by Shane on 27/11/08 at 9:35 pm
I have been allocated the task of researching and test-driving vehicles for the branded Yuppiechef vehicle (aka Yuppiemobile) that we are looking at putting on the road next year. Mini was our preferred choice of brand – it’s cheeky, sexy and brands really well (have you seen the Red Bull Mini?).
I set out to organise a test drive. My first stop… www.mini.co.za
Went to the TALK TO MINI page and filled out the form where “A dedicated call centre consultant will contact you within 24 working hours.”
Well, it’s been 168 hours and I’m still waiting.
And… it gets worse.
After the first 24 hours I decided to “speak directly to a consultant on (+27) 0800-666-555.” Phone this number and the friendly Telkom lady will tell you that the number does not exist. Was this just a dummy number that the web designers made up to fill the spot?
So, I gave up on the website, went over to the dark side and blew the dust off the telephone directory. I found an authorised Mini Dealer (BMW Claremont) and gave the sales guy a call to arrange a test drive. He told me they prefer to let you test the car for a 24 hour period. I liked this idea very much and we arranged a date the following week. Here’s the friendly confirmation:
The day before my 24hour test-drive I was phoned to be informed that they couldn’t locate a Cooper S. I ended up being messed around a bit, but to make up for it and to say they were sorry, they arranged to let me have a test-drive for this weekend.
Today they cancelled the weekend test-drive as they still couldn’t find a vehicle for me. What’s worse is they fobbed me off onto another dealership altogether.
The new dealer phoned me to arrange a test-drive… they don’t do the 24hour test-drive thing, and short of signing over a body part, you’re certainly not going to get one for the weekend.
I know I haven’t signed anything yet, but I’m feeling ripped off already. Not a good feeling.
I thought the auto motive industry was in crisis? I spoke to a car salesman a few days ago and he told me they haven’t sold a car in ages.
As far as the website is concerned, it’s a great example of how a website must be integrated into a brand’s overall marketing/sales strategy. Pry it out of the creatives/techie hands and let it sit firmly in the control of the marketing/sales team.
Now some homework for you – gather together your business cards, letterheads, e-mail signatures, brochures and your website. Phone every number, e-mail every address and fill out every form to make sure that the communications all get through to the right destination. If you want to be really thorough, do it under a pseudonym and see if your sales staff get back to you and manage to successfully organise a test-drive / send a sales brochure / return the call. You might be losing money every month without knowing it.
Oh, and if you know someone who works for Mini, send them this link. We haven’t given up yet!
Shane Dryden is the 'Maven' at Ideate. The driving-force of Yuppiechef, Shane loves to write on advertising and innovation. He spots the non-obvious stuff behind the obvious, which seems obvious, but isn’t really that obvious (obviously). View more articles by Shane.