October, 15 2011. Herentals, Belgium. An invitation to test drive the new Jaguar XF came to me by direct mail a few weeks ago, and I must say I was interested. As a loyal Volvo driver I was looking forward to the ‘Jaguar Experience’. Nicely dressed and with a clean shave my wife and I drove down to the Herentals Jaguar Dealership for our test drive appointment. With a touch of ‘exitement’ we entered the show room. The new Jaguar XF model was nicely displayed in the showroom. You could say our ‘excitement level’ was up. The Salesman was busy on the phone and we approached the reception desk. He uttered something in the phone, which we did not understood was intended for us (as a greeting) or to the person on the phone. So we decided to take some time to walk around the show room. Our friend the sales man, continued his talk with we believe was another customer. Some more people entered the dealership and lined up for the reception desk. Our friend the sales man continued happyly talking in his cell phone. After 10 minutes, waiting and wondering around, we decided to leave the dealership and spend our saterday morning elsewhere. Now you must know as Marketing professor and consultant in customer experience I’m particulary touchy with regard to treatment on the shop floor. As we walked back out the dealership, the sales man was suddenly able to end his phone call and rushed outside to stop us. He appologised, and when I confronted him with his behaviour, the sales person responded with his ’35 years sales experience’. Big mistake. Our mood was deep down.
He convinced us to do the test drive anyway. And I must say it was a wonderful drive: stable, fluent gear change, smooth and a car full of luxury. After the test drive we asked for a quotation. The computer would not start up and the sales man invited us to follow on screen a configurator in excel. “The Jaguar on-line car configurator crashed too much, so we developed our own configurator in excel“. Configurating a car, understanding the packs and options is quite complex, and he took us to all the packs and options for about 30 minutes. He was clearly not an experience excel user, when we watched him adding colums and inserting formula.
After 1,5 hours we walked our with a depressed perception of the Jaguar brand. An test drive experience I was looking forward to, ended in a deep dissappointment for both of us. I will not drive a Jaguar. At least my friends in Los Angeles, California received 25 USD to test drive the latest Infinity model.