When you work in a business that relies heavily on customer word of mouth, such as the car industry, you should really make sure that your customer service is amazing. After all, there are plenty of dealerships to find the car you want these days, especially living in a large city. In fact, pretty much any business who wants to make customer follow-up calls should take the time to have some kind of customer database that you can update information with sales calls and the like so that you don't drive your customers or potential customers insane by calling them all of the time. This is apparently not a priority at Holt Fiat of Fort Worth.
I should have known that they were a tad bit incompetent based on my first experience with them. I mean, when you are literally sitting in the dealership showroom, signing paperwork on the car you just leased and someone from the same dealership calls you to see if you're still in the market for a car, that should be a big red flag that these people don't have their act together. But at the time, we laughed it off. Ha ha. No big deal.
When, a few weeks after signing the lease on our new car, various sales people from Holt Fiat of Fort Worth were STILL calling us to see if we are still in the market for a new car, you start to get annoyed. Not just one sales call, but a couple of them. Hello, moron, I'm DRIVING A BRAND NEW FIAT I LEASED FROM YOU A MONTH AGO. Update your records. Oh wait, perhaps I should assume that you don't bother to keep records?
Finally the sales calls stopped, and we made it through the first oil change without incident. When I went in for my second oil change, thankfully without my 5 year old, I sat in the waiting room for two hours. Finally, as I'm watching another completely useless daytime TV talk show, a chick wanders into the waiting room and says "Are you just getting an oil change? I think your car is ready." I followed her out to the service office and what do you know? My car is parked there and just hanging out. I asked her how long it had been sitting there, since no one had bothered to come get me, and it was obvious to me that she didn't want to tell me. The work order copy I was given with my receipt showed 50 minutes of time spent....which leaves an hour and 10 minutes of it not being worked on. Oh yes, I was livid.
I let them know on my satisfaction survey about my so-called service. I did receive one phone call in response to my survey, and I didn't answer my phone because I was in the shower. The service manager left me a voicemail and asked that I call him back, but I decided you know what? If I'm that much of a priority to talk to an apologize for having idiots working in the service department, he will call again. I mean, surely this guy will make at least one more attempt to contact me. Nope. I never heard another word.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I received a call from a sales guy at Holt Fiat of Fort Worth with some weird trendy name that his parents probably made up so I don't remember what it was. He wanted to talk to me about some great promotions they have going on. I informed him that I was very happy with my 500L and wasn't even halfway through my lease, so it didn't really make any sense for me to come look at any of their promos. He then asked if he could get me in a 2015 model for less money than I was paying now, would I be interested? Well of course saving some money each month sounds great, but I reminded him that we still have 19 months left on our lease so it's really not feasible, to which he said that they could totally work with that. I also informed him that I would not pay any money out of my pocket because I didn't need a new car. He said fine. So you know what? I said ok, we will come in on Saturday. I even made an appointment with him, although it did little good because when we showed up at our appointment time he was busy with other people and passed us off to Random Sales Girl who pretty much had no clue what she was doing.
Random Sales Girl asked what we were looking for, so I explained to her that you guys called us - you stated that you could get us in a newer model for less money so here we are. Make it happen. I told her that I didn't need a new car - I love my 500L and we are not even halfway through our lease, but dude said he could work with that so we came in. I told her what we were paying currently, and if they could work out something less than that, we could talk.
Random Sales Girl then proceeded to make us pick out a car, which really seems pretty pointless to me. I had told them that I would not sacrifice any of the features that my car currently has, so a back-up camera was priority, as was navigation and my Beats audio. For some reason, that was just too much information for them and they spent a good hour just trying to figure out if they had a car that matched all of those requirements. So we finally find a car and she made me test drive the darn thing. Look honey, I ALREADY HAVE ONE OF THESE CARS. I don't need to drive another one - I know what they drive like. But I obliged, and of course the car we test drove had no gas in it so we literally went around the block. I was just humoring her anyway.
I guess it's too difficult to have just bypassed this whole process and talked straight to someone in finance. It's too much trouble to walk and say "Look, this is what I pay now. What is the amount I could spend on a 2015 model and end up with cheaper payments? Now do you have a car with the features I require for that amount?" Oh no, we had to go through the whole annoying car sales process as if we were regular suckers. Poor Kate and Trey were just hanging out in the showroom for FOUR HOURS. They were so good though.
Random sales chick also didn't understand the concept of "lower payment than I have now" either. She needed a number from us. So I repeated, "I pay XXX now. Anything less than that." Do you know what she did?? She told whoever it is that she kept disappearing to that we needed payments between $275-300. That's 35% less than we pay now. That's not even FEASIBLE! Clearly a basic understanding of math isn't required to sell cars.
This figure finally prompted Head Sales Guy to come out to talk to us. He was very apologetic that he wasn't going to be able to come close to $275 on a monthly payment, at which point we informed him that Random Sales Girl pulled that number out of her rear and we never said that was our requirement. So I stated again that we said anything less than we pay now, otherwise it didn't make sense for us to bother. I mean, really, we should have just left because the incompetence was making it difficult to breathe, but we were a good three hours in at this point. Head Sales Guy disappeared again and came back with a figure $50 higher than our current payment. Basically that was the best they could do because we weren't far enough into our lease, which I informed him I had explained to his sales guy that called me in the first place, who assured me it wouldn't be a problem.
At this point, Head Sales Guy started talking to us about turn over with their sales people and what-not, which was basically his way of not saying that he's sorry that they have employed a bunch of idiots who don't know what they're talking about, but that's what they did. You know, it's called TRAINING. When you hire someone, train them.
We left, four hours later, in our same car that I already love. Before we even got onto the freeway, I received a call from the satisfaction survey people about my "recent visit to Holt Fiat of Fort Worth". When the guy asked if I had come in for my appointment, I laughed at him and told him we had just left. He was surprised, but I answered his questions anyway.
Three days later......guess who calls Nick to see if we are still in the market for a new car? Yep! Holt Fiat of Fort Worth. The following day they called me to see if we were still in the market for a new car....and then they called me again two days later to ask if we are still in the market for a new car. Each call, different sales person. The last phone call I received pushed me beyond my limit of tolerance for stupidity. I was very quick to inform her that we had wasted 4 hours in her showroom and that I was not interested in any promotions and she was the third phone call we had received and we didn't appreciate it.
That prompted me to send an email to Head Sales Guy yesterday, informing him that I really didn't appreciate all the calls and that it wasn't that hard to create some sort of spreadsheet or database to keep track of customers so that you don't annoy them to death. No reply.
Guess what happened today???? Customer satisfaction survey call from Holt Fiat of Fort Worth! She wanted to follow up with our recent visit and see if anyone had contacted us. My exact words were "Are you kidding me? You are the 4th phone call I have received since I wasted four hours in your showroom and no, I am not satisfied. I have already answered your satisfaction questions on the same day I visited your dealership, I have received three annoying sales calls, and I don't want any more!" She apologized and stammered something about how sometimes information doesn't get updated, to which I replied that I just assumed they didn't keep track of information because this wasn't the first time I've had problems with their lack of organization.
I love my Fiat 500L, but pigs will have to fly out of the sky playing the theme song from Superman on a flute before I will ever step foot in Holt Fiat of Fort Worth again. There are other Fiat dealerships, and even if I have to drive to Dallas for one I will. They could give me a free Fiat and I doubt I would bother to drive over to pick it up from them.
EDIT on 6/25/2015: I am adding to this blog almost one month later to add that since I published this blog post, we have received 5 more sales calls from Holt FIat of Fort Worth including one from the Head Sales Guy himself, the very one that we sat and talked to on the day that we went into the dealership. He wanted to know if we were in the market for a new car! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? He should probably be thankful that he called Nick's phone and not mine, because I am quite sure Nick responded in a much more civilized manor than I would have. Seriously - the people at Holt Fiat of Fort Worth are morons.