My cousins in Bolton are BMW-oholics, over the past 2 years the 2 brothers have bought £1/4 million of the iconic German brand.

Last week a friend, Mark, turned up for our golf match in a tatty 3 series rather than his normal pristine 6 series m sport, why?

Apparently BMW had contacted him to bring the 6 series into their Bolton dealership for a routine oil change, he duly turned up and left the 6 series expecting to pick it up later … but ‘later’ he got a phone call saying that the oil filter was now broken and he needed a new one from Germany and it would take 7-10 days, as they operated a ‘just in time ‘ system and didn’t hold stock of them.

Mark was not happy.

In their effort to save pennies, the dealership has disappointed a good customer, because:

1. The bond of trust was broken when they didn’t admit to breaking the oil filter
2. The inconvenience of waiting 7-10 days for what should be a stock part
3. The inconvenience of not having a like-for-like replacement
4. The high-handed manner of the service department, no apologies, no attempted fix or better solution
5. A poor-quality loan car (after all, when you drive an expensive car, it’s all about the image …)

So BMW may save a few pennies on each service, but next time Mark buys a car for himself or family its unlikely to be another 6 series BMW and his brother’s replacements for his 2 X5s are also unlikely to be Bavarian.

Sometimes when you don’t prioritize the customer, the repercussions can be worth millions, because ‘if you kick one they all limp’.

The after sales department (sounds like after thought department) should be called the ‘future sales’ department and should prioritize not money saving but customer engagement by slowing down and making the right decisions to build customer wow, loyalty and reputation.

Not the reverse!