By the end of 2014, BMW plans to have 500 geniuses employed at its 339 U.S. dealerships. The BMW i Genius idea is a play from Apple’s playbook and has proven to be effective around the world. BMW says some of the larger U.S. dealerships employ as many as ten geniuses; and a quarter of the personnel are women.
Worldwide, BMW has 1,500 geniuses working in dealerships in 43 countries, including one in Tibet. Ian Robertson, BMW board member for marketing and sales, says about the BMW i geniuses that “they’re excited, they like the new role, and they especially like seeing how much customers enjoy an atmosphere of information and no sales pressure.”
In 2012 BMW has started a pilot of the ‘BMW Genius’ program. At the time, the pilot was conducted at 10 BMW dealerships who collectively employed 14 Geniuses, and produced an extremely high level of customer satisfaction.
In Europe, BMW dealers taking part in the automaker’s Product Genius program are getting a financial boost. According to BMW, the tech-savvy employees’ no-pressure explanation of the features available in BMW’s vehicles has increased the purchase of high-margin options by 10 percent to 15 percent.
Each BMW Genius will be steeped in the increasingly sophisticated technologies and personalization options available from BMW to help guide customers through every step of the ordering, buying, test drive and handover process, and will be on call to help with any subsequent queries or service updates.
The Product Geniuses, who are paid a fixed salary, do not sell cars. Buyers who want to make a purchase are handed over to a sales person.
The total number of Product Geniuses will rise to 2,000 in early 2015.