Official Release: BMW and MINI dealerships have launched a brand new customer service system that allows every customer to rate their experience on a five star scale and to write specific comments.The system, which is believed to be the most transparent and comprehensive in the industry, has just gone live, and sees customer comments and star ratings posted on the dealer’s website.

“We are committed to providing the very best service for our customers and believe that this level of openness and transparency is not only desirable but essential,” explained Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW (UK) Ltd. “Our new star ratings will help all BMW and MINI customers to make informed choices and inspire all of us to strive towards the ultimate in customer service.”

Raising the bar

Over the years the BMW Group has developed ever more sophisticated ways of monitoring customer satisfaction and acknowledges that customer service is not a static concept.Consumer expectations are rising constantly and BMW Group is committed to meeting and exceeding them.

Abbott continued: “Just as we strive to bring ever-better products to market, we are determined to ensure that customer service is constantly evolving too and that everybody visiting our dealership to buy or service a car is entirely satisfied with the experience. There is absolutely no doubt that satisfied customers drive the success or failure of businesses.It has to be our ultimate goal.”

A first for the automotive industry

While customer ratings systems are familiar from organisations like Amazon and TripAdvisor, this new BMW Group approach is a first in the motor industry. Customers are given a unique code, specific to a particular sales or service experience, and invited to ascribe a star rating and to make comments. These will remain on the dealer’s website for 90 days, visible to anybody who visits the site.

Chris Mason, Director of Motor Codes, the industry body committed to raising customer service standards, praised BMW: “I am deeply impressed by BMW Group’s star ratings. The system brings a new level of transparency and openness to the retail car showroom and aftersales facility and will be a wonderful resource for customers.”

BMW and MINI dealers have been trialling this system since January 2010 to perfect both the website operation and learn how to respond quickly and effectively to the ratings and comments made.

Warts and all

For a dealer to score five stars, they have to achieve a rating between 95 and 100 per cent satisfaction, while at the other end of the scale one star is rated below 20 per cent.

“This is a brave decision,” admitted 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 customers.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”.