You know the popular opinion about French cars and “I hope you didn’t get one built on a Friday”. Well, I like to think that ethos is also applied to their entire car companies.
In this story, names and places have been altered and even the title is deliberately misleading since nobody is Italian.
Two years ago I bought a model of popular French car from my local dealership based in a large Northern city on one side of the largest coal field in the North of England. A year or so ago I then moved to the other side of the region to be nearer the power stations and filled in mines.
Since brand new cars are kind of worth money, I signed up for this particular dealership’s service plan. So after moving house I found the local dealership there. They did some stuff on their computer so I could keep getting my car serviced and so-on. Same thing I did with my bank and half a dozen other companies I deal with – “hello, I moved house. Here’s my new details”.
So far this sounds fairly sane – I’m dealing with the same company, just a different dealership. It’s 2014, we have the Internet, all things are linked. Except it took a few goes before I could convince the old dealership to stop ringing me up about my car. Every time I told them “I am interested in your stuff, but I moved house so I now go to another garage for all my car stuff” I got met with utter bafflement and confusion.
Now for an even better addition to this story…
In the summer I bought a new car, from the local dealership of this popular French car company. The lions in my old car needed replacing, and the boot wasn’t big enough. Getting a new car was a fairly simple procedure and for the next four years I have a bigger, better car with a rather handy warranty. I mean OK so they still send me advertising rubbish trying to get me to visit “Sales Events”, but that’s automated mailing systems for you. They’re mindless, unlike people…
Today I’ve just had a phonecall from the dealership where I used to live… that I’ve not had dealings with for over two years. The salesman on the phone vainly tried to strike up a conversation with me, but then fell over once I explained that no, I don’t have my car any more, yes I did replace it, and that I replaced it with one of their cars but from a different dealership.
I think the combination of replacing my car with another of theirs, about three months ago, but from a different dealership, and that I now no longer live near them just short-circuits everything.
But I don’t get it… When I moved house I told my bank and they seemed to cope with the concept. I don’t get bafflement and confusion from my old branch. Surely large companies with multiple offices should share information? “This customer of yours just moved to our area. Send us his data so we can spam him now. You can stop contacting him now because it doesn’t make any sense to do so“. You know, this isn’t the standard “go away sales calls I don’t want to hear it” response. It simply makes no sense for me to drive 30 miles to a place when (as far as I care) the same place is a mile walk from my house.