BMW becomes the first Automotive manufacturer to offer customers the chance to rate their dealers live on the net

News | November 8th, 2010 by 7
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Press Release: BMW and MINI dealerships have launched a brand new customer service system that allows every customer to rate their experience on a five …

Press Release: BMW and MINI dealerships have launched a brand new customer service system that allows every customer to rate their experience on a five star scale and to write specific comments.  The system, which is believed to be the most transparent and comprehensive in the industry, has just gone live, and sees customer comments and star ratings posted on the dealer’s website.

“We are committed to providing the very best service for our customers and believe that this level of openness and transparency is not only desirable but essential,” explained Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW (UK) Ltd.   “Our new star ratings will help all BMW and MINI customers to make informed choices and inspire all of us to strive towards the ultimate in customer service.”

BMW becomes the first Automotive manufacturer to offer customers the chance to rate their dealers live on the net

Raising the bar

Over the years the BMW Group has developed ever more sophisticated ways of monitoring customer satisfaction and acknowledges that customer service is not a static concept.  Consumer expectations are rising constantly and BMW Group is committed to meeting and exceeding them.

Abbott continued: “Just as we strive to bring ever-better products to market, we are determined to ensure that customer service is constantly evolving too and that everybody visiting our dealership to buy or service a car is entirely satisfied with the experience. There is absolutely no doubt that satisfied customers drive the success or failure of businesses.  It has to be our ultimate goal.”

A first for the automotive industry

While customer ratings systems are familiar from organisations like Amazon and TripAdvisor, this new BMW Group approach is a first in the motor industry. Customers are given a unique code, specific to a particular sales or service experience, and invited to ascribe a star rating and to make comments. These will remain on the dealer’s website for 90 days, visible to anybody who visits the site.

Chris Mason, Director of Motor Codes, the industry body committed to raising customer service standards, praised BMW: “I am deeply impressed by BMW Group’s star ratings. The system brings a new level of transparency and openness to the retail car showroom and aftersales facility and will be a wonderful resource for customers.”

BMW and MINI dealers have been trialling this system since January 2010 to perfect both the website operation and learn how to respond quickly and effectively to the ratings and comments made.

Warts and all

For a dealer to score five stars, they have to achieve a rating between 95 and 100 per cent satisfaction, while at the other end of the scale one star is rated below 20 per cent.

“This is a brave decision,” admitted Tim Abbott. “There is no hiding place in a retail environment displaying this kind of transparency.  But I am confident that our dealers truly understand the importance of satisfied customers.  For those who are not yet rated with four to five stars it will drive their future performance and deliver a more focused customer culture”.

[Source: BMW ]

  • Doug

    interesting. Assuming that BMW generally has a good reputation, you’d think this would only serve to bring that rep down through sporadic rants. It’s just the nature of what motivates people to give internet feedback — there’s more motivation when something goes wrong than when it goes right. Brave, indeed.

  • Insane Freak

    This is a brilliant move – both holding dealers publicly accountable and sending a message that BMW isn’t always on the side of its dealers. Wonder how long it lasts or how how often dealers will lobby to get offending posts taken off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1117765619 Thomas Gearman

    I think this is wonderful information for consumers – and who knows the dealers better than those that have developed relationships with them?
    Reminds me of the tragic story of a BMW customer who brought their beloved M5 to a dealership in Fort Worth and had it totaled by a joy-riding mechanic. Bet that guy would love to have known what a bunch of rubes were working at that place in Texas before it cost him his pride and joy. Hopefully sites like this will put the likes of Autobahn BMW out of service forever. Information is power and BMW is allowing the consumer to say it like it is. Bravo BMW!!

  • Dave

    Why leave the comments for 90 days? Good concept; however, may not be fully a good gage if reviews continue to drop off. You only have the last 90 day trend based on customers who chose to fill out the survey.

  • BIMMER1

    As the article states, this is nothing new. We’ve been using this system in the US since early this year, it’s called Foresight. Like any of these rating systems it’s intended to boost the average ratings up higher so when JD Power and co. does their surveys and reports the manufacturers look better on paper. That’s what it’s really all about. Creating the appearance of improvement without really improving that much. Let’s face it, although you can always “do better” how much can you really do to improve auto service? Once you get to a certain point you can’t do much more. Most of us that have been in the business long enough know it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. Controlled chaos is putting it lightly. You can maybe change the perception of the quality of service, but if you have good personnel in place and a decent budget to spend there’s only so much you can do to improve things. The auto service industry has been around so long, everyone should know what works and what doesn’t by now. That being said, everyone is cutting overhead left and right these days even if it means compromising the level of service. One person is often left to do the job of what 2 or 3 people used to do just a few years ago. Hell, my dealer even outsources their carwash and lot attendants now. So if I need a car pulled up for a client and the limited personnel we have on the service drive is busy with something else, guess who just became the lot attendant…I did. All of this means that there’s more to do with less people, meaning the smoke and mirrors game is even more important today than ever. Companies and their expectations of getting more production from less people while at the same time meeting the ever increasing expectations of their clients is getting out of control.

    As the article states, this is nothing new. We’ve been using this system in the US since early this year, it’s called Foresight. Like any of these rating systems it’s intended to boost the average ratings up higher so when JD Power and co. does their surveys and reports the manufacturers look better on paper. That’s what it’s really all about. Creating the appearance of improvement without really improving that much. Let’s face it, although you can always “do better” how much can you really do to improve auto service? Once you get to a certain point you can’t do much more. Most of us that have been in the business long enough know it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. Controlled chaos is putting it lightly. You can maybe change the perception of the quality of service, but if you have good personnel in place and a decent budget to spend there’s only so much you can do to improve things. The auto service industry has been around so long, everyone should know what works and what doesn’t by now. That being said, everyone is cutting overhead left and right these days even if it means compromising the level of service. One person is often left to do the job of what 2 or 3 people used to do just a few years ago. Hell, my dealer even outsources their carwash and lot attendants now. So if I need a car pulled up for a client and the limited personnel we have on the service drive is busy with something else, guess who just became the lot attendant…I did. All of this means that there’s more to do with less people, meaning the smoke and mirrors game is even more important today than ever. Companies and their expectations of getting more production from less people while at the same time meeting the ever increasing expectations of their clients is getting out of control.

    As the article states, this is nothing new. We’ve been using this system in the US since early this year, it’s called Foresight. Like any of these rating systems it’s intended to boost the average ratings up higher so when JD Power and co. does their surveys and reports the manufacturers look better on paper. That’s what it’s really all about. Creating the appearance of improvement without really improving that much. Let’s face it, although you can always “do better” how much can you really do to improve auto service? Once you get to a certain point you can’t do much more. Most of us that have been in the business long enough know it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. Controlled chaos is putting it lightly. You can maybe change the perception of the quality of service, but if you have good personnel in place and a decent budget to spend there’s only so much you can do to improve things. The auto service industry has been around so long, everyone should know what works and what doesn’t by now. That being said, everyone is cutting overhead left and right these days even if it means compromising the level of service. One person is often left to do the job of what 2 or 3 people used to do just a few years ago. Hell, my dealer even outsources their carwash and lot attendants now. So if I need a car pulled up for a client and the limited personnel we have on the service drive is busy with something else, guess who just became the lot attendant…I did. All of this means that there’s more to do with less people, meaning the smoke and mirrors game is even more important today than ever. Companies and their expectations of getting more production from less people while at the same time meeting the ever increasing expectations of their clients is getting out of control.

    As the article states, this is nothing new. We’ve been using this system in the US since early this year, it’s called Foresight. Like any of these rating systems it’s intended to boost the average ratings up higher so when JD Power and co. does their surveys and reports the manufacturers look better on paper. That’s what it’s really all about. Creating the appearance of improvement without really improving that much. Let’s face it, although you can always “do better” how much can you really do to improve auto service? Once you get to a certain point you can’t do much more. Most of us that have been in the business long enough know it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. Controlled chaos is putting it lightly. You can maybe change the perception of the quality of service, but if you have good personnel in place and a decent budget to spend there’s only so much you can do to improve things. The auto service industry has been around so long, everyone should know what works and what doesn’t by now. That being said, everyone is cutting overhead left and right these days even if it means compromising the level of service. One person is often left to do the job of what 2 or 3 people used to do just a few years ago. Hell, my dealer even outsources their carwash and lot attendants now. So if I need a car pulled up for a client and the limited personnel we have on the service drive is busy with something else, guess who just became the lot attendant…I did. All of this means that there’s more to do with less people, meaning the smoke and mirrors game is even more important today than ever. Companies and their expectations of getting more production from less people while at the same time meeting the ever increasing expectations of their clients is getting out of control. Soon we’ll all be working 16 hour days 6 days a week for half of what we made before. I can’t wait.

    Like BMW themselves said, you can only satisfy 97% of client’s. The other 3% will never be able to be satisfied. Let’s be honest, probably 80% of clients think all dealers are out to rip you off right from the start, 50-60% of those still feel it’s important to go to the dealer for service regardless of that feeling. No matter what happens during the visit they still won’t always give you a 100% on the survey even if everything went well. Many times a less than perfect score is based on a bad past experience which should not be reflected in the current survey at all. Then you have the ones that give all fours and then state in the comments, “no one is perfect, but I can’t see how it could have gone any better”. Well that means it was perfect people! I don’t know what planet you come from if you think something is not perfect but it can’t be any better. And then we come to the remaining 20%. The leftover 20% of people are what I call normal, although they are unfortunately not the majority. These 20% actually have a realistic grasp on life and are capable of having reasonable expectations. This is true with everything, not just auto service. 80% of people out there are completely off their rocker and have no idea what they are talking about or what kind of expectations to have in any situation. Sad but true these days. Everyone is only out for #1, and the world is worse off because of it. They might as well scratch the word mankind out of the dictionary anyways because no one cares about the greater whole anymore. Feminists everywhere are already trying to figure out who to sue so they can get it changed to something like “personkind”. Some people!…no most people!…aaarrrghh!!!

    • Doug

      word.

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