I used to work for BMW. As a company, BMW is obsessed with getting your feedback. They don’t send you a survey in the mail or via email–they have someone call you who asks you five questions about your buying experience. This isn’t the passive survey email you ignore in your inbox–this is BMW actually hiring someone just so they can call you to make sure everything went okay. Here’s the other kicker: your salesperson’s income depends not only on how much money they bring into the company. It also depends on the scores of this very survey, which is why you can count that your buying experience should be very positive. BMW puts its money where its mouth is.
Call a BMW 750 a Nazi sled–I don’t care. From the moment a concept for a car is created to the moment you drive it off the lot, each employee cares that you love your car. You can claim that’s what they have to do because they cost so much, but I know for a fact that there really isn’t a lot of profit margin in BMWS. They just see it as their means for being a sustainable company.
BMW is publicly traded, but is primarily owned by one family. An American corporation might say, “Oh, we can cut costs here in the suspension and the leather. We can fire this guy, or we can have a recall just so we can find other problems with the cars we can charge them to fix (which, sadly enough, happens). That means one extra point of margin in each car, which earns us X more dollars a year.”
I don’t care if Scott Monty is on Twitter. It’s hard for me to have a love affair with American car companies based of empirical knowledge. I’ve driven a Mustang GT and watched the back end squirrel about when I wasn’t even flooring it because Ford can’t build a suspension that transfers power to the ground. My sister’s Chrysler minivan needed a transmission after 38,000 miles. I saw the paint flake off a Suburban’s inner console when it only had 200 miles on it. I just can’t recommend American cars because I’ve worked at a dealership and have seen them come in on trade and am never impressed. They flood the market with fleet sales too, which means your American car is worth less because it is less rare.
Here’s the saddest part: I want to be able to recommend American cars. I want Ford to beat Ferrari at Le Mans like they did back in the 60′s. Engineering wise, they really don’t compete with their Japanese and German counterparts. Service-wise, I’ve heard of some really shady practices at American dealerships.
So I don’t care if you have a company evangelist. I care that you have customer evangelists. Just take care of us. We’ll take care of the evangelism for you.