Automaker hires in-store product specialists
BMW is rolling out a new "BMW Genius Everywhere" program that will put a product specialist – who is not a salesperson – in each of the automaker's dealerships.
The "Geniuses" will be young specially-trained, iPad-equipped employees who will patrol the dealership answering shoppers' technical questions but not selling cars.
The program, which was inspired by Apple computer stores' "Genius Bar" troubleshooting help desk, was trial-tested in the U.K. last year and is now set to launch across the rest of Europe, reports Automotive News.
The Geniuses will hit select North American stores later this year as part of a pilot program, spreading nationwide by early 2014, before the launch of the new i3 car here.
"The salesman has a complicated job," Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and marketing, told Automotive News. "He has to understand product, he has to be trained and he has to understand financial services. And honestly, it has probably gotten a little too broad. One of the things we considered very carefully: Can we break the process up into bite-sized chunks?"
BMW Geniuses will be paid a salary, not a commission, and will therefore not be pressured to make sales; when a customer feels ready to purchase, the Genius hands them over to a salesperson.
Lexus launched a similar program last year, and Cadillac dealerships are also staffed by specialists who can break down the brand's CUE – the Cadillac User Experience infotainment system – for customers.
(Automotive News via AutoBlog)