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Old 15th October 2011, 08:40   #1
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Default How to lose a prospective Audi customer in 10 minutes

Story so far:
Lost my Laura in an accident in June. Did not require an immediate replacement as there is always a spare car at home for me to drive. Have been toying with almost every option that is in the market - unable to decide whether to splurge or remain financially disciplined :-) Finally got inspired by the posts of originalamit@ and figured out that a 31L A4 2.0L TDI is just the right balance (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ml#post2543771 (New Audi A4 variant to be launched in september.)). I won't feel like I bought a car for the price of a house and at the same time it will feel like an upgrade to the Laura L&K I had. Went to the dealer on Thursday and gave a cheque for 10L towards booking and told him family will come and select the colour as I was unable to decide.

Here is what happened on Friday:
I have asked my wife and kids to come to the Audi showroom to help me pick a color from white+beige, teak-brown+beige and black+brown and possibly maybe a test drive. I fixed an appointment with the sales person handling my deal and told him to expect us between 4:30-5:30pm and he confirmed all the above options are in the showroom to see. He said he may be outside during that time but will get his colleague to attend to us in case he is not around.

My wife and kids reached on time while I was still on my way due to work and traffic. They travelled from yeshwantpur side to hosur road showroom which is a quite a bit of travel. I have called the sales person handling my deal and told him I am running a bit late and asked him to attend to my family and show them the options till I get there. He was not there so he asked his colleague to take care of it.

The deputy unsold the car just in few minutes. The reception was pretty cold. He was visibly irritated with my kids and not very enthusiastic in showing the car and its features - that too from a safe distance. You know the type who don't like children leaving finger prints on the polished car. Finally wife wanted to check the black+brown combination. This guy says the black+brown car is ready for delivery and he can't open and show the interiors and asked them to just see it from outside!

Those of you who are married and with kids can guess what happened next. She didn't blast anyone in the showroom, all that was saved for me :-) She didn't wait for me to reach the showroom and left for home, I changed my route so we had an emotional rendezvous near Silkboard junction in the middle of 6pm peak traffic.

I called up the salesman and told him they messed it up and asked him to return the cheque to my driver. I had given them a cheque the day before to be deposited once the colour is selected. He was apologetic and all and to give him credit it was not his mistake that he had a lousy deputy. I told him we will discuss it after a couple days when we are not edgy. Called the bank to put a stop payment instruction on the cheque just so they won't pull a fast one on me.

On the way home, we stopped by at the Merc showroom and it was a completely opposite experience. Who would have expected!!! It was nearly 7pm but the sales person was very helpful. He was awesome with kids :-) We took a TD on the face-lifted trim - panorama sunroof is my fav feature. But the diesel is nearly 42L in Bangalore - everything is good about the car but the 250D and the transmission combo is lazy, unrefined. They have just one pre-facelift 250D ambient trim going at ~37L after some 3.5L discount on the ex-showroom. A4 will keep me happy at 31L with 4yrs warranty with 30K km service intervals (15K oil change). Merc is significantly more expensive to buy and maintain (only 3yrs warranty) - but certainly has better quality/finish and the star.

Just before my wife visited the Audi showroom, I spoke to few friends and was fully convinced that 31L A4 was the best buy. Now I am in a dilemma - I can convince my wife to ignore that experience as a one-off case (with some effort) and still pick up the A4. But in the back my mind, I feel that showroom doesn't deserve my business and I should put my money elsewhere. On a general note, I am sick and tired of the deteriorating customer service levels everywhere, and by canceling the A4 deal, I want to send a strong message to them that it is unacceptable.

Last edited by androdev : 15th October 2011 at 08:42.
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Old 15th October 2011, 08:46   #2
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

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This guy says the black+brown car is ready for delivery and he can't open and show the interiors and asked them to just see it from outside!
IMHO: The guy did the correct thing by not opening a ready for delivery car.
Imagine, if you were getting this car and found something amiss in it.
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Old 15th October 2011, 08:51   #3
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

I think by cancelling the A4, you are doing the right thing. It is a 31L Rupees car. What you are buying is not just a CAR. You are buying an experience. you are paying extra over a passat and a honda accord for the experience of buying and owning something else. That something else is the experience. If those guys cannot give you and your family the proper experience then its just not worth it. Maybe you can go to a different showroom or maybe a different manufacturer. Why don't you check out BMW?
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:02   #4
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

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IMHO: The guy did the correct thing by not opening a ready for delivery car.
Imagine, if you were getting this car and found something amiss in it.
I agree. In fact, my wife was later saying he was too good to the buyer and too bad for a potential buyer.

However, the agenda for our visit was very clearly stated out. They simply allow us to check out white+beige, teak-brown+beige and black+brown colours and allow us to pick one. It couldn't get simpler than this. Especially the brown shades you have to see in person to convince yourself that it is of the right shade.

Without referring a specific incident - and knowing my wife - I have no doubt in my mind that the experience was a bummer. You don't travel with 2 kids from one end to the other end of Bangalore with the excitement to pick a new car and overlook an experience where: your kids are unwelcome, they have no enthusiasm to explain the features and different options on display in the showroom, your requests (part of the agenda, mind you) are snubbed.

I would go so far as to say that if you don't welcome children your hospitality sucks. You first cater to children and win wife's approval. And then cater to wife and then win husband's approval. Thats how sales work - fairly basic.

@navpreet318
We have a 5-series in the family and was looking for something else but I have a feeling it might end up being a 3-series! Can't pay 42L for the Merc C-class - a lot of money (and least protection in terms of warranty + service costs)

Last edited by androdev : 15th October 2011 at 09:07.
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:03   #5
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

If you think its worth giving the guys a chance and if you are sure that's what is the beast deal and what's your heart wants, give it another chance. Maybe the deputy was having a bad day and deserve another chance?

Very OT, the new 3 series? Saw?
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:10   #6
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

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If you think its worth giving the guys a chance and if you are sure that's what is the beast deal and what's your heart wants, give it another chance. Maybe the deputy was having a bad day and deserve another chance?

Very OT, the new 3 series? Saw?
Hard to beat 31L OTR value of A4. Have the F10 5 series in the family. Actually I arrived at this deal after a lot of brain wracking. But I am going to check other options before I go back to A4 again.
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:21   #7
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

@adnrodev

Only a fool wood loose a business like yours. I have seen excellent salesmen who just turn bad only after paying the money.

In your case it is just plain sad that the showroom messed it up.

If i were the sales manager, i would fire that sales guy, bring my test drive car to your place with a handy gift for your kids and try to make a business out of this deal.

I still would give them a second chance and see if they are interested to give you a test drive at your home and not you driving to their place.

A4 is still my favorite car. He is naughty, sporty and just stunning in both Vanilla and chocolate.
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:21   #8
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Hard to beat 31L OTR value of A4. Have the F10 5 series in the family. Actually I arrived at this deal after a lot of brain wracking. But I am going to check other options before I go back to A4 again.
Androdev, please please take a look at the Passat.

It is much better than the A4 and is priced at 31L for the fully loaded.

You already have a 520d so it's not like you don't have a luxury car with a brand attached to it.

You may as well get one understated ride.

Why buy a cut cost Audi with lower engine spec and poor gearbox when the same with VW badge has a better engine and gearbox combo.

ps: I wouldn't go back to Audi at all. Not even a long shot. Yes he probably did the right thing by not letting kids into the new car for delivery but didn't the other sales guy say he would have all the colours for you to check out.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 15th October 2011 at 09:22.
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Old 15th October 2011, 09:51   #9
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

IMO you should give a second chance to the audi guys. After booking my first car I went to the showroom and was quite annoyed to see a few people checking out the car. They were sitting inside and slamming the doors shut. I was not supposed to get the delivery of the car on that day, but after seeing this I insisted that I need the car then and there or deal is canceled. They obliged and I was happy again. You should be happy that if you book the car, those guys are not going to allow anybody near it. This one would be a real peace of mind for me. But yes, if their behaviour was insulting towards your family then there is no question.
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Old 15th October 2011, 10:16   #10
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
IMHO: The guy did the correct thing by not opening a ready for delivery car.
Imagine, if you were getting this car and found something amiss in it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
I agree. In fact, my wife was later saying he was too good to the buyer and too bad for a potential buyer.
It is one thing to 'refuse politely' and quite another to just REFUSE!
Am sure if the issue about not opening a delivery car was properly explained, she would have had no problem at all. But in this case it was clearly insulting. And to a customer who had paid 10 lacs too.


Why dont you shoot an email to Audi? Lets see their response. Anyway you dont have anything to lose .

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
@adnrodev


If i were the sales manager, i would fire that sales guy, bring my test drive car to your place with a handy gift for your kids and try to make a business out of this deal.

I still would give them a second chance and see if they are interested to give you a test drive at your home and not you driving to their place.
Now THAT would be brilliant from Audi's side.Lets see if the guy can woo back the lady to the showroom.
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Old 15th October 2011, 10:44   #11
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

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Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
@adnrodev

Only a fool wood loose a business like yours. I have seen excellent salesmen who just turn bad only after paying the money.

In your case it is just plain sad that the showroom messed it up.

If i were the sales manager, i would fire that sales guy, bring my test drive car to your place with a handy gift for your kids and try to make a business out of this deal.

I still would give them a second chance and see if they are interested to give you a test drive at your home and not you driving to their place.

A4 is still my favorite car. He is naughty, sporty and just stunning in both Vanilla and chocolate.
To be honest, the entry level (business edition) A4 is a superb value. So if I manage to stick to budget (which is always a pain while buying cars - A4 is still a strong contender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Androdev, please please take a look at the Passat.

It is much better than the A4 and is priced at 31L for the fully loaded.

You already have a 520d so it's not like you don't have a luxury car with a brand attached to it.

You may as well get one understated ride.

Why buy a cut cost Audi with lower engine spec and poor gearbox when the same with VW badge has a better engine and gearbox combo.

ps: I wouldn't go back to Audi at all. Not even a long shot. Yes he probably did the right thing by not letting kids into the new car for delivery but didn't the other sales guy say he would have all the colours for you to check out.
Passat has better engine and AT - but in every other aspect Audi feels much better put together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
IMO you should give a second chance to the audi guys. After booking my first car I went to the showroom and was quite annoyed to see a few people checking out the car. They were sitting inside and slamming the doors shut. I was not supposed to get the delivery of the car on that day, but after seeing this I insisted that I need the car then and there or deal is canceled. They obliged and I was happy again. You should be happy that if you book the car, those guys are not going to allow anybody near it. This one would be a real peace of mind for me. But yes, if their behaviour was insulting towards your family then there is no question.
We appreciate the fact that he didn't want us to show us a customer's car. This was just one aspect of the whole experience which was rife with unpleasantness from start to finish. It is very difficult to describe such feelings - you know whether you are being treated well or not. If you are treated well and they couldn't accommodate one or two things that you wanted - you won't walk out the door totally annoyed.

What I have learned in life is.. if you give somebody money on a platter, somehow they don't respect it. I could have made these guys to send the car to my home, office and all kinds of donkey work. Instead, I walked into the showroom on Thursday, gave the cheque. Asked my family to visit the showroom to make a decision on the color and close the deal.

I have no doubt in my mind that they were disrespectful to the business I gave them. Yes, the main sales person has apologized, offered to send the car home, and come home personally to convince my wife and blah. It gets a bit philosophical now :-) As a father and husband, I don't want to give them a second chance. But then you say.. mistakes do happen, maybe they deserve a second chance.
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Old 15th October 2011, 10:47   #12
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

@androdev,
While shopping for my car, me and my family have got irritated at any little annoyance caused by dealers and walked out. But then I guess it is because we have so many choices. For example, there are like 6-7 Ford dealers in Delhi alone. Not so many choices in case of Audi, I guess. So while I can walk out easily, you are at loss of choices.

Anyway, if you want the Audi then you will have to find another Audi showroom nearby. And if there are none then God knows what can be done. It would be too daring to ask your wife to visit the Audi showroom again.

P.S. It is not be noted that you were not there and what you know regarding what happened at the showroom was from your wife's view. So it is possible that Audi guys were fully supportive and clearly stated why certain restrictions were placed. So I don't know if your wife and kids were indeed ignored or not. I am not saying that your wife might have strange perspective of seeing things but women, um, I should not say here what I have in mind.

Last edited by DevilsCry : 15th October 2011 at 10:56. Reason: adding P.S.
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Old 15th October 2011, 11:00   #13
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

It's a tough call and am glad am not in your position right now. Some suggestions:
- Since you like the car but feel it's the dealer who's given you a raw deal, why not go to another dealer?
- OR...take delivery from this dealer and get your servicing etc. Done from another dealer. Make sure you let them know
- If that dealer is the only option, why not call up someone senior, like a manager and explain to him calmly and frankly what the issue is? It's quite possible there was a miscommunication between your SR and the deputy. He may not have realised your wife and children were customers. Agreed that he had no business being dismissive, but it may be fair to give him a second chance.

All the best.
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Old 15th October 2011, 11:12   #14
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

What a way to lose a customer. I am trying to look at both sides of the coin here. On one side, your wife and kids would have been put-off a great deal due to the incompetence of these fellows at the Audi showroom. And at the same time, the fellows at the Audi showroom might have been under the impression that they were window-shoppers.

That said, they should have given some respect. After all, you're shelling out a hefty 30 lakhs on the car. So a little courtesy is always welcome, even if you weren't present at that time.

You being put off is one thing, but when your family gets the stick, it's really really sad.

On another note, the A4 is a great car, but is getting old now. Perhaps you could check out the other cars on offer. As Viddy mentioned, do check out the new VW Passat. Great looking car and is loaded to the brim with equipment. Gives you the same amount of luxury without the Audi badge. It's basically the same car underneath.

You could also check out the Volvo S60. A different kind of car. Known for its safety, and the power/performance it packs. It is around 40 lakhs or so, I guess. Also, check out the new BMW 3-Series, if you're prepared to wait a little.
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Old 15th October 2011, 11:27   #15
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Default Re: How to lose a customer in 10 minutes

Androdev, Surprised to this on a Saturday morning! And now I cannot edit my congratulations post on your 5 series v/s Laura thread

Personally, I feel you did the right thing by cancelling the booking. You’re not buying something cheap, and they are not doing any favor by selling the car. Even if you go back to A4 in a few days, at least this will give a strong message to those folks (not sure if they will learn though).

I can identify with your wife’s thoughts on this kind of behavior. I myself have quietly walked off from a few shops here due to the cold customer service.

As Suhaas mentioned in the post above, check out the Volvo S60 as well. Probably an option worth considering.
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