Amsterdam, July 7th 2008 – DO’s and DON’Ts for Entrepreneurs
They say the world is divided – not in black/white or by religion but by those that drive BMW and those that don’t….
Friends of mine are real BMW drivers – they have had them in the past, and just recently exchanged their last model (7 series) for a "new secondhand" X5. As they have been such persistent BMW-fans, they are well known at the head office of BMW in their country. They bought the latest BWM under the "BMW guarantee" – a little more expensive perhaps, but hey – at least it is covered then and is delivered supposedly "as new"…. Supposedly – remember that word!
So – day before the delivery was due – a call came in. BMW – not able to deliver the car on the agreed date, so sorry but it would be well worth waiting for as the car would be in even better shape having received all the care in the world. So using their bikes a week longer (and yes, I mean the pushbike variety although admitted they also use scooters…) they wait patiently for the arrival of their new toy.
A day after having picked it up finally then a week later – and the list of problems and hiccups is growing and growing. A lot of bugs apparently – so they male an appointment, which was cancelled, new one made – "Oh, were you due to bring your car in sir, not in the books – so sorry! Let’s reschedule". Finally the car is taken in – after waiting for 10 days or so my friends call the garage since they really needed their car back – pushbikes aren’t that easy on your good suits and unless you are a rider in the Tour de France, does not cover much more then a 10km radius. Turns out nothing has been done yet, the car has just been sitting their for the entire period – its owners having lost kilos paddling around on their bikes! They pick it up – making another appointment – car goes back in (you’d think by now it’s on a bunjee rope!)…finally everything is supposedly (yes, that word again) sorted out…. and, so BMW proudly announces, to make up for the hassle, its’ been polished and cleaned. Uhmmm, you can guess the next one – the car comes back extremely dirty and when my friends, a little deflated but very defiant by this time, question the fact that they call this clean, the answer is "oh, but it is – it says so on the form". One of those great answers, that will at some time result in someone (usually the person making the statement) receiving a headbutt!
So now, when my friends once again leave the garage, they notice the sliding roof is still open….and no, it won’t just close. Call BMW again – since they are going on holiday soon, it would be rather nice to have a roof that closes. And since the car is so dirty – they would really like to take it to a car wash where. unless you enjoy splashing around in lots of bubbles, an open roof is not the world’s greatest idea. BMW: "Oh well yes, but the roof was only open by millimetres" – my friend "I am 6.0 foot tall, a healthy, well-proportioned human being and I can stick my entire hand through the gap"…they don’t believe it until they go to show them. OK – new appointment….
Add to this tale the fact that they end up paying over Euro 600 for something that was meant to be an equal exchange of one car for another, just because one BMW department does not seem to communicate with another, and you are beginning to get the picture. BMW great cars – yes, even my friends still think so…but do they know how to back that up with great service – no absolutely not.
It comes down to a by now repeating theme in my series of Do’s and Don’ts for Entrepreneurs…. you can build the most wonderful product in the world, if you cannot deliver an equally wonderful service, you may as well forget it. Your customer is a human being – they like being treated as such and a little bit of care and understanding goes a tremendously long way. Don’t forget that the statistics show that if you do something really bad – at least 9 people will be told by the victim…. or in case of internet blogs – multiply that by a factor 1000!