Back in October my dad got rid of his ageing Alfa Romeo GT and bought a new Audi Q5 4×4. The purchasing experience in buying that car was apparently the best he’d ever had.

Right from the outset, he said that everything was just so much more professional that anywhere else he had been. The Audi garage itself was something to behold. It was as if the whole building was made of glass. Massive glass walls (probably aluminium curtain walling) made up the main body of the building. Glass doors everywhere inside. Glass takes where the reps worked from. In his words: “the place stank of money”.

Right from the off the staff there were so much more presentable than at other garages he’d  visited previously. Nice suits, nice shoes. No long hair or beards. But they were also much more approachable and helpful. The BMW staff weren’t, Audi’s main competition. The staff asked him what he liked and worked around that. He went out for a test drive of the car and loved it straight away. Back at the dealership the negotiations began. But it wasn’t those typical negotiations like you get at Fiat where the reps don’t care and it feels like hard work. He got a good price for his old car, got a good price for the Q5 with a couple of freebies thrown in. But it was the environment in which the sale was done which impressed him the most.

Just to give some examples. The tea and coffee there was better than in most dedicated coffee shops! Is was constantly on offer, among with enormous muffins and other cakes! You could have left there fill and not needing dinner! The takes that they were sat at were something like you would have seen at a posh art gallery. Even the pens on the desk were posh!

The service after the purchase was also something to be impressed with. The car he bought was on a six week lead time. But during his wait, he received updates about his car, when it was likely to arrive, he was automatically subscribed to Audi’s owner magazine and was thanked on numerous occasions by the rep who sold him the car for his business. Something he hasn’t had from other garages. He felt his business was appreciated.

When the time came to pick his car up, the attention to detail and service didn’t stop there. Rather than just being given the keys to his new car and told to drive out of the showroom, he was taken through yet more glass doors to another room sheer his car was under a silver sheet. In a similar way to how a statue is unveiled, so was his car! Far better than just driving it out of a cold and wet car park! He was presented with a bottle of champagne as well!

A couple odd weeks after having the car, another letter was sent by the rep he dealt with being asked how he was finding the car, once again being thanked for his business and that he was welcome to pop in for a coffee and buns any time he wished. Oh, he also gets to use their fancy car wash, for free, any time he wants!

So why am I telling you all this? I’ve told this story because I think there are things we could learn from this as window installers which could help improve the experience for the customer. Ways we can improve our showrooms so they are a pleasant and nice place to be, like the posh Audi dealerships. Ways we can improve our communication with the customer to make sure they feel appreciated and valued. Ways we can improve our customer after sales service. This all takes time and effort and a little bit of money. But maybe if we all applied some of the magic that the higher end car companies did, then maybe our cowboy reputation might start to disappear.