TomTom Customer Support…how to ruin a brand.


My sister loaned me a TomTom GPS device to drive across the country. I always thought TomTom had a cute brand but I’d had no experience at all with the product. Get that? All I know is the brand and logo which has me predisposed to like them.

The little device looked and felt great and the accessories are awesome. TomTom industrial design team…GOOD JOB.

Plugged the little critter into my laptop and the device asked me if I wanted to connect to the laptop…NICE. Then nothing happened. I went to the TomTom website and this is where it all started to unravel for me.
– bad website design (sites within sites within sites)
– I created a MyTomTom space on the site but couldn’t do anything there
– I went to the web forums on their site and there were tons of angry customer questions and comments – all having the same issues I am. (TomTom: anyone home?)

After a couple of hours I got all the TomTom pieces talking to each other and discovered that I needed 13-14 map updates.
– doesn’t say if they’re cumulative so I just have to get the last one or if I need them all
– doesn’t say anything more than “update to Canada maps” in the info – helpful
– there doesn’t seem to be a way to buy them? Interesting business model
– it seems the only way I can get the maps updates is to subscribe

When I arrived on the left side of the country, I went to ‘MyTomTom’ to change my subscription and discovered that you can’t actually do anything in this regard so I contacted TomTom support asking how I can convert my subscription into map by map purchases.
– During the TEN email exchanges with several reps who didn’t seem to know anything about the business, I asked to escalate, expressed my frustration with the process, etc.
– Finally one of their reps said “Dear Sir, I’d be happy to help you with your problem…I can’t actually help you with your problem so you should call our 1-800 number…they’re really awesome and know much more than we do.” Uh…what?
– I called the number, someone picked up in a way that made me ask if I had reached TomTom support.
– I told him I wanted to cancel my subscription and that I was done with TomTom because of my customer support experience.
– His response was “Okay”
– He then put me on hold saying he needed to create a fake account for me (which of course left me puzzled)
– When he came back, he was noticeably excited, saying that he created a fake account for me and then canceled it so that if I wanted to create another account sometime, I could use the same email address.

This is not a rant. I manage all aspects of marketing including customer support and I believe strongly that marketing should include product marketing so that the entire brand experience is what you want it to be.

The only thing TomTom got right was the physical product which should be enough right?


Because their website, self-serve account, map store and customer support were all misfiring so badly, I’ve made the decision never to use TomTom again. Sounds dramatic perhaps but frankly, there are lots of smart companies out there who get all of this right. TomTom doesn’t deserve my business.

Remember I thought the TomTom brand was cute before all this? Now I think their logo actually represents their customers trapped inside TomTom screa, “Hellllllllllp meeeeee.”

PS. I miss the built in nav in my Audi.
PPS. I miss my Audi


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