The ultimate driving machine, yes. The ultimate customer experience, no.
And all it took was one phone call.
My BMW is coming to end of lease. And back in December I started receiving a number of emails from BMW. Emails telling me how much they valued my business and telling me that someone would be in contact shortly to help me transition the car. Presumably to another BMW.
December passes. January passes. February passes. No calls. I receive a couple of letters in addition to the emails but no contact with anyone from BMW. Until this week.
I am at work. In a meeting. And the phone rings. Usually my assistant picks up the call or, if she is away, the call goes to voice-mail. However, in this case, the phone kept ringing and ringing. After ten rings or so, I apologize to the person in my office.
“Please excuse me. This must be an important call.”?
“Do you drive a 2004 BMW?”?
Reality check. Someone is calling me at work to find out what year and make of car I drive?
“Who is this?”?
“I work for [some company name I can”™t remember]. We do the end of lease inspections for BMW.”?
“And why are you calling me at work?”?
“We need to schedule a time to inspect the car.”?
“That”™s fine. Call me at home to arrange an appointment. I am usually home by 7pm”?
“We only inspect during business hours. We will come to your place of work. I need a time and location.”?
At this point, the experience feels more like talking to an arrogant bill collector than a premium auto manufacturer.
“I have three issues. Issue number one: you have called me at work and I am unable to spend time dealing with this during work hours. Issue number two: I intend to return the vehicle to the dealer. You can coordinate your inspection with them. Issue number three: I am in a meeting and I have to hang up. Have a nice day.”?
I asked my wife to follow up with the dealer. They apologized profusely. A new process that BMW has introduced. BMW outsourced the end of lease inspection to a third party. However, they are willing to take the car in to do the inspection at my convenience.
All it takes is one bad call to damage a brand.