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Old 02-01-2006, 11:04 AM   #1
charleshmosesii OP
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WARNING on BMW dealer service follow-up phone call from BMW NA

Face it, you need to have a good relationship with your dealer. I've been shunned by mine in the past, even for being what I and others consider to be reasonable, and it sucks -- for instance, it can hold off attention to bike problem (including warranty work; gee, did that happen to me), it can get you bad attitudes and conflictual energy that causes disdain for going to the shop even though you need to and used to like visiting there, it can get you non-returned phone calls and/or phone calls where they just blow you off with "I'm not going to talk about it, I have to go", etc. I consciously try to make them happy, to have a good relationship instead of an adversarial one, so that I get serviced well. Hey, I started out telling the truth both good and bad as it came like a "normal" customer does, but my subsequent experience has built a fear in me to even point out any of the bad, and to cater to them instead.

That leads me to the BMW NA survey of service visits to BMW dealers. You know the drill -- after every service visit, BMW NA calls you on the phone asking you to rate your recent service visit to your BMW dealer. Takes 2-3 min., they ask a series of questions, you give ratings on a 1-10 scale for each.

What you may not realize is that BMW NA shares the survey results with your dealer, and the report they get includes your name and your bike.

If you are like me, you have one or more (I have two) BMW bikes that get serviced (warranty work at least) at a local BMW shop, and they know who you are.

You have no good options with this rating system by BMW if you were not happy with any aspect of the service. If you give your dealer a bad score on the survey for something, it'll get back to them with your name on it, and that can come back from your dealer to hurt the relationship you have with them going forward. Thus, its a bad idea to tell the truth; my incentive now is to give them good scores, even if its a lie, in order to maintain a functional, pleasant working relationship. In other words, I have been honed into indimidation and fear of it.

(Notice how BMW dealers are protected by the non-anonymity of the rating system, and that they will look like they are doing a better job than they are actually doing.)

My recent experience with this was, well, alarming. I have been reporting the front brake shudder for months, and multiple times they replaced the rotors, great. But I came back "still happening" and my dealer got tired of me. They stopped returning phone calls, emails. I'd call and they'd say "I don't have time", "it just your tire", etc. I got mad once -- once -- and threatened "just take the bike back if you're not going to address this" and they immediately threatened back "it'll just sit here, outside; we don't want it", and "go give it to BMW" with an aggressive attitude (by the OWNER no less!). I then sent a compelling email, and two months later the OWNER says "the head of service went to bat for you here bigtime, BMW is replacing whole front wheel, he deserves all 10s on his survey". Now I MUST give all 10s to keep this rolling, even if I don't feel it is accurate, even if I feel there were problems and I am not happy and it should be reported -- still, I must give 10s now no matter what. When I picked up the bike, the head of service repeats it "it took 15 hrs. to tear bike apart for tranny seals, BMW pays us for 8.5 hrs. only, and we spent an extra hour with your extra wiring harnesses but didn't charge you for it, we should get all 10s". Imagine if I didn't, and they get my survey back from BMW NA with my name on it, and it has some 10s and some lower marks and some honest but fair (and not damning or anything) comments also -- even though it was the truth, I'd be toast with them from here on out, and my plans to be a long-time BMW bike owner would be stained by strife with each bike I take to my one dealer.

Because the survey results are not anonymous, the survey system is broken -- and even perverted in some cases, such as mine directly above. I told this to BMW NA when they called me last time, but I'm just a hump customer...
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:12 AM   #2
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Dang. Glad I happened to give 10s then. ;(

Bummer about the issues you are experiencing; I hope it all works out.

Cheers
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:28 AM   #3
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You're just unlucky.
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:29 AM   #4
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I have a pretty good relationship with my dealer and he has mentioned to me that BMW dealers get additional allowances from BMW corp for maintaining excellent customer service scores. There for it is in their best financial interest to get good scores. To me, that would mean that they make sure their service dept is up to snuff and bends over backwords to accomadate their customers who had the option of buying elsewhere (perhaps even a different marque)...or it could mean that you do whatever means neccessary to get those good scores. It appears that your dealer has taken the latter approach to achieving good customer service scores.

I also believe that it is unprofessional of them to have discussed the labor rates for warranty work. It is none of your business what corp BMW pays the dealer. What is your business is that you are treated fairly and with respect of a customer who has made a major purchase from a premeir brand.

Just my $0.02 worth!

Rick G
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:39 AM   #5
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That type of survey just seems wrong.
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:42 AM   #6
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other mfg's do this and the dealer has no idea who sent it in. Sometimes BMW just..........well you get the picture
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:02 PM   #7
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I received a call from the BMWNA survey drone early last summer...He didn't seem to be interested in the fact that I had to go to Tacoma or Seattle to get any trustworthy, quality, timely service done and that my local dealers just don't measure up to those up north....I gave the appropriate ratings to Ride West and had to face the fact, yet again, that BMW NA doesn't give a rip about the Portland area.
And yes, they share all of their survey results and nasty e-mails from customers to NA with the dealership in question...including your name.
Rather than requesting info directly from the customer regarding the incident(s), in question, and approaching the dealerships with customer anonymity.

Given that fact, what the hell does BMWNA expect to happen?
Why shouldn't a dealership harbor a grudge against customers who rat them out to NA?... I don't like it anymore than anyone else but realistically it's going to happen. This process is not well thought out and does nothing to promote better service or a better customer experience. And in the end it's the brand suffers.
My wife and I recently purchased another BMW product, a Mini Cooper S. We were told by the sales manager that we would be getting a survey call and/or mailer and he wanted to know if we were going to give them a high rating. He stated that if they didn't get high rating that BMW/Mini wouldn't rate the dealer as highly and that they would suffer in some way as far as allocations for cars etc. I just waited 9 months for a car that someone else's input might have had a factor in delaying?!....how the hell does that make any sense?

I doubt very seriously that NA spends any time, money and effort on setting up secret shoppers- LIKE THEY SHOULD- who can go and evaluate dealerships in a realistic manner and from the customer-experience perspective.
Lastly, it's too bad that they can't accept the fact that the internet and sites like this one in particular, are very effective at allowing users to communicate common experiences. Positive and negative. BMW has ignored this reality for a long time....surging, final drive bearing failures, warped rotors etc.
Hopefully someday they'll see the light but I'm not holding my breath.

cheers,
Jorge
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:09 PM   #8
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My dealer once told me that all they see is the scores, no names and no dates of service. The regional service rep sees the names but not the dealership. If there is a big problem the regional may call and ask about a certain bike that was serviced on a certain day. That could tip off the dealer about a problem. Where did you hear that it is not anonymous?
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:16 PM   #9
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Just assuming, but this system probably works well for them, both dealer and manufacturer. They are probably more interested in getting high marks as a brand in general, cause they can then advertise in all those commercials about high customer satisfaction. This system of pressuring you to give them high marks seems to be condoned by manufacturers, and most of us are more honest in anonymous surveys than those we put our names on. I have gotten same pressure on surveys from Porsche dealers, both on service and sales.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:30 PM   #10
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I buy my bikes from a friend who runs a bmw store. He told me some months ago that 10's get him a good $ bonus. He also told me that he has no way to know what I said to bmw. I believe him on both statements. Of course I give him 10's and he gives me one hell of a price.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:32 PM   #11
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Mercedes does it also.

I got a JD Power survey in the mail the other day. Because I took one before, they send them to me regularly. I didn't fill it out this time, but simply pocketed the dollar. (they always send a crisp 1 dollar bill inside)

should I feel guilty?
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:32 PM   #12
CBejbl
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Just tell them that you don't care to participate in their surveys. They can't force you to do it.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:46 PM   #13
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What I have been told by the dealer is yes they do get your name, vin, score and comments that are made to the survey company. The Survey company is not BMW them selfs calling, its a 3rd party that all they know is ask the questions and put down the response. These people do not have any technical training or any product training what so ever, they just fill in the blanks for the questions of the service follow up. If you truly want to cause problems for the dealer just decline the survey. When a dealer gets alot of returned surveys that customers decline to answer they will start to look into why people will not answer the surveys.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:17 PM   #14
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My local dealer is still pretty new (w/n its first five years). All kinds of teething pains, that ultimately fall to their customers. About two years ago, the service manager told me that his customers had been ripping them on the service surveys and that, as a result, BMW NA would not allocate them any of the hottest new models when they were first available. This was threatening their very financial existence. (I have since seen a bunch of new models there so things must be improving.) He told me that if I can't give them all 10's, I should call him and they will address whatever the problem is. (Haven't had to do that lately, as their mechanics are gaining experience and generally doing OK now -- not that it didn't cost me a shitload of grief along the way.) I agree that it is outrageous that BMW encourages you to rat on your dealer, thus souring your relationship with them going forward. Next time, if I have a problem and get the survey call, I'm going to tell them to call back and, in the interim, I'll call the dealer and get a commitment to make matters right. Then I'll give them all 10's knowing that whatever wasn't done right will be fixed. On the other hand, if your local deal sucks irreparably, might as well tell BMW and go elsewhere.

Another thought: Isn't this the type of issue that BMW MOA should be advocating on our behalf to NA?
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by CBejbl
Just tell them that you don't care to participate in their surveys. They can't force you to do it.
Exactly or just tell them he's/she's not in at the moment each time they call, can you "take a message?" Have fun with it...
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