A few weeks ago, a friend took delivery of a brand new BMW X5. A big engine, big wheels, the M packet, nice paint, leather, and all the extras he could get.
He loves it, but he's feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the buttons and settings in the car that he's discovering daily without a clue about what they do. He also feels he paid for more smartness than the car currently provides.
Yes, there was a handover, but it was too much information at once, and his brain got overloaded when he just wanted to drive the car away. As a result, none of that information stuck.
He has the owner's manual, but being over 400 pages long, it's not overly helpful either. He's not very technical or analytical and is not inclined to mess around with things by trial and error.
All of this is taking away from the pleasure of his new car, and he's becoming increasingly annoyed and disappointed with the whole experience.
One could argue that all this is his problem, but is it really?
BMW CZ, you might want to review the post-sale experience, not only because you are a premium brand but also because the period just after the sale massively influences customers' retention.
So, what could that improved experience look like?
For starters, it should be built around the likely customers' emotional state before the handover until a few months after.
During the waiting period (which, in my friend's case, was months), emotions fluctuate between anticipation and annoyance due to the waiting time.
Regular progress updates about the car's whereabouts would help. The updates would fill in the void of not knowing (which, for some people, might mean a half-filled glass, but for others, a half-empty one). The emails could include videos gradually building knowledge about the more exciting but less critical car features. Some of this information might stick, some may not, but the videos would always be available to refer back to.
Just before the handover, it would be great to get out of the way as much paperwork as possible so it doesn't spoil the big moment.
The handover is when the customer sees their car for the first time, sits in it, touches the steering wheel, and takes in the smells of the new car. This is not the moment to go through an hour-long handover checklist. The owners just want to take the new car out on the road! They only need to know how to lock the car, pair Bluetooth, set the satnav, and open the filler cap. Anything else is just distracting noise at this point.
A few days after the handover, the next information round would be helpful and welcomed. By then, the customer will have absorbed and tried the basics and be eager and ready to learn more.
This "refresher session" could happen in a dealership or, even better, at a customer's home or workplace. If the margins or loyalty programs don't allow it for all customers, home consultations might be an option for the series 5 and above, and video calls for everyone else.
This experience would not only show the customer that you, BMW, really care but also alleviate their buyer's remorse feelings and identify any possible issues before they become severe enough to affect customer retention.
It would also help overcome the resistance to asking for help most men have in their DNA. My friend doesn't want to call the dealership and ask "silly questions" because that might make him feel unmanly or foolish.
So, BMW CZ, please sort it out. My friend loves your car, but the overall experience isn't making him very proud.