Dealerships are a pain in the neck. The salesman tries to convince you that they’re your friend (when you know damn well they want as much money as they can squeeze out of you), getting warranty work out of them is sometimes a nightmare and, if you’re buying used, you don’t know what the car has been through. You can write a letter of complaint, but will that really help*? You may get a discounted service as compensation, but will anything REALLY change? Well, BMW wants to shake the dealership experience up a bit. In the customers’ favor.
Contracthireandleasing.com reports that BMW and Mini dealerships across the UK have launched a new customer service system that allows every customer to rate their dealership experience on a five star scale. The system also includes a facility for the customer to leave feedback comments which are posted on the dealer’s website. OMG, eBay scores for BMW dealers? “We are committed to providing the very best service for our customer and believe that this level of openness and transparency is not only desirable but essential,” said Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW UK.
Customers will be given a unique code, specific to a particular sales or service experience and will be invited to assign a star rating (out of five) and make comments. The comments and ratings will stay on the dealer’s website for 90 days and will be available to anybody who visits the site. For a dealer to score five stars, they have to achieve a stellar rating between 95 and 100 per cent satisfaction. One star means satisfaction is below 20 percent. That dealer shouldn’t get a star, he should be handed a gun with one round in the chamber.
The system has been trialed by BMW and Mini since January 2010. “This is a brave decision,” said 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 customer. 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.” Translation: sloppy dealers will get an arse-kicking.
Incidentally, a system already exists for the United States. In researching this article I found a website which does rate dealers across the country. The problem with those is that ANYBODY can post feedback on there. Even if you’ve never been to the dealership. A bit like the NHTSA database. Or Dontdatehimgirl.com .