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      12-07-2012, 11:09 PM   #1
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Tips on dealing with BMW dealerships

The most important thing is to give the highest scores on all customer satisfaction surveys and to tell the client advisor or service advisor that you will do that up front. The surveys are not anonymous and they will not appreciate getting dinged on a CSI survey. If you are unhappy or just feel truly exceptional is ridiculous it is still in your best interest to hold your nose and give the top scores. Tell them day 1 you will do that and work out any problems directly with them. The second thing is to realize while you may be very well educated and highly intelligent they likely aren't so be a nice guy and don't expect perfection. If you make them your friend they will reciprocate.
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      12-07-2012, 11:16 PM   #2
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The most important thing is to watch them like hawks and make sure you ask and check and recheck their work, your car, your wheels, your paint, your interior..etc.
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      12-07-2012, 11:40 PM   #3
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Tips for dealing with a dealer..written by a SA?

What is this?

"The most important thing to do is give the dealer high marks on the survey no matter what happens...and then make friends with them."

I am looking forward to part #2 of this informative series, I predict it is:

"Never get a lawyer involved. Dealerships don't like lawyers and friends don't sue each other. If you are upset with the dealership, instead of contacting your lawyer, send each dealership employee a present and a $100 gift card to their favorite restaurant."

LMAO... ideally every problem could be worked out over tea, but purposely giving up your leverage is a bad negotiation tactic.

Last edited by bvanderbilt; 12-07-2012 at 11:51 PM.
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      12-07-2012, 11:56 PM   #4
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Another tip is to listen to everything the SA says because they know more than you (that's why they work at BMW!). If they tell you to get a diff fluid change when you go in for an oil change, YOU BETTER GET THAT DIFF FLUID CHANGE.
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      12-08-2012, 12:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanderbilt View Post
Tips for dealing with a dealer..written by a SA?

What is this?

"The most important thing to do is give the dealer high marks on the survey no matter what happens...and then make friends with them."

I am looking forward to part #2 of this informative series, I predict it is:

"Never get a lawyer involved. Dealerships don't like lawyers and friends don't sue each other. If you are upset with the dealership, instead of contacting your lawyer, send each dealership employee a present and a $100 gift card to their favorite restaurant."

LMAO... ideally every problem could be worked out over tea, but purposely giving up your leverage is a bad negotiation tactic.
I'm not a SA, I'm retired and never worked in the auto industry. I'll tell you this, if you threaten legal action you'll get nothing.
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      12-08-2012, 12:42 AM   #6
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Seems like this is directed at bvanderbilt's thread. Your post sounds awfully biased and preachy.
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      12-08-2012, 12:48 AM   #7
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      12-08-2012, 01:38 AM   #8
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After having not done two previous surveys, I was led to a new SA for the most recent car service. Funny how that works! Should of followed your advice.
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      12-08-2012, 08:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanderbilt View Post
Tips for dealing with a dealer..written by a SA?

What is this?

"The most important thing to do is give the dealer high marks on the survey no matter what happens...and then make friends with them."
bvanderbuilt:

Let me just say that I am (at least slightly) inclined to believe that you are (at least factually) right WRT your differential bolt problem. However . . .

_Regardless_ of who Coltgus is, he may be more or less right, in the following sense. I interpreted his comments as something like "You'll catch more bees with honey than you will with vinegar." Alternately, let me tell a quick story . . . When I was in school, one way of categorizing the grad. students was that they either (1) made friends with the secretaries or (2) they antagonized/annoyed the secretaries. While I am sure that it is possible to go over their heads and force them to help you, it was somewhat easier, and just as efficacious, to be unduly nice to them, because they know the system and they are in a position to help you.

And bet that characterization applies to dealerships as well, that is, (1) they know the system and (2) they can help you, if they want. And while that doesn't guarantee a result in any particular case, taking advantage of that could make one's life a _lot_ easier . . .

Good luck with your diff. bolt.
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      12-08-2012, 08:55 AM   #10
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      12-08-2012, 08:55 AM   #11
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Not sure what is the point of this thread, but OP should be aware that dealers/service center do screw up and have been known for attempting, and in some cases, succeeding, in screwing over owners. Having said that, the customer's manner can, but not always will, be a factor in quality of service.

OP, no matter how good the relaitionship, there are things that one should always do. Example: Always look under the hood if any work has been done. On one occasion, following an oil change on my wife's BMW, the oil cap was resting on the engine block! I guess that was the tech's way of saying "See ya sooner next time."
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      12-08-2012, 09:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coltgus View Post
I'm not a SA, I'm retired and never worked in the auto industry. I'll tell you this, if you threaten legal action you'll get nothing.
I have worked in the auto industry and what gets results is a letter from a lawyer.
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      12-08-2012, 09:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCBPhD View Post
_Regardless_ of who Coltgus is, he may be more or less right, in the following sense. I interpreted his comments as something like "You'll catch more bees with honey than you will with vinegar." Alternately, let me tell a quick story . . . When I was in school, one way of categorizing the grad. students was that they either (1) made friends with the secretaries or (2) they antagonized/annoyed the secretaries. While I am sure that it is possible to go over their heads and force them to help you, it was somewhat easier, and just as efficacious, to be unduly nice to them, because they know the system and they are in a position to help you.
Agree with you 100%. Being kind, polite, and understanding the people you are dealing with are people just like you and the situation is often out of their hands is critical to success in life. I see this all the time when I travel; I never have any problems with airport security but there is always some guy in line who has to say something like "this is security theater!" and ends up (shockingly) being treated poorly.

That said, people should be well informed of the tools and processes required to obtain resolution of problems if they do arise, and be willing to start at the least level of escalation and work their way up to obtain a desired outcome.

Last edited by bvanderbilt; 12-08-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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      12-08-2012, 09:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formula M View Post
I have never had a reason not to smile at my BMW dealer.. Erhard is top notch! It would be hard to hold a survey over their heads.
Sorry to go off topic, but which one do you use, Farmington or Bloomfield Hills?
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      12-08-2012, 09:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coltgus View Post
The most important thing is to give the highest scores on all customer satisfaction surveys and to tell the client advisor or service advisor that you will do that up front. The surveys are not anonymous and they will not appreciate getting dinged on a CSI survey. If you are unhappy or just feel truly exceptional is ridiculous it is still in your best interest to hold your nose and give the top scores. Tell them day 1 you will do that and work out any problems directly with them. The second thing is to realize while you may be very well educated and highly intelligent they likely aren't so be a nice guy and don't expect perfection. If you make them your friend they will reciprocate.
You sound like a career politician......
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      12-08-2012, 02:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjammin View Post
Sorry to go off topic, but which one do you use, Farmington or Bloomfield Hills?
Both are great! I go to Erhard of Bloomfield Hills for my car. Nothing but good people there. If you need your car serviced ask for either Mike, Chuck or Chen. I personally work with Mike but they will all give you excellent service.
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      12-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #17
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It's really all about understanding incentives. If the SA has done a good job for the normal stuff (ie. scheduled maintenance, smaller issues), make sure you take the time out to fill out the survey and go out of your way to write commentary/feedback, if he in fact has done a good job and it is deserved.

As others have pointed out, in any service industry, treating those who serve you well with respect and taking the time to let them know goes a long way. I did this with my own SA for the things I brought in the car for (including the installation of a few aftermarket accessories) and when I unfortunately was the victim of my own car's differential bolt snapping, he acted as my advocate the whole way through when the BMW rep came out to inspect and a $13K job (including bent subframe, fuel tank damage) it was fully covered under warranty (granted there was no abuse and my mods were light/bolt-on).

After this incident, in the survey feedback I said I was disappointed with BMW NA not addressing a known differential bolt issue, but also said that my SA saved the experience (which was completely deserved). Of course, he was super-appreciative and guess what, I've gotten some awesome deals on some performance accessories (both parts and labor) and one time he went out of his way (i.e. came in on the weekend) just to get my car to me by saturday morning. The survey is a big incentive in terms of the SA's performance review, so use that lever wisely if your SA has in fact done a good job.
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      12-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #18
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I give top scores when deserved. As long as they pay attention, do the prescribed work as prescribed and don't fuck up my car. I do not need a red carpet rolled out but I demand competence. And don't EVER blame me for the car's faults. That's how you get top scores from me.
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      12-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhabs View Post
I did this with my own SA for the things I brought in the car for (including the installation of a few aftermarket accessories) and when I unfortunately was the victim of my own car's differential bolt snapping, he acted as my advocate the whole way through when the BMW rep came out to inspect and a $13K job (including bent subframe, fuel tank damage) it was fully covered under warranty (granted there was no abuse and my mods were light/bolt-on).
Definitely deserves five stars as you state. The last service experience I had was over a year ago (besides my current issue) but I had an appointment for an oil change and stated I was waiting for the car, was told it would be an hour, and ended up waiting for six hours due to a variety of reasons and problems in the service bay. I was totally cool about it, did some work, went and talked to sales people, read a book, etc. but I wouldn't call it a stellar experience -- and I kept getting told it was "just going to be another half an hour." Then of course you get the inevitable fifteen follow-up e-mails asking for five stars.

The problem with trying to incentive-ize something with so many variables is that end up generally with the same level of service since most folks don't want to deliver bad service in the first place -- who wants grumpy customers? -- and when it goes poorly the customer is even more frustrated by the survey solicitation.
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      12-08-2012, 03:35 PM   #20
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Yeah, I think your situation itself is unique and no matter how many stars you gave, it can influence but not force the dealer to take action if they are adamantly opposed to eat the cost... my comments were meant as a reply to general advice in dealing with SAs in general.

I wonder if from the sales side (customer advisor) on your new car, you could call up the dealer and explain your situation and that the whole differential bolt experience on the service side is really causing you to have second thoughts about the new car..ie threaten to cancel the order if the differential bolt issue doesn't get resolved. Any deposit you put down, the dealer will give back to you.

Best of luck on this, especially given that I believe the differential bolt problem is a design flaw and was highly unlikely to be cause by an "impact"... simply too much corroborating evidence that exists out there from others and the evidence you presented. BMW also changing the design from bolts w/ bushings to solid subframe bolts on all the new Ms (and the GTS, CRT), is essentially an indirect "admission" that there was a problem to begin with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanderbilt View Post
Definitely deserves five stars as you state. The last service experience I had was over a year ago (besides my current issue) but I had an appointment for an oil change and stated I was waiting for the car, was told it would be an hour, and ended up waiting for six hours due to a variety of reasons and problems in the service bay. I was totally cool about it, did some work, went and talked to sales people, read a book, etc. but I wouldn't call it a stellar experience -- and I kept getting told it was "just going to be another half an hour." Then of course you get the inevitable fifteen follow-up e-mails asking for five stars.

The problem with trying to incentive-ize something with so many variables is that end up generally with the same level of service since most folks don't want to deliver bad service in the first place -- who wants grumpy customers? -- and when it goes poorly the customer is even more frustrated by the survey solicitation.
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      12-08-2012, 09:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coltgus View Post
I'm not a SA, I'm retired and never worked in the auto industry. I'll tell you this, if you threaten legal action you'll get nothing.
wrong

Dealer totalled M5 owners car, owner sued, took dealer to court, won settlement.

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e60...16-months.html
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      12-08-2012, 11:46 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdyaman View Post
wrong

Dealer totalled M5 owners car, owner sued, took dealer to court, won settlement.

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e60...16-months.html
Reading comprehension fail.

Using threats of legal action in an attempt to manipulate behavior is entirely different than actually suing.
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