End of the year Mini Bash or how to lose a sale by pissing off a customer.

Filed under Bad CS, Family

Dear Mini,

I’m following up on an incident we had with our Mini Cooper S this month and the manner in which it was handled.

While you have the records in the customer service system I will briefly go over the issue. My wife left her key atop a gas pump and drove off. The car gave no warning and 20 miles later it was unable to start ,finally realizing that it didn’t have a key.

The manual states that it will not start without the key being inside it. The dealer, the phone line and the manager this was eventually escalated too all accept that the car starts with the key outside the car. The Mini helpline email address was not helpful (incident 1-1641681520) and referred us to the dealer. The dealer had referred us to Mini so I called.

The first helpline operator I spoke with suggested I read the manual. I did, again, and it says, in unambiguous terms ,that this shouldn’t happen.

He didn’t meet my expectations of customer service ,having run helplines of this nature I’m pretty critical, then again being made to feel like it’s my fault for not knowing how the car operates does that to me. Maybe you can pull the tape and listen?

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I called back, had a productive E.G., the antithesis of my first contact and  I was passed onto Anthony. I relayed my concerns that what is apparently a commonly known fact at Mini wasn’t passed on to the owners. The car starts with the transponder several feet away contrary to the manual. He correctly asked what I wanted from this process. I wanted Mini to consider replacing the key or providing it at cost due to what I consider a serious flaw in the implementation of the comfort access feature. The car gave no audible or visual warning that the key wasn’t within range as she drove off.

Anthony got back to us within a couple of days to tell us that Mini would not consider a free key or any consideration re this incident. I thanked him for trying and noted that it seemed very strange and puzzling that a good faith offer from Mini allowing me to buy a key at cost was unavailable to me. To be turned from advocate to adversary over what I see as your product failing to work as described is frustrating. Yes my wife made a mistake but it’s one that should not have been possible had the car functioned per the manual. This was during the day thankfully but it could have been so much worse than losing the $300 for the new key.

I thought that maybe Mini semi-believed it’s motoring family shtick but came away feeling very much chastened by Mini N Scottsdale and the initial phone call to the mini hotline for daring to have a problem with the car. Tack on your poor email response and I have to say that I’ve been underwhelmed by your public facing service.

How does it harm Mini to help us? I know that we liked the Mini so much I sold a great car I really liked to get it. I planned on selling our second one when the Countryman was released but now that’s very unlikely to occur. I’d still like to talk about this because I am curious as to why a key safety feature of your vehicle would deviate so far from the manual’s description.

Regards

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