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Negotiation Tactic? (archive)

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Posted by Soccer Mom on June 28, 2001 at 00:16:30:

In Reply to: Final comments on the BMW CSI Survey Process (m) posted by Fred Meloan on June 27, 2001 at 19:27:27:

Sounds to me a good negotiating ploy would be to indicate to the dealer at the time of sale that their "assistance" in filling out the survey would be greatly appreciated if they could come down even further in the price for the new vehicle;)

In my earlier articles I shared some info about the basics of the BMW Dealer Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) system. Now itís time for me to comment on one of the more interesting aspects of the system. But before I do that there are a couple of more pieces of the puzzle that I need to touch on.

First, you should know that the organization that does the Sales CSI survey telephone call gets all of their information about you and your new BMW from your dealerís sales manager who must file a Retail Delivery Report (RDR) for each sale or lease. The RDR contains all the basic information about you that you might expect such as name, address, telephone number, and details about the BMW you just drove home. This info is entered into the BMW computer system by your sales manager and is retained by BMW (primarily) for warranty notification purposes. BMW also makes it available to the survey firm for the purpose of conducting your Sales CSI survey.

For your Service CSI telephone call the survey firm extracts all the information about your service visit from your dealerís DMS (dealer management system) computer by polling the dealerís computer in the early hours of the morning when there is no other activity.

If you were paying attention to my earlier articles you will remember that the scoring that I talked about was all ďunadjustedĒ. One of the basic features of the BMW CSI system is that dealers are permitted to make minor adjustments to their scores each month and thus the final score used for CSI purposes is an ďadjustedĒ score. The number of survey responses that dealers are allowed to exclude from the scoring each month is a small percentage of the number of responses received. If you had seen as many surveys as I have you would quickly understand why it is appropriate for dealers to be able to delete a small percentage of survey responses. The reality is that some of the survey responses are not a response to the performance (or non performance) of the dealer but are a reaction to a situation not contemplated by the survey process. The example that comes immediately to mind is the case of a new BMW that fails in some manner within days of delivery and (unfortunately) just before the sales survey call. I have seen a sales score as low as 3.75 (an average of the 9 responses). With the current problems of the E46 aux fans I am afraid that there are going to be many more sales surveys with low scores like the one I have just mentioned. Suffice it to say that the CSI survey process recognizes this potential situation and provides an appropriate solution to the problem. I am also sure that there are some dealers who feel that the survey process should provide for a higher percentage of permissible deletions prior to computation of the final score for the month. While I have no knowledge of the situation, it wouldnít surprise me if the allowable percentage for survey deletions is a constant subject of discussion between BMW and the various BMW dealer organizations.

Unfortunately, there are always stories about dealers who attempt to improve their CSI scores by making sure that unhappy customers are not called. In the process described above the reality is that the only telephone number the survey firm has for you is the number that your dealer has supplied. If you left the dealer after the delivery of your new BMW very upset about something there are some people who would be willing to bet that your dealer didnít put your telephone number on the RDR. BMW deals with this potential problem in two ways. If you donít answer the phone number given to the survey firm by your dealer more than likely you will get a survey form in the mail. If you do please fill it out and return it immediately. Itís also possible that your dealer put down the telephone number of a very valuable friend on your RDR. In this case you wonít be getting a survey in the mail.

BMW also deals with these potential problems by requiring each dealer have a very high percentage of ďvalidĒ call records each month. If the dealer does not have the necessary percentage of valid records they wonít qualify for their performance payments for a given month. This problem does not exist for Service CSI calls as your dealer has to have your correct telephone numbers in their DMS computer in order to talk with you before, during, and after your service visit.

I do suggest that each new owner visit their nearest BMW dealerís service department a few months after they take delivery of their new BMW and ask for a printout of their carís service history from the central BMW computers just to make sure that BMW has your correct address. You can get this print-out by giving the service advisor the last seven characters of your VIN. If BMW has the wrong address for you itís easy to fix by filling out the postcard change of address form in your ownerís booklet. I am sure that all of you would like for BMW to know where to reach you.

By now you have probably had enough of my CSI talk. Suffice it to say that itís an expensive effort by BMW of North America to help ensure that your BMW dealer is doing what they should be to make you as happy with them as you are with your BMW.

Take care.

Fred Meloan

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