I love my TomTom Go 740. Really, I do. I buy all the extra live services and map updates for it, I use it every morning on the way to work to route me around the nightmare car park that the M4 in South Wales can be. I use it when I drive to London with business, both to find my destination and to route around traffic. I use it with St John Ambulance and Mountain Rescue to find out where I need to go. I use their route finder on the website. I use it to help me keep to the speed limit. In the year and a bit that I’ve owned it, it’s taken me to Italy and back and to Edinburgh and back, countless trips around south Wales, London, Nottingham and other places. I use the Google search functionality extensively on it (“Where’s my nearest Starbucks?” is a frequent question) and it rocks.

So, why am I so annoyed?

I’ve had a few problems with my TomTom – I’m probably what you’d consider a “power user” – I know what I’m doing when it comes to technology, I have some pretty demanding requirements. I push the limits. I have extra Point of Interest (POI) databases on my satnav showing me things like supermarkets and banks. I store my frequently used locations and I use voice control. So when things go wrong, I’m straight onto their support guys. And this, I find, is where it goes wrong.

The support people I talk to are lovely and polite, but I get a markedly different experience depending on how I raise my issue. The typical experience is this:

I have a problem, I raise a ticket on their website. After browsing the possible answers, it gets submitted. I get a response after 2 days telling me to factory reset my TomTom. This hasn’t, to date, fixed any of my problems. The ticket goes back to TomTom. I wait a while. Eventually, I either get an answer which requires a bit more conversation, or I take the second route – calling them.

I’ve spoke to TomTom on the phone a few times. Almost without fail, the people I speak to are knowledgeable, friendly, competent and are able to resolve my queries there and then. I spend 5 minutes on the phone and my problems are fixed. This morning, one 5 minute call had my issue fixed whilst on the phone when a ticket I’d opened two weeks ago was still languishing in the lost no-man’s-land of “escalation”.

This all begs the question, why should I raise tickets through the web interface? I get a significantly better experience by calling them, yet it’s in their interest to make me use the website because it’s cheaper for them.

From my perspective, this is a failure – it’s a service management failure. My biggest complaint about TomTom is that despite having the best product on the market by a significant factor, their service management lets them down. It has improved – the technical service is a lot better now, but the customer service still appears to be lacking.

So, TomTom, sort your service management out. Customers will only put up with a good product and a poor service for a while…

4 Responses to “Why TomTom is a Service Management fail”

  1. Elaine says:

    I fail to see how ‘calling in and talking to a real person and getting your problems resolved in five minutes’ constitutes ‘poor service’.

  2. Maybe the point is that most of their support requests actually come through the phone, so the web side is neglected. When I think of TomTom users I mainly think of people like my Dad or brothers, who would naturally head for a phone number (and “a real human”) rather than a website. Just a thought.

  3. Richard says:

    How do you get on with the voice entry on the Go 740- does it work well on the move? I’m a Community First Responder, considering the 540 or 740 as a faster option than entering address on touchscreen before I start off or when stopped at lights etc.

    • Aled says:

      Pretty good actually, it has it’s moments and some limitations. You can’t specify an address by postcode by voice, but it’s pretty accurate even with welsh place and road names.