I have now had two Audi TTs in succession and I’m looking to replace my latest sometime in the next few months.
Another TT is certainly a possibility and I went onto the Audi website to look at the specs and configure it. The standard colours, however, are very limited so I am thinking I will go for one of the non-standard colours that are available at a price only to find that you cannot configure the car with one of these online.
I then read in the press that, with much hype, Audi are opening their first ‘digital’ showroom in Piccadilly London. This is what Autocar said:
“Audi has opened the doors to its first digital showroom in London, dubbed Audi City. The compact showroom — that showcases the marque’s model line-up digitally – gives the firm new outlets in major cities.
Visitors to the new digital showroom can spec an Audi to their tastes and then digitally view the model on large computer screens that fill much of the showroom’s interior space.
Details such as drivetrain, bodyshell or LED tech can also be presented 'in order to make innovations understandable on an intuitive level' according to Audi.
Audi marketing and sales boss Peter Schwarzenbauer said: “Audi City combines the best of two worlds – digital product presentation and personal contact with the dealer.
“This new retail format brings us even closer to our customers – geographically, of course, but first and foremost in terms of the quality of our relationship. Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer.”
So last week I went so I could have a look at the colour and specification of TT I might be interested in. In fact there was a strong chance I would commit to it there and then.
Well - Audi could not have got it more wrong - the showroom is a disaster, manned by miserable people who don’t understand their products and with inadequate technology - and the last thing they want to do, it seems, is for you to buy an Audi!
This was my experience:
I arrived mid morning and there appeared to be no other customers but about 6 or 7 members of staff. Two speaking German to each other immediately as you came in - who didn’t even look up, a guy with one of the electronic lecterns apart apparently repairing it and others, presumably salespeople, one sitting and the others standing around.
The showroom was bare floored, bare walled and felt somewhat cold and unwelcoming.
A lady came up to me and asked if she could help (no smile, and a little hesitant). I explained that I was interested in a TT, had heard about their new ‘digital’ showroom and would like to configure my car (lots of buying signals I would have thought!). She took me to the first lectern, which apparently didn’t work, so we moved to the second. She then helped me get configuring but the touch screen was awful - it was like a first generation version - very user unfriendly. She had to keep telling me to be softer or harder or to be more precise in touching!
I then get to the colours and go for the non-standard, select the colour I am interested in and hey presto the large picture of my car on the wall shows - NOTHING!
She then enquires of a colleague, who then joins us (he does smile by the way), and explains that the configurator cannot show the non-standard colours as there were ‘too many’…...he then admits that in fact this highly hyped configurator is, in fact, just the same as the one they have on their website displayed on a digital wall. That’s all it is.
I then ask how I can see the colour I am interested in and he says he thinks he has some swatches ‘downstairs’. He disappears for ten minutes and returns with some wooden swatches - each a few inches square ( hi tech stuff)
I explain that I appear to have wasted my time coming to London and that I felt very let down and went to leave - at which point there was no attempt to ‘sell’ to me.
The lady who had been sitting down throughout all this then stood up and said she was a researcher for Audi and would I mind answering some questions about my experience in the showroom. This was very long - and with some very biased questions- and you can imagine the replies she got - and would you believe that the moment I sat down with the researcher the salespeople came and stood a few feet away so they could hear every word I was saying!
I finally went to leave and the guy who had shown me the swatches came over and asked if I had finished the ‘inquisition’ and if there was anything else they could do. I made clear to him that when I had entered the showroom I was minded to buy an Audi but that was now very unlikely.
From beginning to end this was a case study in how not to do it.
Audi get another well deserved Ditched Helicopter Award for their complete ineptitude.
- ▼ 2012 (15)
- Roger Harrop
- Roger Harrop, The CEO Expert, has spent over 25 years leading international business at the highest level, ultimately a plc, putting him in a unique position to deal with contemporary business challenges. He is ranked in the top 10 of Management and Strategy Speakers worldwide by Speaker Wiki and twice voted by the members of The Academy for Chief Executives 'Speaker of the Year' He is an, Oxford, UK based, international motivational business growth speaker who inspires and entertains his audiences with his acclaimed Staying in the Helicopter® programmess. Over 20000 CEOs, business leaders in 40 countries have achieved transformational change through his thought provoking and entertaining talks laced with real-life stories, anecdotes and humour. Roger is an author, accredited SME business advisor, mentor, and independent director and has run businesses for major multi-national corporations. He is a Past-President of The Professional Speakers Association, a former Vice-President of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and a Liveryman with The Worshipful Company of Marketers.