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More Than Market Research - Gain The Information Advantage

Tom H. C. Anderson - Next Gen Market Research™ header image 6

BMW’s Marketing Department May Have a Screw Loose

May 15th, 2008 · 5 Comments

CRM BMW Style

BMW CRM (c) 2008 www.tomhcanderson.com

Just like most hotel chains high end car manufacturers/dealerships have gotten on the customer satisfaction survey band wagon in recent years. This makes perfect sense of course.

A few years ago I understand BMW even paid Peppers & Rogers Group a bunch of money to help them understand their customer service marketing better. Not sure if Peppers and Rogers forgot to tell them, or if they are just too dumb to understand, but customer satisfaction is about more than surveys.

I’m venting a bit about an experience I had today at BMW of Darien CT. In the past two months or so I’ve spent over $3000 between BMW of Sterling VA and BMW of Darien CT on engine service. Yesterday the engine light came on again, the car felt a little sluggish, just a couple weeks after getting it fixed. My wife brought it in this morning. Apparently the engine light was caused by the gas cap not being screwed on tight enough!?!

My invoice
$120 labor & parts
$7.20 tax
$127.20 Total

We were charged $127.20 just to be told that the gas cap wasn’t on tight enough.

I asked to speak to the manager. She said that they still had to run the analysis and that takes over an hour indicating that I actually got a deal. She said she “didn’t know what to tell me”. I’ve got better things to do than to stand and argue with someone at the end of the day.

Interestingly the invoice says “You may receive a call from BMW about the service you received on your vehicle. This is BMW’s means of scoring us. If for any reason you can not rate our service a 5. please contact me (name above) at your earliest convenience”

Well just in case I don’t get the call I thought I would share it here on the web instead. I think I’ll be selling a BMW 323i soon at a bargain price, and I won’t be buying anymore BMW’s.

A tip for BMW and Peppers & Rogers. Try implementing a customer service promise and empowering employees if you dare. This should help your satisfaction scores.

To others out there. I’ve had generally good experience with Lexus previously. I’m thinking possibly about Toyota as well. Does anyone have suggestions on who provides good overall customer value?

-Tom

[Post to Twitter] 

Tags: CGM · CRM · Customer Satisfaction · Don Peppers · Loyalty Marketing · Surveys · Tom H. C. Anderson

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Drew // Jan 18, 2011 at 12:59 am

    So your mad because you can’t screw your own gas cap on right? I’m sorry but usually when something is wrong with my car I do research and try to figure out the problem for myself before taking it the dealership because everyone knows that dealerships cost an arm and a leg. And what does charging $127.20 to tell you that you don;t know how to screw a gas cap on right have to do anything with “customer service?”

  • 2 Bmw Marketing 2004 | BMW Photos Blog // Mar 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    [...] bmw marketing 2004 tomhcanderson.com [...]

  • 3 Scott // Jan 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    @Drew — First, you’re being rude which is never a good way to have one’s thoughts taken seriously.

    Second, the point of good customer isn’t for warm and fuzzies (they’re a perk). The point of good customer service is to do things to ensure that the customer remains loyal and prefers you to others even when the price is lower. Billing the customer for $127 for something trivial is the equivalency of saying “You’re an idiot! And just to rub salt in the wound, you have to pay me now.” Compare it to saying “Just keep the gas cap screwed on tight” — because the engine light SHOULD NOT COME ON for something that trivial — and at least the customer feels the business is “safe” to go to because they won’t get heavily penalized for a mistake.

    Failing superior customer service is short-sighted; they basically just traded in goodness-knows-how-much money in repeat business for $127. In this case it’s even worse because it causes a brand switch.

  • 4 Kris // Feb 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve had the same situation w/ the gas cap. I didn’t even know that such things were being monitored. Now I know, and subsequently found out you can go to some autoparts stores (Autozone in particular) and have them diagnose an engine light for free.

    The damn engine lights — while they can catch important problems they charge way too much to run the diagnostics and I feel are a profit center.

  • 5 SHAH A. RAHMAN // Oct 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Dear Mr. Tom,
    Greetings of the day.

    What I feel from your comment above is well in expression of your dissatisfaction from one of the service that you had and its well accepted that billing someone that much amount on what you said is not acceptable. But, the amount which was charged may be of some other things done which you don’t know.

    A single bitter experience changed your mood and forced you to write on public media. However, what about all those happy and satisfying moments that BMW gave you and your family. What about safety, comfort, luxury, pleasure, passion, class, dignity, speed, and millions of moments filled with happiness that one way or the other was attached with your BMW vehicle.

    BMW provides the best in quality service and assistance and if one experience is bad and it can not be taken back then off-course it can be replaced by a more good and better experience.

    Happy driving BMW as it’s the best match with your pleasant personality.

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