Now, as you know we recently bought a new car, a Volvo XC90. However, it turned out to be a few things wrong with the dealership Volvo Doves Croydon which sold me the car. They, above all, lied to me. Whilst I could expect that from a second hand sales person for any cars, and you almost think car sales people are dubious, it just doesn’t match with a Volvo car dealer, particularly as Volvo Doves Croydon came highly recommended from a friend. My dad drives Volvos for a long time, and I thought by me entering the Volvo market by buying an XC90 with 33, they would appreciate my custom somewhat. Far from it.
Below is the story told in a letter which at the end, since Doves Croydon resolved the issue, I never sent to the Head of Customer Services Volvo UK, or to the dealership.
Maybe I just didn’t send it because just typing it and putting it on my blog was enough for me to get rid off it in my system. Maybe that was all I needed. Maybe silly, but it just gives you another point of view for customer service and brand understanding.
Letter I never sent:
Dear Mr. Keaney,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Volker Ballueder, currently 33 years old, and I grew up with my father driving Volvos since I was about 15 years old. And, honestly, I never thought I would or would even consider driving one myself.
Things changed and with a good offer from your dealership Volvo Doves Croydon, I recently purchased a used Volvo XC90. We reserved the car on a Wednesday, test drove it on a Saturday and were allowed to pick it up on the Thursday as it had to be checked out, cleaned and the MOT had to be done.
So on Friday, 12th of February, I picked up the Volvo. However, the first thing I noticed was that the MOT was from the 20th of January, and that the car inside hadn’t been cleaned. There weren’t any foot mats either which surprised me.
However, maybe I was spoiled from my previous experiences of buying used Volvos with my dad? I didn’t give it too much thought as I just purchased a lovely car. I didn’t want to argue about three weeks MOT, and buying own foot mats and giving it a proper clean myself shouldn’t bother me either.
There was little communication during the buying process from the side of the dealer. Sales person Jeff from Volvo Doves Croydon didn’t return calls or wasn’t available on agreed times when I went to the garage. Again, I didn’t give it much thought.
When I grew up, the Volvo car dealer my father used to buy Volvos from, always offered excellent customer service. Working in customer service and sales myself, I got a good idea on how to please customers by watching the Volvo dealer. They gave my dad Christmas presents, a bottle of champagne for buying a (used) car, helped when he needed a second car for a weekend, and just did these little favours for him whenever he had a question about his car. Cleaning a used car or adding new foot mats were small but nice little treats I learned to expect from a valued car dealer. That is what I associate with Volvo, a brand that represents good quality and safe cars for me, associated with outstanding customer service.
Now, you probably wonder where this is leading to? Exactly, whilst buying the Volvo XC 90 at Doves Croydon I was told I get a 12 months warranty and a 12 months RAC membership with the car. Instead I got a letter saying “as I didn’t purchase the vehicle, my warranty is cancelled”.
It took a few phone calls and it was explained to me that the car comes with a 3 months warranty, which after negotiation turned into a 12 month dealership warranty with break down cover. So, overall, nothing to complain about the car dealership anymore. Sales Manager Gerry of Doves Croydon was very helpful and arranged things for me.
So what is my concern then?
My disappointment doesn’t come from not having the warranty, and or the RAC membership set up. No, I was LIED to. The brand, and Volvo Doves Croydon represents the brand Volvo for me, has lied to me in the sales process about:
– MOT they had to do
– Warranty I would get
– Breakdown cover I would get
Now, I hope they didn’t lie about the car itself. Will my Volvo last as long as I think it will? Is the quality of the car as good as they said it would be? Can I trust them? Can I trust Volvo? These are the questions that come to my mind, as trust and brand image have been compromised if not destroyed by them. Any unfamiliar noise in the car is now a question of “did it get checked out properly?”, “is it working ok?”, “is there anything wrong with it?”.
I don’t need to tell a VP of Marketing and Sales what it means for a lifetime value of a customer at 33 to purchase his first Volvo. If I am a happy customer there is a chance, similar to my dad, that I become a brand advocate and buy Volvo cars for the next 40 years. Every 8 years, assuming an average price of £20,000, Volvo Doves Croydon is currently in the process of ruining £100,000 value for Volvo cars.
Mr. Keaney, having written this all, I am more than confident that you not only understand my issue, but will make sure that your dealerships will reflect the high standard I would assume a Volvo brand reserves.
My issues have been dealt with by Volvo Doves Croydon in a highly professional manner, so I don’t look for any more compensation or gifts. I just, as a Volvo advocate, needed to bring that to your attention.