Measuring up to your own standards

Date of publication: June 15, 1994


BMW (GB) Limited has been conducting Customer Satisfaction studies among new car buyers in Great Britain for about eight years. The prime objective of these studies has been to assess the strengths and weaknesses of both the product and the service provided by BMW dealers through the eyes of their customers. Whilst drawing on the buyer survey for contextual infonnation the main focus of this paper is on a Dealership Study. BMW (GB) Ltd has a network of 155 dealers throughout Great Britain, owned by a total of 114 individuals or organisations. The dealerships are almost all independent of BMW (GB) Ltd, with whom they have a contract to sell BMW cars and parts, offer servicing and repairs, including work carried out under warranty. Customer satisfaction at the Dealer level is perceived by the company as a fundamental requirement of business success. The self imposed commitment is that customer satisfaction must extend through the total ownership er-tperience for all branded products and services. The elements of the partnership between manufacturer and dealer are clearly different from those between dealer and end user but, equally important. The independent nature of the relationship, if the dealers are to retain confidence in the competence of the GB management, serves to intensify the importance of the study in measuring company progress, identifying trends and correcting elements of the relationship that are going wrong. Over the past five years, therefore, BMW has applied Customer Satisfaction research to itself. The study is designed to back-up company thinking and provide the hard numbers helpful for proactive management. Our paper will describe (briefly) how we conduct a census of dealers, some of the more important findings, how the data has been used to implement change and the affect of that action on Dealer Satisfaction levels.

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