Service. Ask any MINI owner and you’re likely to hear both good and bad tales. For a brand new car and brand new company it’s certainly an understandable issue. However for BMW and MINI, anything less than good was unacceptable. This week’s Autoweek covers MINI’s effort to make the bad service good and the good service great. Here’s an excerpt:

>”When we first launched, we knew we had had a good brand and purchase experience. But Mini owners felt they were second-class citizens in the service area,” says Richard Steinberg, manager of aftersales and product strategy for Mini, in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. “We were getting dinged by quality at the service level.”

>The shared service areas were a fact of life Mini had to deal with, says Steinberg. “We knew we could not do brick and mortar,” he says. “So we looked at facilities, personnel and branding.”

>Even the waiting area made a difference, he says.

>”A lot of the Mini guys didn’t like waiting in the white-and-gray BMW area watching the BMW guys watching CNN, so they’d wander back into the Mini showroom.”

>Tom Schwartz, owner of Cincinnati Mini in Cincinnati, says he has radically changed how Mini owners are treated. He started before Mini began its program and was the inspiration for some of the ideas.

>”It is working very well — Mini is now 25 percent of my total business,” says Schwartz. “People who name their cars need to be treated much better than someone who throws you the keys and says, ‘I’m late for a meeting.'”

You can read the entire article below:

[ Special Service ] Autoweek