Posts Tagged ‘Audi’

Audi Says “Haudi!” to Excellent Customer Service

June 1st, 2010

Your brand is much more a function of what you do than what you say about yourself.  And there’s no more powerful way to affect your brand–either positively or negatively–than through your customer service.

I’ve been driving my Audi A4 Cabriolet–very happily–for seven years.  When I bought the car, the dealer–The Audi Exchange in Highland Park, IL–asked if I wanted my license plates on the front and back or just the back.  I hadn’t realized that the latter option even existed, but they pointed out that front plates weren’t required in Illinois.  As someone who generally prefers a very clean look, I took the “back only” option.

Unfortunately, at some point over the past several years, the city of Chicago–where I often go for both business and recreational reasons–started ticketing vehicles without front plates.  But when I recently asked the Audi Exchange to install my front plates, I was initially told that the installation bracket that would be required would cost about $280.  When I explained my situation to the service manager and pointed out that I wouldn’t have been charged for the bracket had I had the front plates installed when I bought the car, he smiled and said, “That’s a fair point.  Okay, the brackets are on us.”

That was it. No haggling.  No complaining that I’d bought the car seven years ago.  No running to the general manager for approval.  He simply did the right thing and treated a customer fairly.  In a perfect world, that wouldn’t be newsworthy, but in an age when so many companies fail to empower their employees to make decisions that will make customers feel truly valued, this experience was a very refreshing.

The result is that I’m more loyal than ever to Audi in general and The Audi Exchange in particular.  In fact, I’m so loyal I might even write a blog post about it!

The Audi-city of Dope

January 20th, 2009

I drive an Audi, and I love it. In fact, it gave me cause to create my first and only vanity plate:  HAUDI.  (It’s not so much a vanity plate as it is a friendly greeting to my fellow motorists!) But as smart as the folks at Audi are when it comes to designing cars, they just exercised some surprisingly poor judgment from a communications standpoint.

Today–January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day–Audi ran an 8-page insert in most major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune to which I subscribe. The cover of this insert is very stark.  It reads:  “PROGRESS. It shapes. It changes. It leaves old ways behind. And brings new ways forward. It comes in many forms.  The big and the small. The historical and the personal. The social and the scientific. And while we may never see it coming, we most certainly know when it has arrived.” At the bottom of the page:  “January 20, 2009.”
This is clearly a reference to today’s historic inauguration of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. So when I opened the insert, I expected to see a sincere, well-worded message of congratulations to our new president, and perhaps some inspirational statement regarding the future prospects for our economy, our country and our world. Instead, I found seven pages that are all about Audi; there was absolutely no reference to the inauguration. What’s more, the few photos of Audi automobiles shown were quite unflattering.
So rather than making a classy move and scoring points with current and prospective customers by congratulating America on this momentous occasion, Audi is attempting to exploit the occasion.   And in doing so, they made their cars look bad and their management look worse.
Call it “The Audi-city of Dope.”