Sent it…

For those who reckoned I should send the letter to the CEO of Landrover, I did. I couldn’t get an email address so I’ve had to post it but you never know, maybe it’ll get to him. Or maybe it’ll just get binned by some snooty secretary, who knows. But it’s sent all the same! If I get a reply you’ll be the first to know….

I edited it slighty and the version I’ve sent is this –

Dear Mr (and from the treatment we received at your showroom I am assuming that you are a ‘Mr’) CEO,

The other day, my mother and myself visited one of your showrooms to have a look at a Range Rover Evoque and a Freelander, as her convertible is not suitable for family life or another winter sent straight from the bowels of Siberia. I think it would be fair to say I was somewhat less than impressed with the service we received from your showroom staff.

When we arrived we had a look round the outside and admired the Evoque, it’s a very attractive car, no doubt about it. We also had a look at a couple of Freelanders.  All shiny and lovely.  So far, so good. It’s when we went inside that things went downhill.

We went to sit in one of the Evoques but it was locked. So we look around, a few sales chaps walk past and ignore us entirely. Have I suddenly become invisible? Do I have ‘I am a psychopath, please pretend I’m not here’ written on my forehead? No, I am not and I do not. Shall I tell you what the problem was, even though I suspect you know? We were two women and there was no man with us.

Let me let you into a little known secret – women have money these days. We have jobs. Hell, they’ve even given us the vote and let us drive. This means that at some point we will need to buy cars, a fact that was recognised by the very pleasant, helpful and forthcoming staff in Volkswagen and Volvo. We do not require the husband to approve a purchase and negotiate the sale while we wander around the showroom thinking about shoes and fluffy clouds. If my mother can run a mental health unit without a man in charge, I’m fairly sure she’s capable of looking at some metal boxes on wheels without personal injury or her tiny, female brain imploding and showering your manly cars with girliness. I don’t know how many women you people have coming in to just randomly have a sit down in a 4×4 but let me assure you, we weren’t just there to fill a gap in the day until it was time to get dinner on the table for him indoors.

Anyway, I digress. We’re looking around at the sales men and does anyone come to ask if we require help? No, they do not. So off I go to locate assistance myself. In the private office marked ‘sales’ that I barge into, I find two men doing what looks like chuff all, so I request to be able to look inside one of the Evoques that are in the showroom. Apparently the battery is flat in the nearest one but they tell me they’ll bring the keys for the other. Ten minutes later a man appears, presses a button, ignores us and marches off. Charmed I’m sure.  Any information on the car? No? Fine, we’ll just sit in it then shall we? After we’d inspected how much space there was in the vehicle, mum wanted more information so off I go back to the sales office to find the grumpy looking chap who had grudgingly opened the car.  There was another chap in there who said he’d come and help. 5 minutes later Mr Helpful turns up again. And he’s not looking cheerful.  We ask him some questions and to be fair, he does answer them although he’s not exactly specific and the scathing look my mother received when she asked what the difference between a Landrover and a Range Rover was a little excessive. I had no idea that someone out there had perfected the contemptuous snort. Then he makes another error.

He informs mum that he’ll show her how to ‘build’ the car she wants on the computer because she can read brochures all day long but she’ll not ‘get it’. Pardon?  For a moment there I thought you’d just informed my mother that she’s too dim to understand a brochure. Oh, you did, right. Might I suggest that if your brochure is too complex to be understood by anyone who doesn’t have a PhD in Automotive Engineering, it might be an idea to simplify them slightly? After all, how often are you going to be selling a car to the head of R&D at Mercedes or James May? I work in civil engineering, if I can understand the testing and inspection certificate of a 360° tracked excavator, I think I can probably work out how to add ‘sat nav’ to the car she’s ordering. And if I can’t then your system is not fit for purpose and needs reworking. After showing us on the computer how to ‘build’ the Evoque, he tells us there’ll be a wait on them until May and if we want to test drive one to phone him for an appointment and further assistance. Really? Might I enquire whether you are on glue? There is more chance of us ringing Liam Fox for tips on successful career management than ringing to arrange a test drive from here. You’d probably spend half an hour telling us about how you have to put the key in the slot to make it go and that the big round thing on the right is the ‘steering wheel’. And while we’re about it, are you going to offer to show us a Freelander or give us any information on one? Even one of your allegedly incomprehensible brochures? No? Can we assume that Mr Judgemental either doesn’t want us to buy one or doesn’t approve of little ladies driving cars that big? Fine, we’ll just leave then shall we?

All in all, I can state that our experience in your showroom was not what we had expected and your sales team’s attitude to women can be summed up perfectly by the fact that the ladies toilet didn’t even have any toilet roll in it. You may find it useful to know that a person’s attitude to a product can be seriously affected by the treatment they receive during the purchasing process and for this reason, my mother is giving serious consideration to a limited edition Volvo X60. It’s around the same price but comes without the added helping of condescension and patronising attitude. You might wonder why I’m sending this to you rather than directly to Stratstone and it’s a fair question so I’ll tell you – our experience is not unique. I’ve spoken to other women who have been in other dealers and ours is not a unique experience, not by a long shot. Now to be quite fair it seems it’s not even limited to Landrover dealers, other prestige car sales team are equally as misogynistic but it was Landrover’s particular brand of bad customer service that we happened upon and so I thought perhaps you would be interested to hear it. I might be wrong, you might not give two hoots about selling cars to women, which would be a curiously short-sighted approach given there are several billion of us on the planet but in case you would like to improve an aspect of your sales service, perhaps by creating a sales service in the first place, then a bit of sexual equality training for those representing your brand would be my first suggestion.

Oh and for the record, I wrote this myself, I didn’t get my husband to do it.