Jump to content
voodooskin

The service manager experience

Recommended Posts

voodooskin

I do a fair amount of my own maintenance but there are things I will take my bike in to have my local dealer's shop do when necessary.

 

What I'd like to have happen when I pick up my bike is to have the mechanic there who worked on it, tell me what they found, what shape the machine is, what to look for on these models etc.  I'd like to learn something from someone who looked at my bike in particular, and sees others often, for an honest assesment. 

 

Instead what I get is a chance to talk to the BMW certified service manager.  This person will read the mechanics notes off the paper to me but one senses has no real clue about the machine.  This person is usually different every time I go in (which, admittedly, is infrequent).  In my last go here they noted the mechanic advised I replace the mineral oil in the clutch reservoir as it "looked dark".  That's not a job the service manual calls out at all.  I'll ponder having a mechanic tell me they see better clutch life if the mineral oil is changed, less so when the service manager (who was unaware my R12 had four spark plugs) tells me it's needed for no given reason.


In these encounters I generally learn nothing other than the amount I need to pay the shop and whatever notes were written on the service order.

 

This service delivery model "we'll put a buffer between you and our shop and the people in it - pretend there's never any grease" might work for some but it definitely doesn't for me.   I realize if there was more work than hands, tearing away to talk to the customer might affect the bottom line however that's not the case at this location.


And, not to get too harsh on my local bike shop, my experience with service managers for autos is pretty similar, although with mom and pop shops generally the opposite.

 

I'm curious what your thoughts are.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dirtrider
2 hours ago, voodooskin said:

I do a fair amount of my own maintenance but there are things I will take my bike in to have my local dealer's shop do when necessary.

 

What I'd like to have happen when I pick up my bike is to have the mechanic there who worked on it, tell me what they found, what shape the machine is, what to look for on these models etc.  I'd like to learn something from someone who looked at my bike in particular, and sees others often, for an honest assesment. 

 

Instead what I get is a chance to talk to the BMW certified service manager.  This person will read the mechanics notes off the paper to me but one senses has no real clue about the machine.  This person is usually different every time I go in (which, admittedly, is infrequent).  In my last go here they noted the mechanic advised I replace the mineral oil in the clutch reservoir as it "looked dark".  That's not a job the service manual calls out at all.  I'll ponder having a mechanic tell me they see better clutch life if the mineral oil is changed, less so when the service manager (who was unaware my R12 had four spark plugs) tells me it's needed for no given reason.


In these encounters I generally learn nothing other than the amount I need to pay the shop and whatever notes were written on the service order.

 

This service delivery model "we'll put a buffer between you and our shop and the people in it - pretend there's never any grease" might work for some but it definitely doesn't for me.   I realize if there was more work than hands, tearing away to talk to the customer might affect the bottom line however that's not the case at this location.


And, not to get too harsh on my local bike shop, my experience with service managers for autos is pretty similar, although with mom and pop shops generally the opposite.

 

I'm curious what your thoughts are.

 

Morning voodooskin

 

My thoughts are that some shops operate like your experience & others operate on a much more personal & caring level.

 

If you don't like that shop's operating model then find another shop that operates on a more personal level.   (some BMW shops have a LOT more friendly atmosphere & make customers feel more welcome)

 

You might also try a face to face  with that dealership's owner  & express your displeasure with the disconnected feeling that his shop works under. He might be as isolated as you are about the disconnected feeling  but HE can change it.

 

As for the dark clutch fluid-- you might heed the technician's  warning about changing the hydraulic clutch fluid as dark fluid  is usually a sign that it is degrading due to either a slave cylinder grease bleed, or from the internal rubber hydraulic clutch parts.

 

The dark fluid probably won't effect clutch life but could effect clutch hydraulic system life. 

 

Change it then  if it stays clear (or whatever color it was at install ) then you probably  have no real issues, if it turns dark again then that might be indicating a future problem in the hydraulics.   

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Twisties

However, due to BMW's excessive limitations on the number of dealers, most of us don't have any reasonable choice in dealers.  The next dealer may more than 200 miles away.  Having suffered in a single dealer market (and also enjoyed my current one, I'll add - Hanson's is great), I can say that I find it a major drawback to the brand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lkchris

So, join your local BMW club  ... group feedback is always more powerful than individual feedback.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
voodooskin

Thoughtful replies, much appreciated lkchris, Twisties, dirtrider food for thought!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RoadRunner

Hey Voodoo,

 

My experience is totally different.  In my earlier BMW years,  whomever worked on my bike at the dealership and I got info like you did.   But for the last 8 years or so,  I ask for a particular Master Tech, that's who my appt is with.   He knows me by site (and by bike) and I always go back and chat with him if I have any concerns or want to know what he found.  (Sometimes I leave notes on my bike so I don't forget to tell him something.)  I also have his cell number (but try not to use it).   If he has to call off or has a family emergency and can't do my service (has happened) the manager is supposed to call me and see if I want another tech or reschedule.   In my opinion this is how it's supposed to work.  

 

Not to suggest I haven't had any issues....my dealership and gone through a few service managers in the past few years....when I have an issue I go chat with the GM and tell him what happened.   My friends now do the same....they've always made it right.  

 

Tell them what you as a customer need.   If they can't accommodate you, then you know where you stand.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Red

"If you don't like that shop's operating model then find another shop that operates on a more personal level.   (some BMW shops have a LOT more friendly atmosphere & make customers feel more welcome)"

Dirtrider, Twisties is spot on.  Going to the next closest dealer is not a viable option for many.  My closest dealer is 185 miles one way.  Next closest 265 and on the other side of the Cascade Mtn Range.  Next closest 400.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dirtrider
6 hours ago, Red said:

"If you don't like that shop's operating model then find another shop that operates on a more personal level.   (some BMW shops have a LOT more friendly atmosphere & make customers feel more welcome)"

Dirtrider, Twisties is spot on.  Going to the next closest dealer is not a viable option for many.  My closest dealer is 185 miles one way.  Next closest 265 and on the other side of the Cascade Mtn Range.  Next closest 400.

 

Morning Red

 

With next dealer at  265 miles you do have a choice, not an easy choice & it would  be way more difficult but still a choice. 

 

So if you aren't happy with the closest dealer you either find another (might not be as convenient for you), or use an independent shop near home (won't work for warranty work though) , or do the service yourself (again, probably won't work for warranty work), or try my other suggestion of:  "try a face to face  with the dealership's owner (or general manager)   & express your displeasure with the disconnected feeling that his shop works under. The owner  might be as isolated as you are about the disconnected feeling  but HE can change it". 

 

It is a shame that some BMW dealers are extremely customer unfriendly but such is life so the rider either puts up with the dealers crap, or tries to get the dealer to change it's customer involvement, or finds another shop that is more to his/her liking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tallman

It used to be that any "Certification" came from the employee attending an official BMW school.

This was an expensive output for the dealership.

 

But.

Things were learned.

So, any "Service Manager" unfamiliar with the # of plugs in an R12 either didn't go to school, forgot, or doesn't give a damn.

Sad.

Certifications earned were displayed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lkchris
On 2/1/2019 at 9:49 AM, Twisties said:

However, due to BMW's excessive limitations on the number of dealers, most of us don't have any reasonable choice in dealers.  The next dealer may more than 200 miles away.  Having suffered in a single dealer market (and also enjoyed my current one, I'll add - Hanson's is great), I can say that I find it a major drawback to the brand.

 I think "excessive limitations on the number of dealers" is fantasy.

 

They probably aren't going to give a dealership to someone in a location where it's obvious they will fail.  And they aren't going to lower showroom standards for someone that can't afford it.

 

The only real limitations are territory and owner experience and financial ability

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sonor

One thing I would like to mention here, is I love the customer experience at Disney World in Florida.  Their instruction to all new employees is their first responsibility is to the customer, second is to their team, third to management.  They also preach, if you supply the customer with the best vacation they have had they will be back.  I bring this up as those two truths should be standard in the service industry.  Also, I wish more service providers would send their management to the Disney Institute for training on how to do customer service. 

All of that said, I have two Beemer dealers that are about equal distance (in opposite directions) from my house.  One has had a personal change that helped them to become the one dealer I will go to.  The other always made me feel when I was leaving like I had just been had (in some manner or fashion) either lied to, taken advantage of, or generally ripped off.  I have recently heard that the second dealer has again changed ownership so we will see if improvements happened.  But neither of these dealers have ever made me feel like it was the best place to ______ for my BMW and that resulted in me rarely using them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Ranalletta

The big challenge with service advisors in the vehicle service industry is how they're paid.  If they get a salary and their goal is to make customer feel they're treated well, it works.  In the real world, a large fraction of their income is commission on what they are able to get customers to buy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LOU

I've owned several BMWs, the latest being a R1200RT before that a R1200GS, K1200RS, K1100RS, R1200R, R1100RS. I've had the best experiences with the service department at A&S BMW in Roseville, CA (same goes for the parts dept). Ditto for both at San Jose BMW and Sierra BMW in Sparks, NV.  Excellent customer service at both.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bud

My experience with Gateway BMW in St. Louis has always been positive!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lkchris

On of the many cool things about being a member of your local BMW club is that you can maximize your influence on your dealer.

 

Our dealer will invite a group back to the shop for a "tech day" on some topic.  They'll provide the donuts.

 

When you're friends, the transactions work lots better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bud

To expand on my experience with Gateway in St. Louis. I recently had an accident with my R 1200 GS that has a sidecar attached. Due to their insurance coverage policy, they won't work on sidecar rigs or bikes that have had sidecars attached.

 

BUT Shannon, the service manager called some other dealers on my behalf. They also had the same insurance liability concerns. He then called Hannigan to see if they would do the bike repairs as well as the sidecar related issues. They will. 

 

Shannon didn't have to do any of that. He did it because he cares about his customers. Can not ask for more.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...