I, a woman, took my BMW in for a simple tire change. The run-flat was so new that it hadn’t yet been released to outside tire dealers: I had to use BMW. I called Tuesday and was given an appointment for 8am Saturday.
Tate greeted me at 8am. Some 10-20 minutes later a technician looked at the tire and said that none were in stock. So I had to get a loaner.
After about 50 total minutes I was out of there with a slight like-I’d-been-violated feeling, and I couldn’t figure where it came from.
On the way home the car strongly corrected back into a lane I was exiting, twice. I returned and explained to Tate what had happened. Tate walked down, called to someone, waited, walked back. After about 5 total minutes a technician came up and got in the car and looked around. Tate asked me, “What, Do YOU Want to do.” (There was a definite tone: a slight pause after “what,” an emphasis on “you.”) His tone completely shut me down, which seemed the intended purpose because I did not say another word, and he did not ask me again. I don’t know what I did to prompt him to say that. We were standing, watching the technician. Maybe I sighed heavily? After the technician explained that the strong correction is a safety feature to keep the car in the lane, I left.
All weekend I thought of what I did to prompt Tate to act like he did. Nothing stood out to me, but this is what I imagine. I was a bit frustrated that Tate didn’t take the time to introduce me to the loaner car, to make sure I could start it, turn it off, put it in Park. So perhaps when I couldn’t start it and walked back into the office to ask for his assistance, some of that frustration showed, which prompted him to do something to invalidate my feeling that I deserve complete customer service. As I said, I don’t remember the details of that interaction.
The second time I left the dealership that morning, it was more obvious why I felt violated. Tate had lost his cool, nothing that the technician would have noticed, though maybe he did. For sure this time I was frustrated because I’d been there an hour so far and I would have thought Tate should be aware of features of the loaner so that he could have explained and saved me, the technician, and himself time.
The fact is, I am the customer. If I’d been flipping out angry, OK, Tate need not be verbally violated himself, but that wasn’t the case. It took me all weekend to analyze what I’d done to prompt him to treat me like he did. If he is triggered by such minor shows of frustration, then customer service may not be his best career track. I wonder if he would have reacted those ways had I been a man.
This all could have been avoided.
1. Doesn’t BMW have on record what type of tire my car has, so someone could check if one were in stock without me having to drive there?
2. Does the Service Department have an SOP for when someone takes a loaner? a) say to bring proof of insurance when setting the appointment, b) escort customer to the car and show how to start and stop the engine and how to put the car into Park—whether customer is man or woman, c) go over with them what they are signing, reminding them to fill the gas tank before returning the car. I received none of these courtesies.
3. If Tate and Gilles and anyone else who works with customers know the basic safety features of all loaners, that will save time and frustration on the part of the customer and the technician and, apparently, Tate.
Perhaps he was having a bad day, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But it’s still important to report this incident, to make him aware. So I called Monday and spoke with Gilles, who said he’d have the Service Department Manager get back with me “probably not today, but definitely tomorrow.” It’s Thursday afternoon. Still no contact. This is poor customer service from Voss BWM.