The Audi customer experience

After almost 2 years without a car, Selena recently got a new job at the SLAC Guest House. Unfortunately, the shuttle busses don’t operate when she gets off of work, so I’ve been having to borrow a City Car Share car every night to pick her up.

As a result of the new job and our friends moving to places less accessible by public transit, we broke down and placed an order for an Audi.

Let me just say that, so far, the customer experience has been top notch. We dealt with Christopher Bearman at Carlsen Audi, in Palo Alto. Christopher was unlike any car salesman I’ve ever dealt with (which admittedly, isn’t many, but you know the stereotype). He was very respectful of our time, never pressured us in any way and seemed to know everything about our car. He was even able to answer my questions about the difference between Audi’s North American and European product lines. Wow!

Apparently, the Audi customer experience is no accident, as reported in the Gallup article, “Audi’s Drive to Service Excellence.” From the article:

“Audi Centres are focusing on the customer experience rather than on processes, and they see this program as an important business tool. Customer relationships- not just cars- are running well, and that means a smooth ride for customers and employees alike.”

Although the article is focused on customer experience improvement endeavors in the UK, my buying experience suggests there is a related program here in the States.

12 thoughts on “The Audi customer experience”

  1. I was totally considering this car as well a few months ago. I studied the CVT from various engineering documents and Jeff showed me a model of how it worked. I’m still eyeing it, but like my whole blurb about convertibles it may not happen…the Volvo wagon might be more of the reality of our lifestyle in the coming year. Congrats! I hope I can get a ride when it comes in for the next BayCHI meeting 😉

  2. Dont ever deal with chryster the have had me in a tizzy.. with this totaly messed up oh we dont have the vin for your 97 Jeep on record.. your car dose not exsist crap… no keycode for lost keys no nothing.. i hate it!

  3. Oh yea some more good Jeep news.. yeah it started on fire. this week..

    There was a recal on our wireing harnes.. but because my car dose not exsist.. oh well.. sorry cant replace the damaged car.. call your insurance company..

  4. MY A6 AUDI Avant Quattro negative experience (Recall on ignition switch for A6 cars, 1996):

    I have spoken to Melissa Clouthier, who works at Audi USA in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

    I was very dissappointed by the response of Ms. Clouthier. I am not understanding the way Audi is doing businesss with me, I have owned BMW automobiles in the past, as well as Honda and Nissan motorcars. When a recall item is announced, they have taken care of it with no regard for the age of my vehicle or the record that seems to be missing from the vehicle.
    When I look up the recall item in the NHTSA web site (National Highway and Traffic Safety Act), it is obvious that my car has suffered from the same faulty ignition switch that was announced for my vehicle. My service manager at the Beaudry Audi dealer (Tucson, Arizona, Brian) told me before I brought the car in that it qualifies unless my car had the work done on it already. However, Ms. Clouthier said that “Audi cannot be responsible for the cost of fixing my vehicle”, even though my car did not previously have this work done on it. I suggested that possibly my VIN number had been left out of the recall by mistake, but my conversation was done as far as this Audi representative was concerned. I suggested that the money to fix the car ($159.02) was not worth losing me as a customer, however, she again referred to the age of my car, as if to say that I did not matter because I had not bought a new Audi.

    I love my Audi and would like to remain a loyal Audi customer. I have spent a total of $835.69 on service this time, and I am only asking for the price of the ignition fix. However, it seems that Audi will not stand behind the quality of their cars.

  5. Sadly, your story is familiar. My boyfriend’s 2002 A4 has been in the shop at least seven times in the last six months. Everytime we get the car back with a new excuse. Last time the head service guy told us that “O-rings can break and Audi possibly shipped them defective parts.” Visions of the Challenger disaster flashed through my brain — those darn O-rings! He wasn’t able to explain how we got the “1 in a million bad part” 3 or 4 times. Really, our chances of getting a bum part from Audi seem to be statistically better than our chances of winning the lottery.

    We’ve called Audi Customer Care and frankly we are extremely unhappy with them as well. So, problems happen. Fine. Fix them. They are meticulous about calling us back within 24-48 hours, but that doesn’t mean our problem is actually solved. We’ve spoken with two different reps and a supervisor and have gotten multiple answers to the same question. It’s incredibly frustrating. Right now we’ve spent many many hours trying to get their assistance with extending a warranty. They “offer” us something, then it turns out they’re really offering us less, and by the way, if we take their offer, then our car is pretty much on its own in 12 months. Some “customer service gift.” Our friends, who keep seeing us drive up in a rental car while ours is in the shop, are fascinated by our car woes. They’re also pretty darn unlikely to buy an Audi, from Carlsen or anywhere else. Like you mentioned, they seem to be willing to lose at least one customer (my boyfriend) and possibly more (me, our friends) over what we estimate will cost them $1500 (on a $30,000+ car…). Stupid stupid stupid.

    If anybody has had success in escalating a call to Customer Care and has a senior level phone number/contact name, it would be greatly appreciated.

  6. i’ve had terrible , similar expereices with audi over a defective 2004 a4… the “customer care” line has just infuriated me more…they do sthe same thing to me as they have done to you… i got the address of the president and wrote a letter,,( call audi in michigan and ask for the presidents snail mail address)- his assistant called back and really had little to offer..( i’m in a lawsuit now with them and am amazed at how they have handled a defective product

    best of luck and buy something elese next time!

  7. Interesting to hear some of the comments. My experience with Audi has been nothing short of wonderful. I have had to call the customer care line a few times, and they have been nothing short of amazing. I was trying to locate a discontinued item for Audi, the “Phatbox”, and they actually called around my area to all of the Dealerships to find one in stock for me. They then threw in the wiring harness for free since I had to drive an hour and a half to the nearest dealership that had one. (Driving 3 hours in your new Audi isn’t so bad tho….)

    A month after I bought my car, our Salesman called us and asked if we’d like him to go over all of the controls again, just in case it was all too much on delivery. I told him it wasn’t necessary, and he said, “Well, we usually have the guys wash and vacuum them again while we do it, so if you want, just come in for the free detailing.”

    The customer service was also an important factor in choosing Audi. Since we were going to have the Dealer service whatever we bought, how good the dealership was was important to us. On delivery we were introduced to their Service Manager and was told he’d take care of us. At the 5,000 mile service he remembered me by name, and was patient and thorough.

    Anyway, just an opposing viewpoint to those above. It’s hard to make everyone happy, but the customer service I have gotten from Audi is unparalleled. And they have made a loyal and enthusiastic customer because of it.

  8. I bought my Audi A4 1.8T in 2000 new. Over the last 7 years of ownership (and 69,000 miles)I have had to replace different sensors on the engine 7 different times, the last, just 2 weeks ago at $700 for two oxygen sensors. Just 4 days later I was in Audi service again for a hose that needed to be ordered, and a total of $170 would be needed. I was so mad I sent my Audi to the used car auction. I also had to replace brake pads every 11,000 miles. I thought this was also unreasonable. I will never buy an Audi again and instead have decided to buy a Subaru, which takes regular gas, and regular oil,has AWD (I went to synthetic oil when Audi saw what happened to its engines with regular oil) and Subaru has all the neat features that Audi had at $10,000 less! (Plus the safety features have improved greatly over the last 7 years!)I felt their Service department was responsive, however, I suffered each time I went in. This is only my experience, and does not suggest this happens with all Audis–I was ready for a change, and less maintenance each year.

  9. As much as I enjoy driving Audi, I’m dissatisfied with the Audi I have purchased. I was warned that Audis start having numerous mechanical and electrical issues as soon as they hit 50,000 miles. I didn’t heed to these warnings only to find one issue after another once my car reached 52,000. First, the engine ignition coil stopped working in the middle of the road. Then transmission oil started leaking. And now, at 56,000 miles, another ignition coil went bad. This year I spent almost $1,000 on repair and services and this car was very well taken care of.
    I also have a Honda Civic 1998 which I have been driving for last 10 years and have not yet faced a single problem. I hope Audi will try to improve customer satisfaction by making its cars more reliable and dependable like its Japanese counterparts.
    Now, I’ll think twice about getting a new Audi and will not recommend others about buying one either unless Audi takes actions, such as extending the warranty or improving customer experience.

  10. Worst service experience in the Collection Miami Florida . Have 2 audis, a TT and an allroad.. The Service department cannot get it right on the first try in eaither one of them… Unable to deal with failure, incapable of handling negative customer evaluations (don’t have evaluation forms either). No more audis for me…

  11. I have an Audi TT roadster. It’s a 2005 and it’s been in the shop more than anyother car I’ve owned and that includes a Maserati. As far as days in the shop let’s say it’s been almost 120 days in the 2.5 years I’ve owned it.

    a short list of repairs

    2 new door panels
    2 new tops
    3 stereos
    and the latest a new set of tires with only 25K on the car Audi told me they were defective but they weren’t responsible. I’ve been on the phone with Audi and quite frankly they could care less. I traded my Mercedes in for this and I wish I hadn’t.
    My advice stay away from Audi

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