Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coming To Grips With The MINI Brand

So yesterday, at around 7pm (1 hour and 15 mins. after I phoned for service), a flatbed tow truck arrived that was sent by BMW Customer Service to lift and remove my MINI Cooper from the parking lot of Toys R Us. The truck was en route to the Richmond dealership service centre (cell phone photos above depicts the scene). One would think that a 2-year-old car was reliable? Perhaps not.

This morning, I heard back from the dealership that the car suffered from a collapsed cell in the battery, which was the reason the truck could not jump start the MINI.

Fine. The tow, battery replacement, dealership tests and taxi ride from home to dealership was all covered by BMW; however, what does that say about the Brand? (As an aside, BMW owns the MINI and started manufacturing in 2002, and BMW also owns Rolls Royce.)

And today, I questioned the dealership re. the front brakes job performed on my MINI earlier this year during the 24,000km mark. And rear brakes at about 30,000km 2 months ago. Most imports would last twice as long. And no, I do not try to drive like an F1 driver. The dealership claimed that MINI uses high-performance, soft brakes that stops the car quicker than most imports, or even domestic cars. Hence, the quicker wear. Okay.

Also, this morning, during dealership phoning me back, BMW phoned me re. their survey as to how well I was serviced last night. Overall, it was acceptable, except for the 1 hour plus tow truck wait, and the fact that I need to produce a receipt for the $15 bucks I gave the driver to drive me home from the parking lot. In fact, he was not suppose to drive me towards my house as it was not on his way to the dealership, but for a 2-minute drive, he pocketed the cash. And also he was kind enough to even phone me at 8:30pm when he safely dropped off the MINI in the dealership and was able to drop my keys in the night slot. Whew.

Moreover, I was in near argument with BMW Service Center caller re the $15 because they stated that I still need a receipt to claim that money back. I could have even saved them money on a more expensive cab fare and also less wait time for my cab ride (the customer). Again, the Brand?

Every customer experience with the Brand, in this case MINI / BMW, can be quite critical in that the Brand needs to meet, even exceed, customer expectations. And anything short, the Brand is at fault.

I will be claiming my non-receipt $15 and receipt $73 cab fares, so we'll see how strong the Brand stands up to such tests. As well as what type of feedback I will be receiving from MINI / BMW. Am I too harsh on the Brand? Stay tuned.

(For an earlier post about my MINI, click here.)

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