Over the Christmas break my husband decided to buy a car (during the one brief moment when he wasn't asking me where things were). Gotta admit it took me by surprise: First he's no rev-head and second, we already had two in the garage (and I don't drive). Actually, I think he was pissed off that I took him at his word this year and didn't buy him anything for Christmas - well, except for the new curtains and loose covers in the family room. (Hey, he said he liked them.) Yep, this was payback - big time. Guess next year I'd better get him something or at least get my driver's licence renewed.
Anyway, we lob some brands around. One I put on the table because I like its looks (this is how women buy cars), but I've also heard they give great service. For example, when your car needs servicing someone comes out, picks up your car and drops off a loaner. Nice touch, at least for us, because these days, like so many people, we're time poor.
Hubby says okay, sounds good, let's add it to the list and take a look. Luck of the draw, we ended up at this particular manufacturer first and ended up buying a car.
Here's what transpired: We walk into the showroom; look at three models; sit in two of them; like one; ask the price; say we'll take it in black, thank you very much and are ready to leave and go get lunch. Time elapsed: 15 minutes.
We're happy campers, but the salesman is not because he wants to provide world-class service and we've just denied him the opportunity. But he's a determined bugger.
Do we have any more questions? No. Maybe we'd like to talk to the sales manager? Ah, no. He gets him anyway. Sales manager asks if we have any questions. Perhaps we'd like to schedule a test drive? No, really, if it's okay with you we'd just like to buy the car.
Now I shoulda tipped right then and there that this was not our kind of relationship, but now, four months down the road, we're stuck with it and we're in customer service hell. (Well, maybe purgatory, which does scare the hell out of me because that means hell is still an option.)
These guys will not leave us alone. They keep ringing us at home and the office to see if we have any questions. They want to make appointments to come see us in case we have any questions. (Guess this is their payback for not asking enough the first time around.) We're now getting calls to remind us of the 1000K check-up, and not to forget it.
Tell you what I think: They don't think we're worthy of this car.
I also believe it's a lesson in CRM. Sometimes the relationship can be too intense. Sometimes you are asked to give too much information. Sometimes you don't want to be overserviced. Sometimes you don't want a life-long marketing relationship.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a car is just a car; and you just want to drive it, not live the experience.
Next month: the other side of the equation - Qantas strikes again.
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