 18 months ago we called the Smithsonian to ask if they were interested in acquiring our three-point seat belt for their collection. After all, 2009 would mark the 50th anniversary of this invention. Calling them was kind of like rolling dice and hoping you connect all the dots in one easy phone call. I should know that by now, nothing is ever easy. As luck would have it, the Museum was working on a collection of automotive safety “firsts” and our seatbelt would be a key acquisition for the collection. However, first we had to document and they had to verify that we were first. Then we had to prove it was fitted as described, and that it was standard in our cars. What we finally agreed upon was that after 1961 all our cars were fitted with that seat belt.
Originally we were just going to give them a seat belt but since the process took so long, we finally had a belt mounted to a mock-up PV 544 driver side seat with floor pan, seat attachments and ‘B’ pillar for auto shows. We couldn’t authenticate the seat or belt came from a 1961, which is what the Smithsonian needed, so we bought a ’61, took out the original equipment and mounted it on a display stand. The Smithsonian then back-tracked the original car to its previous owner, authenticated that it rolled out of the factory with standard-fitted three-point belts, and I thought we were good to go. I felt like I was watching CSI, they were so thorough in their background searching. Thanks to a long time friend and Volvo restorer, Alan Prosser (www.alanauto.com) who tracked down what we needed, got it packed and sent it down to our Rockleigh headquarters. It turned out that finding a good, original seat that’s 50-years old was a tougher task than I could have ever imagined.
For over a year, our display sat, packed, ready to ship, on our loading dock, right next to our trash compactor. Yeah, can you feel the fear I had, almost daily, that someone would consider it trash and we’d be back to first base. I thank the Swedish Viking gods for protecting it from our compactor.
Finally late last month we got the call to ship. The display was repacked, shrink wrapped and sent on its way with kisses from all of us.
I doubt that Nils Bolin would have ever thought his invention would save more than 1 million people’s lives and that it would become standard in all cars, mandated by law in 1972. Through the years, Nils has received many awards and accolades, but I think this one simple donation would stand out as his crowning achievement, aside from personal thanks from people whose lives were saved by his invention.
Today we like to say there is a little bit of Volvo in all cars.
This July, we will be heading to Washington to present our three-point seat belt to the Smithsonian, a very good day for Volvo.
Below is our two-point seat belt. I think we sold it just for couple of years. When I had my first Volvo, ’58 444, there were mounting holes for seat belts, sold as an accessory. I bought a set, installed them and my father refused to use it, and I refused to drive him anywhere.
Good video of our seat belt’s history: http://www.youtube.com/volvocarsnews#p/u/53/xQFrBX84RVYPosted in Awards, customer care, distracted driving, news, pedestrian safety, Quality of Life, safety, seat belt, Volvo History | 2 Comments »
When Toyota announced their Star Safety System, we started to scratch our heads like, “Gosh, what makes that so special?” I put together lists of what Volvo had, when we had it, when it was fitted, to what models, if there were any markets we didn’t have something fitted … and it became overwhelming.
So I called Toyota’s customer service line to have them explain exactly what systems were installed and when. Seems that starting model year 2011 they will have things fitted across their model line, but not all cars right now. Interesting.
Trying to get that list going again, I asked Bruno in Regulations and Compliance if he could help. So he started his own list. About one week later, I learned that Mike in Product Planning was putting a list together, too. As easy as it seemed, it was impossible to pin it all down. We know in the last four to five years we already have everything that Toyota’s Star Safety System has, and in one form or another those systems have been in our cars for many years.
Much like we do today, our most advanced systems – like City Safety and the upcoming Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake – need progressively higher levels of electronics than prior generations. In fact, the XC60 has City Safety, yet it can not initially be fitted with Pedestrian Detection since its electronics are like version 9.00.01.01 and the S60 is 9.00.01.02 (made up numbers, but you get the idea).
So here’s what NY Times Blogger Dexter Ford said about Star Safety System:
“Toyota is the first full-line manufacturer to make the Star Safety System standard on all vehicles.”
Not certain what a “full-line” means. I guess if that means pick-up trucks, okay, you got us.
“Toyota Motor Sales is not aware of any Toyota patents on the five safety technologies, but we were innovative in combining these systems economically in non-luxury vehicles … ” states their advertising manager.
I wonder what luxury means? Guess that’s us. They never considered Volvo luxury in prior years. It’s good to know we’re now considered an upscale competitor to them, but we’re excluded from their definition of a car company that offers safety.
You know, safety isn’t a surface condition, it’s not something that is touted one year and dismissed the next. It is a constant target for improving quality of life for people in and around cars. Safety is not a marketing slogan, it’s not even a DNA issue. It’s more like an unseen bit of our Swedish soul. We’re very pleased that Toyota is finally adding safety to their cars that we have had in ours for years. Welcome to the party!
DanPosted in City Safety, customer care, distracted driving, news, pedestrian safety, Quality of Life, S60, safety, XC60, XC60 General | Comments Off
Last June we launched the Volvo Safe + Secure Vehicle Coverage Plan. It instantly hit a sweet spot with our retailers and more importantly customers. Considering all we offer on our entire lineup of vehicles, with safety, competitive pricing, feature content and options, Safe + Secure was just icing on a buyer’s cake.
About the first thing I hit up each morning, aside from some coffee and walking our dog, is checking Automotive News video cast. About four minutes of important stuff happening in my world. They just did a piece on Caddy’s new coverage program and how wonderful it and BMW’s programs are but they missed us in their content. We sent over a “hey…we’re here with something better” but time will tell if they hear us.
Here’s what we wrote:
Your piece, AN video news, about BMW and Caddy having extended warranties and service coverage is good but our coverage, which started June 2009, is better. In a nut shell:
The Volvo Safe + Secure Coverage Plan gives owners peace of mind for five years or 60,000 miles, which ever comes first, and is transferable to the next owner. It includes:
5 years/60,000 miles of New Car Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles of Complimentary Factory Scheduled Maintenance
5 years/60,000 miles of Wear and Tear Coverage
5 years/Unlimited miles of Volvo On Call Roadside Assistance.
Since its launch last June, we have seen continued positive sales months, back to back. We, and more importantly our retailers and buyers, believe that this one program has help differentiate us from all other brands, and continues today, even as others join this kind of customer support program.
If you wish to speak with someone here about this, please feel free to email/call us back.
And, if you want to see full details, visit: https://www.media.volvocars.com/us/enhanced/en-us/Media/Preview.aspx?mediaid=19682
Don’t you just love it when chest pounders are proved wrong.
Posted in customer care, General, news, Quality of Life | Comments Off
Terri (blog reader/commenter) asked, on our March 11 posting, how we handle customer relationships. Our most important customer contact point is Customer Care. I asked Bill Casey, Volvo’s Customer Care manager, to give us an insider’s POV.
Bill: After holding several positions at other companies, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Customer Service. The problem was I needed a product that I believed in and would be proud to support. In 2005, I found Volvo, and happily joined their Customer Care team. The company’s core values of Safety, Quality and the Environment deeply resonated with me, and I knew this was a brand I could believe in.
Working with customers can be challenging, but without customers you don’t have a business. That being said, my team and I have one of the most important responsibilities at Volvo – taking care of our customers.
We share the same philosophy as other Contact Centers do, in defining “A Customer”:
• A Customer is the most important person ever in the office, whether by phone, mail or in person.
• A Customer is not dependent on us we are dependent on them.
• A Customer is not an interruption of our work…the customer is the purpose of it.
• A Customer is not someone to argue with or match wits. Nobody ever won an argument with a customer.
• A Customer is a person who brings us his or her wants. It is our job to handle them.
Volvo’s Customer Care department responds to our owners and prospective customers through communications via phone/email/mail, monitoring several surveys (yes, we do read and respond to comments!), as well as social media. Customer Care then works as case managers, trying to fix the issue and hopefully satisfying our Volvo owner. We rely on the expertise of our fellow Volvo colleagues, and our retailers, to help find solutions to the various issues we face every day.
Dan: So what is your favorite really strange call/request?
Bill: I love the email sent late at night, with fictitious names and contact information where there is a legit problem and no way to get back in touch with the person that wrote it. Oh, a gal bought her Volvo, was dating the salesperson, and broke up. She wanted us to buy her Volvo back.
Dan: How many staff are in your department and do you have separate functions or do they all handle one type of call?
Bill: We are small, intimate group of 16 including myself and one team leader. We cross train each of the member across all disciplines so they are well rounded and prepared to handle most contacts that come in.
Dan: Are you able to always help?
Bill: We set out to help turn a problem into a positive experience, basically to exceed expectations. Does it always happen? No. We ask the customer to outline their expectations, it’s easier then hiring a telepath.
Dan: How do you guys stay calm? Daily Yoga sessions, chamomile tea and scones at 3 pm, or?
Bill: Constant stream of comfort food…unfortunately my waistline is suffering. All kidding aside we try to have some fun every chance we get…we try art therapy, desk yoga etc…
Bill’s group is our most outward facing department in our Rockleigh office. We all have expectations in life about situations we can and cannot control. When I have to deal with other companies, I often wonder if the person I’m talking to would want to be treated the way I’m being treated. Bill’s group does a very Volvo family service to our customers who need help.
Good week to you all.