I find myself increasingly putting the service I receive from organisations into one of two categories either "outstanding" or "lousy" - there doesn't seem to be just 'average' any more.
I've decided, therefore, to introduce and list in my newsletter my new "Golden Helicopter" outstanding service awards and "Ditched Helicopter" lousy service awards
Here on the blog I'm going to share with you the reasons behind each one!Please feel free to comment and to add your own recommendations for awards.
I'm looking at buying a new car - but the experience of trying to do so is simply unbelievable!
I was interested in trying an Alfa Romeo so I went on their website, clicked the "nearest dealer" button and was taken to the Perrys of Aylesbury website. Here I was pleased to find I could book a test drive and did so for 4 p.m. the following Wednesday.
On that Wednesday my wife and I drove the 18 miles to Perry's and walked in to be met by the Sales Manager.
"What can I do for you" he asked
"I've booked a test drive for this afternoon" I replied
"What here?" He responded
"Yes" I said "at 4 p.m."
"give me a minute" he responded and walked away.
A salesman then appeared whose first words were:
"I'm not from here, I'm from next door but I'll try and answer any questions you have."
"am I right there is not a diesel automatic option on the Brera?" I enquired
"I'm sure there is -- but I'll check " he responded and went off
he returned "no -- you're right there isn't that option"
the Sales Manager then reappeared with the words
"we don't have any test cars here but I've talked to Amersham and they have one" (note Amersham is 16 miles away)
The salesman then enquired "is anything else we can do for you?"
"Yes" I replied "I would very much like you to try and sell me a car!"
believe it or not the response from both was complete silence!
My wife and I walked out without another word.
How can a company get it so wrong?
Alfa Romeo are therefore the first recipients of the Ditched Helicopter lousy service award.
I then decided to look at the Audi TT car and went onto their website. In this case you could request a test drive of a specific model directly from the main website and this I did. I immediately got an e-mail confirming receipt and advising me that someone would contact me within 24 hours to tell me where and when I could drive the specific model I had requested. Great German efficiency!
However.............. four days later I had heard nothing. I therefore telephoned Audi head office and explained the situation and was told "you should have heard" to which I responded "but I haven't" to which he said "but you should have done".
"can I please take your details, Sir, and I will arrange it directly?"
"I've already spent a long time completing your forms when I applied through the website." I responded
"sorry sir we don't have access to that database - I'll have to go through it again"
So we spend some time doing that and I explained that I wished to test drive an Audi TT,2 litre automatic and that I would travel to anywhere in the country if necessary. She assured me that someone would ring me within 24 hours to fix it up.
One day later I had a telephone call from Oxford Audi:
"I understand you wish to test drive and Audi TT 2litre" he said.
"Yes" I said
"we don't have one" he said "we only have the larger engine -- it's extremely difficult to get hold of Audi demonstrators these days"
"I don't understand why you've rang me" I said "since I made it very clear that I only wish to test the specific model that I'm thinking of buying"
"I only rang you because head office told me to" he replied.
The next day Audi head office rang me back saying that they understood that Oxford Audi had been unable to help me. I replied that as I had made clear I wished to drive the specific model that I was thinking of buying and that I would travel anywhere in the country to do so.
"Leave it with me" she said.
Two days later I happened to be driving through Reading - relatively close to my home - and noticed an Audi dealer. I called in and was met salesman Raj Charan who single-handedly saved Audi and ensured that I would end up buying an Audi car. He was courteous, interested and happy to explain all about the vehicle. His response to my question "I'd like I test drive a TT 2 litre automatic, if that's possible" was
"of course I can have one here for Thursday if that's okay, what time would you like me to fix it for?"
"4 p.m. please -- and my wife will join me"
"that's fine" he said "you can have the vehicle for 45 minutes if that's okay and whilst you're doing that I'll look your existing car over so I can give you a trade-in value when you and your wife return"
At that moment my mobile phone rang and it was the lady from Audi head office
"I've found you a car to test drive, but the nearest to you is in Salisbury - 80 miles away"
"no it isn't" I replied "I'm in Reading Audi at the moment and they've arranged a test drive for me here this week"
"Oh - (silence) - good - you're satisfied then"
As a result of this experience I am going to make two awards:
Firstly,just like Alfa Romeo, Audi get a Ditched Helicopter award for their complete inability to have a joined up operation that "walks the talk".
The second award however is a our very first Golden Helicopter award for outstanding service and it goes to the Audi Reading salesman, Raj Charan, because he alone got Audi out of the mess they had created and got them an order. He represents everything good that you should experience when dealing with the company as a prospective customer.
Well Done Raj!
There's a postscript to the Audi story. Two weeks later I was telephoned by a marketing company working on behalf of Audi asking me to rate my experience of seeking a test drive. I took them through the whole story to which they responded "it happens all the time - you wouldn't believe the stories we hear"!!!