BMW TeleService Maintenance Program Doesn't Work When Dealers Don't Use It

By Jacob Brown | March 05, 2012
It's no shock to a BMW owner that if you buy a new car, scheduled maintenance is "free" for the first five years of ownership. By free, we mean the cost is built into that price you pay for basic items like brake pads, oil changes, and air filters. When you get your car serviced at a BMW dealership, you get a phone call to review the quality of service received. If it's satisfactory, BMW pays out more money to that dealership. It boggles the mind, then, that BMW's TeleService maintenance program is being underutilized by dealers. TeleService is BMW's computer-operated maintenance reminder system that notifies customers when it's time to take a car in for service. It works when the car senses a part needs repair, based on how the customer is driving. From there, BMW corporate contacts a dealership with the services needed in an email, and that dealer then calls or emails an owner to schedule an appointment.
But there seems to be a breakdown in communication between the dealer and the car's owner, prompting BMW to roll out programs to better implement TeleService. BMW is planning to launch an initiative for underperforming stores in the spring, sending field personnel to dealers and modifying the dealer management system if necessary. It also plans to implement a greater level of marketing for TeleService. With 800,000 cars in the U.S. with TeleService, which launched in 2004 in the BMW 5 Series, BMW has the potential to greatly improve its service calls and bottom line. "We upsell [customers] into more work that the vehicle needs," says Steve Rudkin, a general manager at a BMW dealership. He said average repairs cost $300, but extra maintenance can up that to $600 or $700. Previously, BMW used dashboard lights that were green when a vehicle didn't need work. But as the car needed more maintenance, they turned orange and other lights on the dashboard cropped up. BMW hopes with TeleService in full swing, it will finally make the customer service experience as seamless as expected of a luxury car maker in the 21st century. Source: Automotive News