Over the years I have had many opportunities to speak directly with those in charge at MINI and MINIUSA. Managers, engineers, marketing folks. All of them are really swell people. All of them also have a shared goal in customer satisfaction. Customer here being the actually purchasers of the MINIs (like you and me). It’s what they talk about, what they obsess about. It’s who they are.
This week I had the chance to hang out with some guys that work at the dealer level. It was a completely different experience and I was more than a little shocked. Most of them were all about the money. During the entire conversation, not once did I hear any of them mention customer service or think that a certain thing would be better for the customer. Their only concern was the money and how they were going to sell cars.
When I tried to point out that something they were concerned about will actually benefit the customer, they looked at me like I was speaking Martian. They didn’t even come close to getting it. This happened twice. Not a clue.
It’s really no wonder why IQS scores can be so low at some dealers. At some, they don’t seem to care. I know there has been training, and that many of the dealers are taking the training to heart and are finally getting it. But I’m not sure if it’s too little, too late. This is something that will never improve until the mentality at the dealer level changes. Many of them are all about ‘pushing metal’. Talk about doing it wrong.
Another interesting bit that I found out last night. One of the largest MINI dealers in Southern California only gets about 20% of their sales from folks that are ordering their MINIs. I don’t have solid, nationwide, stats, but this is shocking to me also. I had a feeling that number was low, but not that low. Why wouldn’t you order exactly the car that you want if you have the chance?